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Re: "The Net"

On Wed, 2 Aug 1995, Dr. Dimitri Vulis wrote:

> I saw it about 1/2 hour ago. I make a point of seeing every computer-related
> movie. I don't think real movie-goers would enjoy it much. It's cheap and
> unprofessional. Lots of running around, but no real car crashes. The acting is
> terrible. The star should NOT have appeared in a bikini. Yech.

Why not, she had the right 'assets' for that scene, no? 8-D

> They try to "explain this away" by saying that 1) she lived in the neighborhood
> for 4 years and never got to know any neighbors (as one of the neighbors tells
> the police), 2) her mother's got Alzheimers and doesn't recognize her anymore,
> 3) she telecommutes for a company in another city and only knows 2 people there
> in real life. One gets killed at the beginning; the other gets fired and she
> makes no attempt to find him (one of the many loose ends). The computer-related
> plot is just slightly more plausible.

Makes sense, too many geeks without a real-world-life out there.

> In a typical suspenseful scene (not a spoiler), the heroine sneaks into an
> office and sets off a fire alarm. Everyone leaves, including a villaine, who
> doesn't log off. The heroine receives a new e-mail addressed to the villaine,
> with the orders to kill the heroine (clearext), signed 'pretorian'. The heroine
> types 'whois pretorian' and gets an IP address, but no name. The heroine goes
> through what looks like traceroute and obtains the pretorian's name and picture
> (but the viewers know his identity from the start, of course). She finishes
> saving it to a floppy disk moments before the villaine returns to the cubicle.
> (One of the IP bytes was 344, by the way.)

The security was laughable.  But consider that most of corporate Amerika 
is this way.  Very few care about security.  Here at work I have to fight 
extra hard with idiots who log in and leave their machines -- users with 
Supervisory access!  All sorts of shit like that...

Re: ip #'s: Yeah, it's like all the phone numbers in every movie are 
555-xxxx.  Probably they didn't want to get sued by posting a real net 
address and get sued.

> Another time she types "telnet [email protected]". Another time she
> "hot chats" on an her Mac, and hooks up the text to a voice synthesizer.

That was after she got the milnet address though nice email address that 
can be telnetted into.  But the voice synths are possible.  Apple does 
provide that capability.  You'd have to get the irc client to use it.  
Don't know of any that do off the top of my head but I haven't looked for 
it either.  It wasn't much of a "hot" chat.  It could have been much 
steamier.  The sex content of this movie was pretty lame though...

> (If they all exchange so much e-mail, why do they bother FedExing diskettes?)

More secure to fedex a disk.  Nobody on the net can read what's not on 
the net. ;-)  Now if the author of this movie knew about pgp... totally 
different story.

> Interestingly, there's NO mention of crypto. Once you know someone's password,
> or have physical access to the media, you can read and write everything. Once
> you change some data, it's changed. No digital signatures.

Yeah, that was quite bad.  

> In fact, the bad guys were selling everyone a computer security system called
> "the Gatekeeper" (a Trojan horse, really), but it's not identified as crypto.
> It sounded like access rights are checked by their server. It involves a Web
> page with a 'pi' symbol (pi stands for pretorian, of course). Clicking on the
> pi while pressing control-shift will display much hexadecimal stuff and then
> let the user in through a backdoor. Hmm. Gatekeeper = Bill Gates = Windows 95?
> Is that why Apple lent those Macs? :)

That was my impression too.

> There's a character named "CyberBob" who's never seen. He only hot-chats
> and eventually gets killed. His icon looks like MS Bob.

Yeah, death to MS-Bob...  >:-)

> I heard only one mention the "the Internet". At the end of the movie, a TV
> announcer says that the case was cracked because the "programmer analyst
> Angela Bennett e-mailed the evidence to the FBI from the Internet".
> (E-mailed from an open-access computer at a computer show, I might add)

Not unlikely.  A lot of trade shows do provide machines with net access 
as demos of the internet.  Though it's usually manned by the ISP and not 
out in the open.

 + ^ + |  Ray Arachelian | Amerika: The land of the Freeh. | \-_    _-/  |
  \|/  |[email protected]| Where day by day, yet another   |  \  --  /   |
<--+-->|                 | Constitutional right vanishes.  |6 _\-  -/_  6|
  /|\  |    Just Say     |                                 |----\  /---- | 
 + v + | "No" to the NSA!| Jail the censor, not the author!|     \/      |
      /  I watched and weeped as the Exon bill passed, knowing that yet /
     / another freedom vanished before my eyes.  How soon before we see/
    /a full scale dictatorship in the name of decency? While the rest /