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View Full Version : WesternDigital: "Don't ship to terrorists!"



Xei
11-20-2003, 07:03 PM
Okay, my friend just got his WD120 from WesternDigital(RMA). On the invoice it says the following:


WesternDigital
YOU MUST APPLY FOR A U.S.EXPORT LICENSE IF YOU
KNOW THESE PRODUCTS WILL BE USED IN THE
DESIGN, DEVELOPMENT, PRODUCTION, OR USE OF
CHEMICAL, BIOLOGICAL OR BALLISTIC WEAPONS, OR IN A
FACILITY ENGAGED IN SUCH ACTIVITIES.


Seriously, it's a hard-drive. There is no need for such a message, in my opinion. But then again, you never know when some terrorist is going to take over the world because of a hard-drive... :rolleyes:

Lurker
11-20-2003, 07:33 PM
Someone could find a way to trap it, from chemical to ballistic. A hard drive could be used, unfortunately :( .

BMJ
11-20-2003, 08:13 PM
Militaries have to buy harddrives too you know. WD is just protecting their name.

BMJ
11-21-2003, 01:33 AM
It's all about liability.

Brian
11-22-2003, 05:21 AM
Originally posted by BMJ
It's all about liability.

Would a hinge manufacturer be liable if their hinges were used on a door in a nuclear weapon production facility in north korea?

Liger86
11-24-2003, 07:48 AM
Actually I have heared that all things can be tracked, so if Osama is stupid enough to use a laptop with wi-fi he should be dead by now. Personally I don't think that terrorists would do anything with a hard drive, not to mension that they are stupid to even use it.

Computers can all be tracked, even if they are not hooked up to Internet and that is why you never hear of terrorist use internet.

So why in the world are politicians worried about cyber terrorism? It will never happen...

major_small
11-24-2003, 08:19 AM
Originally posted by Liger86
Actually I have heared that all things can be tracked, so if Osama is stupid enough to use a laptop with wi-fi he should be dead by now. Personally I don't think that terrorists would do anything with a hard drive, not to mension that they are stupid to even use it. only if we're tracking it...


Computers can all be tracked, even if they are not hooked up to Internet and that is why you never hear of terrorist use internet.that's like saying a lamp can be tracked... it's not as easy as you think... and it's almost impossible to track a computer not connected to the internet... even when it is, it takes CIA type intellegence to track...


So why in the world are politicians worried about cyber terrorism? It will never happen... ever heare of a DOS attack?

Thantos
11-24-2003, 08:37 AM
never hear of terrorist use internet
I take it someone doesn't watch or read the news much. While they aren't sending emails saying "Hey lets blow up xyz" they do use the internet. They use it to find out how to build things, but one of the main uses is setting up seemily meanless web pages that are coded messages.

nvoigt
11-24-2003, 09:32 AM
I will not use the Programs for, and will not allow the Programs to be used for, any purposes prohibited by United States law, including, without limitation, for the development, design, manufacture or production of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons of mass destruction.


Damn... as an aspiring albeit law abiding terrorist I will have to download my database drivers from someone else... Oracle's drivers do not allow me to produce atomic bombs *sob*

nvoigt
11-24-2003, 09:36 AM
Computers can all be tracked, even if they are not hooked up to Internet and that is why you never hear of terrorist use internet.

For someone who is willing to drive a car packed with explosives into a compound taking his death into account, being scared of being tracked down by cyber cops seems to be a rather minimal threat.

BMJ
11-24-2003, 01:24 PM
Originally posted by Brian
Would a hinge manufacturer be liable if their hinges were used on a door in a nuclear weapon production facility in north korea? You're comparing a door hinge to a harddrive?

They're not equal, otherwise I could say, "If it's OK to to sell door hinges to terrorists, then it's OK to sell plutonium to terrorists."

major_small
11-24-2003, 01:35 PM
^ good point... can a door hinge be used in directing a rocket into a civilian condo complex?

BMJ
11-24-2003, 01:55 PM
Originally posted by major_small
^ good point... can a door hinge be used in directing a rocket into a civilian condo complex? No, but the point he made is about liability...

Yes, if you could prove that a door hinge manufacturer knowingly, and willingly sold door hinges to anyone that they knew was using them for nuclear weapon doors, they could/would be liable.

But it's so trivial, most people don't want to waste time... door hinges are easy to get, computer hardware is a bit harder, and would aid their deeds to a greater extent than some hinges.

If someone tried to purchase some hinges for the doors on a nuclear missle silo and said, "we need to buy some hinges to use on our nuclear missle silo", do you think that the manufacturer would still sell them the hinges? It's all about knowing, and liability... simple. That's why on the WD form it says, "you know these products will be used in... etc".

nvoigt
11-24-2003, 03:11 PM
Yes, if you could prove that a door hinge manufacturer knowingly, and willingly sold door hinges to anyone that they knew was using them for nuclear weapon doors, they could/would be liable.


What does that say about governments, selling whole weapon systems ? Do they know what they will be used for ? Or could tanks be used for heavy gardening work ?

Xei
11-24-2003, 08:57 PM
I think that in order for warnings like that on invoices or other products that the following questions have to be addressed:

1. Will the message actually prevent them from getting the product?
2. Does ANY business in the world investigate their client before shipping such a civil product?
3. Why don't we just apply the message to all kinds of products?

Here are my answers:

1. Definately not.
2. Ofcourse not.
3. Yes, why don't we? I think that if we are going to apply such messages that we may as well apply them to everything to make complete use of such nonsense. Here are some of the following products that could use such a message:

1. Radios. Terrorists need communication to make a plan run smoothly.

2. CD/DVD - R/W media. Terrorists need to save plans to distribute them.

3. Operatings systems. They need operating systems to utilize their evil plans.

4. All raw metals. Terrorists will use RAW material to make bombs, not melt down HD's or something dumb.

5. Digital Cameras. Would not all terrorist plans start with a picture?

6. Paper. Terrorists could write plans down on paper.

7. Automobiles. They use them for transportation and vehicle-bombs.

8. Airports should make all citizens sign contracts indicating that they have no hostile intentions. Because terrorists use plane's too!

9. Batteries. They would need them to power their walkie talkies.

10. Parachutes. Terrorists could strap bombs to themselves and sky-dive right into a city core and blow up upon impact.

11. Coca Cola. Maybe terrorists will extract phosphoric acid and do something nasty with it!

12. Dishware. Terrorists need to eat, too. But prolonging their lives means that more devastation could occur because they are still breathing. Therefore, selling dishware to terrorists is potentially protecting their cause.

13. Any kind of electronic material; ranging from simple wire to project boxes to diodes and resistors... they could use them for malicous intent!

14. Logitech should put a warning in every single EULA and on the bottom of every keyboard because terrorists could use webcams for video conferencing, they could use joysticks and MS flight simulator to learn how to fly, they could use the wheels to learn how to drive, they could use keyboards for communication, they could use wireless headsets for communication, too.

15. All ISP's should make you sign a contract stating that you are not going to use them as a terrorist-data-exchange service.


By now the point should be understood. I'm sure that such messages from WD are only to satisfy the yuppies who think that SUV's support terrorism, etc.

I understand that what happened during 9/11 is quite devastating, but I also believe that other countries, America in particular, are excessively paranoid now.

Sebastiani
11-25-2003, 09:05 AM
It's not just harddrives that have ridiculous labels - it's everything!!

I saw a label on a bottle of antifreeze that said:
"DO NOT EAT!"



Court transcript:

plaintif: "I am suing for damage to my health incurred from consuming XYZ's antifreeze."

defendant: "But the label says clearly 'DO NOT EAT'."

plaintif: "I didn't, you fool - I DRANK IT!"

judge: "Guilty!"



So many frivilous claims are filed in court an WON these days - it's no wonder there are stupid labels on everything. In the old days if you used something in a way that was not it's intended use you were labeled an idiot. Nowadays you're labeled a plaintif...

major_small
11-25-2003, 11:01 AM
By now the point should be understood. I'm sure that such messages from WD are only to satisfy the yuppies who think that SUV's support terrorism, etc.

I understand that what happened during 9/11 is quite devastating, but I also believe that other countries, America in particular, are excessively paranoid now.I agree with this, the world we live in now is rediculous, but that's what needs to be done... americans are the real terrorists... because we will do anything to get anything... we both know that we could find a lawyer that would sue WD if they found WD HD's were the backbone of a terrorist network...

this way at least WD can say ahead of time that they don't support the use of their products in those applications... it's all about liability... have you ever read this:
You give Cprogramming.com advertising rights to anything placed on the server but maintain copyright and privilege to remove information from server.I bet the people at WD really don't care if their equipment gets into the hands of terrorists... they just don't want to get hit with a lawsuit and bad PR...

Waldo2k2
11-25-2003, 04:32 PM
Someone metioned something about tracking computers w/o the internet. I've heard, and it sounds plausible to me, that some 3 letter institution can sit in a van across the street, and by using those things that look like satellite dishes or something like it, can pick up the frequency of your hard drive spinning/reading/writing, and practically watch the bits being written...so essentially they can see what's on your hard drive if you're accessing it...scary huh?

major_small
11-25-2003, 06:29 PM
i kinda doubt that... there'd be too much background noise, and there's also the fans and other drives spinning... besides, they have no way of knowing which platter it's reading from or which sector...

Xei
11-25-2003, 07:06 PM
Originally posted by Waldo2k2
Someone metioned something about tracking computers w/o the internet. I've heard, and it sounds plausible to me, that some 3 letter institution can sit in a van across the street, and by using those things that look like satellite dishes or something like it, can pick up the frequency of your hard drive spinning/reading/writing, and practically watch the bits being written...so essentially they can see what's on your hard drive if you're accessing it...scary huh?

I call bull scheisse. The EMR cannot be detected from that far and the magnetic field that the read/write heads on the HD creates is so minimal that figuring out the magnetic field from 1 foot away would be impossible alone, especially with the HD spinning AND the permanent magnets that are in the HD to begin with.

When I read this post I did not know whether or not to laugh or to cry.

Sebastiani
11-25-2003, 09:46 PM
Originally posted by Xei
I call bull scheisse. The EMR cannot be detected from that far and the magnetic field that the read/write heads on the HD creates is so minimal that figuring out the magnetic field from 1 foot away would be impossible alone, especially with the HD spinning AND the permanent magnets that are in the HD to begin with.

When I read this post I did not know whether or not to laugh or to cry.


Well, I wouldn't say it's impossible, but it's improbable that they've worked an easily deployable way to do it. One of my favorite stories of ingenious spying is one of Leon Theremin, the Russian inventor who gave us the musical instrument bearing his name:




Equally successful was another of his devices, this one produced in 1945. That year, pioneers (Soviet boy scouts) in red neckerchiefs solemnly presented a gilded eagle, emblem of the United States, to American ambassador A. Garriman. The eagle was to hang on the wall of the ambassador's room for several years while a special little "gift" from Theremin functioned inside it - a bug! Because it functioned without cables or batteries, even a special team of American technicians imported from the United States by officials of the American embassy in Russia could not find it for a long time (until the mid-50's!).



Point is, there's more than one way to skin a rabbit. Anything's possible.

Xei
11-25-2003, 10:33 PM
Originally posted by Sebastiani
Point is, there's more than one way to skin a rabbit. Anything's possible.

No, not everything is possible. In order to detect what the HD was writing (reading would be impossible BTW) they would have to look for EXTREMELY SMALL fluctuations in the electro-magnetic field (which would be undetectable, guarunteed). So now think about how many things create EMR, someone walking 5 feet away would disturb it, especially the small amount that a write head would be creating. Now think about the HD platter its self: It's magnetic - with every revolution the field would change. Then think about the metal casing on the HD, it would most certainly distort the magnetic field (whatever small amount existed) or else it would stop the field entirely. Then add the electronic circuits, they would probably create more of an electromagnetic field than the write head on the HD. Then the wires on the walls (a detectable field woudl not reach a wall, though, but for arguements sake...) would create another field. Then radiowaves would create another field, so would cars that drive by. I could go on.

A device that would be meant to recognize such small fields would create one about 5 trillion(estimation, it may reach infinity if compared) times greater its self. I guaruntee that reading someones HD 'wirelessly' is impossible and always will be (given that HD's work off of the same principals in the future and don't go wireless themselves).

The possibilities of technology are not unlimited.

Xei
11-25-2003, 10:40 PM
By the way, I could go much further in to explanation if you want by giving an example which implied the possibility that we could. In the end, if we could (which we cannot and never will), then the fact of not knowing the data(and each single bit's charge) its self on the HD would destroy your theory completely as you would not know the rotational displacement, either.


(I could give you pictures, mathematical examples, and the usual text-based explanations if you give me a few days to prepare a presentation if you still don't believe me.)

major_small
11-26-2003, 06:51 AM
was waldo talking about EMR or sound? I couldn't really tell from his post...


some 3 letter institution can sit in a van across the street, and by using those things that look like satellite dishes or something like itdamn... now I know why the UPS guy always smiles at me when he's delivering to my neighbor...

Sebastiani
11-26-2003, 12:13 PM
Xei:

I'm not arguing that reading a hard-drive from a distance is possible. I'm just trying to make the point that often things are accomplished in ways we wouldn't have initially thought possible. Information that is not directly accessible can often be obtained using several levels of indirection, exploiting various side-effects of physical interactions, etc. For instance, if I were to say that a television signal could be transmitted using a simple flashlight, that may seem impossible. Even if you already knew it to be possible, you may not at first realize there is more than one way to do it!