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Apple and Symbiot Rumors

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
51,521
13,155
The following anonymous submission has been sent to a number of sites (Appleinsider, Apple-X, MacRumors):

Apple appears to be working with the guys at Symbiot (or as I call them, builder's of SkyNET http://www.symbiot.com). According to several rumors floating around over near 1 Infinite loop over the last couple of months, Apple has been seeding prototype Xserves (based on the G5) into Symbiot for use in creating a solution that 'Attacks Hackers Back'. I thought this was crap until this morning when I saw a press release from Symbiot in which Ron Okamoto, Appleâ??s vice-president of Worldwide Developer Relation said -- "Symbiot's iSIMS running on Xserve G5 creates a compelling value proposition for enterprise customers that want to STRIKE BACK AGAINST NETWORK-BASED ATTACKS"!

Rumor has it that Apple has secretly invested over $3M in the technology to give them a "Killer App" for enterprise customers (which they seriously lack). I did some vanity surfing and found that a few members of the management team are x-Apple employees. One from Apple R&D!

You guys should really cover this, several people (including me) have been thinking it was an April Fool's joke, apparently it's not! Apple is seemingly behind the biggest event in information security history!!!

So the question is -- will Steve Jobs solve all of Bill Gates security issues by building "SkyNET"? Wow! I can see it now, Microsoft can't protect their customers, but Apple will protect the entire Internet! Nice.

Accuracy/reliability unknown.
 

junior

macrumors 6502a
Mar 25, 2003
537
51
Seems incredible if true. And if true, does that mean there'll be a huge demand for xserves in nearly all large companies throughout the world?
 
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ryanw

macrumors 6502
Oct 21, 2003
307
0
Makes Sense

I've seen several people using PowerBooks and XServes as Network Sniffers. They say the MacOSX Networking in combination with the hardware to be of the best configuration for network sniffers available. Makes sense if you're going to be making some sort of network packet analysis software you'd want to run it on an excellent network sniffer.
 
Comment

0 and A ai

macrumors regular
Jan 12, 2004
171
0
lol

POWERMAC G5 CLUSTERS WILL BECOME SELF AWARE DECEMBER 2005 TRIGGERING WORLD WAR III AND DESTROYING ALL HUMANS USING MICROSOFT WINDOWS.
 
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praetorian_x

macrumors member
Jan 6, 2003
83
0
Riiiiiiight...

"Apple is seemingly behind the biggest event in information security history!!!"

: |

This guy is either a complete retard with no sense of perspective OR someone with an interest in getting this rumor out. Ever heard of RSA bub?

Idiot.

Prat
 
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Frohickey

macrumors 6502a
Feb 27, 2003
809
0
PRK
I don't know anything about SkyNet... but over here, we are starting to work on a prototype neural net processor. :p
 
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Laslo Panaflex

macrumors 65816
May 1, 2003
1,291
0
Tokyo
Attack back? So, basically this software is promoting that old "Eye for and Eye" saying. If you ask me attacking back will only provoke hackers and possibly make the matter even worse.

Oh well. at least you have to try.
 
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0 and A ai

macrumors regular
Jan 12, 2004
171
0
Domain Name: SYMBIOT.COM
Registrar: TUCOWS INC.
Whois Server: whois.opensrs.net
Referral URL: http://domainhelp.tucows.com
Name Server: NS1.OUTERNIC.NET
Name Server: NS2.OUTERNIC.NET
Status: ACTIVE
Updated Date: 10-mar-2004
Creation Date: 11-sep-1995
Expiration Date: 10-sep-2004

http://web.archive.org/web/*/www.symbiot.com

News.com is reporting this
http://news.com.com/2100-7349-5172032.html?tag=cd_top

I don't get how launching DOS attack on the attacker would help of course they don't say thats what they are gonna do but nevertheless usually hackers work by telling other computers to do the dirty work. Wonder how legal this would be.

Looks legit.
 
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Photorun

macrumors 65816
Sep 1, 2003
1,216
0
NYC
0 and A ai said:
lol

POWERMAC G5 CLUSTERS WILL BECOME SELF AWARE DECEMBER 2005 TRIGGERING WORLD WAR III AND DESTROYING ALL HUMANS USING MICROSOFT WINDOWS.

I wouldn't want WWIII but the whole destroying everyone who uses Microsoft Windblows sounds quite nice! :D
 
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dricci

macrumors 6502a
Dec 15, 2001
537
0
A typical script kiddie will use other open machines to do the dirty work so it's harder to trace back to him. If this is true and it actually attacks back, it'll take the compromised machines offline by it's own attack, thus slowing the script kiddie down by forcing them to find new vulnerable machines. Of course nothing can stop a widespread DoS attack spread by a major worm or other windows vulnerability, but this could put an end to the small-scale ones (which can still do some damage). At least this is the way I see it working. I could be wrong; wouldn't be the first time!
 
Comment

Sol

macrumors 68000
Jan 14, 2003
1,564
6
Australia
Provocation

I voted this story as a negative because attacking hackers is guaranteed to provoke more attacks. Apple & Symbiot's solution will most likely attack all the wrong servers since any hacker worth his salt would be one step ahead of their victum. It would be better to develop a better FireWall than this Skynet-like solution.

I am also concerned about all those Windows-only virus writers who will suddenly have a new target on their sights. I love my virus free PowerMac and I love even more telling every Apple-basher that "the Mac has NO viruses". Having said that, it is innevitable that some evil genius will release a virus for OS X one day.
 
Comment

vpalvarez

macrumors regular
Feb 27, 2004
102
0
SkyNet? Sounds phony. SkyNet was the name of the military network in the Terminator movies. You remember the one responsible for the destruction of the planet in a massive nuclear attack per the 3rd movie.
 
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7on

macrumors 601
Nov 9, 2003
4,939
0
Dress Rosa
http://www.symbiot.com/media/pr.031804.pdf

seems true

http://www.symbiot.com/

I think it's a good idea. Sure it'll provoke more attacks, but this is what the system it meant to do. It's not a firewall that will give out, it's completely new technology.

It is widespread that OSX has no viruses. I doubt a machine/creation like that of skynet will provoke hardly any reaction. If any I'd say one or two. Because developing a virus for a Unix system takes some brains. Not that it's impossible, just most virus writers tend to be A) not that smart or B)ummm, something else ;P but you get the point. I see a big problem with 10.3 over 10.2 is that 10.3 will let you delete root owned files w/o the use of Terminal. A dialogue box pops up and asks for your root password. Disabling that should take care of some viruses that may arise. (since it'd be easy to spoof a naïve mac user into typing their root pass thus giving a virus permission to do a sudo rm -R /System)
 
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7on

macrumors 601
Nov 9, 2003
4,939
0
Dress Rosa
vpalvarez said:
SkyNet? Sounds phony. SkyNet was the name of the military network in the Terminator movies. You remember the one responsible for the destruction of the planet in a massive nuclear attack per the 3rd movie.

oh yeah, skynet is just a nick name. it's iSIMS. Intelligent Security Infrastructure Management System
 
Comment

X86BSD

macrumors member
Jul 18, 2002
73
0
Kansas, USA
Burn symbiot! burn!

bennetsaysargh said:
well, it's a wednesday, which is close to apple super tuesday!
seriously, this should be cool stuff.

No, this is not cool stuff. If it does what they report it to do it you might as well cancel your internet feed now. It will destroy the net as we know it.
This has to be the most moronic, brain dead, stupid, illegal, damaging, destructive device to ever be conceived to be hooked up to a network. These a$$hats will be sued into oblivion as soon as the first one is turned on. This has got to be a hoax. No company could possible create a device this damaging and this ill conceived and expect it to A) sell. and B) not expect the entire NANOG and NOG groups to bomb their offices into dust.
This is an absolutely destructive device akin to a nuclear warhead for networks. Insane.
 
Comment

bennetsaysargh

macrumors 68020
Jan 20, 2003
2,367
0
New York
X86BSD said:
No, this is not cool stuff. If it does what they report it to do it you might as well cancel your internet feed now. It will destroy the net as we know it.
This has to be the most moronic, brain dead, stupid, illegal, damaging, destructive device to ever be conceived to be hooked up to a network. These a$$hats will be sued into oblivion as soon as the first one is turned on. This has got to be a hoax. No company could possible create a device this damaging and this ill conceived and expect it to A) sell. and B) not expect the entire NANOG and NOG groups to bomb their offices into dust.
This is an absolutely destructive device akin to a nuclear warhead for networks. Insane.
calm down. it was sarcasm. i forgot the wink at the end. :rolleyes:
 
Comment

otter-boy

macrumors regular
Jun 21, 2003
160
0
Fort Worth, TX
Remember IBMs fake ads

vpalvarez said:
SkyNet? Sounds phony. SkyNet was the name of the military network in the Terminator movies. You remember the one responsible for the destruction of the planet in a massive nuclear attack per the 3rd movie.

Not only is SkyNet from the Terminator series, but so is Symbiot (as well as from several other sources such as Spiderman (think Venom)). While everyone is buying into the story, most are reporting that the people at SkyNet have never seen Terminator. They seem to think that these two names are just a coincidence (one name, maybe; both, very unlikely).

Do you all remember those fake IBM adds a year or two ago (the company that had a time machine or some other magic product)? Also, don't you all think it's strange that the HUGE IBM POWER processor event is also on March 31, the day that SkyNet is supposed to go online?

My vote is that this is either another advertising hoax by IBM or it might be Apple (the company is based in Austin, TX, they brag about Xserves, and most of the people listed as working (or about half of them) come from Apple.

I find it hard to believe the naming scheme, and it seems way too unlikely that many businesses would buy into a scheme where they would be held liable for counterattacking a computer (which is illegal in much of the world, even if done from a country where it is allowable).

Read their website and supporting information. It looks real, but maybe I am just hoping that it's fake.
 
Comment

Makosuke

macrumors 603
Aug 15, 2001
6,327
594
The Cool Part of CA, USA
Well, if that isn't unnerving.

After reading through their PDFs, I'm rather wary of any network security company using terms like "Rules of Engagement", "information Warfare", and "the art of war".

On one hand, they've got a good point that holeing up and building a wall around yourself isn't necessarily the most effective way to prevent ongoing hack attempts--you can plug the leaks as fast as they're discovered, but that doesn't change the fact that the same guy is doing the hammering on the dam. The FBI does prosecute a few virus writers, but they ought to be going after more, and with a more coordinated effort.

And, again to these guys credit, they seem to be far more interested in retailiating against hostile corporations or governments, rather than individual hackers--they aren't looking for script kiddie DDoSers, but rival corporations doing information espionage and governments doing infrastructrue attacks.

That said, this still has the same potential for catastrophe as any other case of escalating hostilities--once you start the war, it never ends. We should all be very, very afraid, and I don't know what Apple could be thinking getting on board something like this, unless it's a hoax (which doesn't seem to be the case).

Here's the choice paragraphs from their whitepaper on exactly what sort of responses they're talking; there's a lot of obfuscating language, but if you read carefully it's pretty clear what they're talking about:

These symmetric methods are generally automated by executive policy, with override by operations management. In the practical art of war, they are considered dispersive ground. Additional levels of symmetric response apply invasive techniques, which require the authorization of management for specific arming orders. Invasive techniques can be categorized as: (1) non-destructive; (2) destructive but recoverable; and (3) destructive, non-recoverable – again with respect to proportional response to the hostile acts.

Asymmetric responses require executive findings based on multiple attributions and prior failed attempts at resolution through the upstream providers and local jurisdictions. In these cases, the operations center may call for a variety of efforts, including: (1) escalated multilateral profiling and blacklisting of upstream providers; (2) distributed denial of service counterstrikes; (3) special operations experts applying invasive techniques; and (4) combined operations which apply financial derivatives, publicity disinformation, and other techniques of psychological operations. These operations are conducted with appropriate consideration for restrictions on point targets and phase lines in the battlespace.

The idea of detecting a direct hack attempt in real time is great; the idea of direct upstream blacklisting or legal threats is also a good idea; DDoS counterstrikes, special ops counterinvasions, and "publicity disinformation" and "other techniques of psychological operations" sounds like the paranoid fantasy of some war-crazed Pentagon official who's been reading too much Phillip K. Dick. Scary stuff, and not a place any corporation in their right mind should be wanting to go.

[Edit: This also reminds me a bit of misguided attempts at a "war on terror"--you can't fight lone wolves with brute force. "War" on the Internet is not the Cold war or WWII, it's shoplifting, carbombing, and homebrew biological weapons.]
 
Comment

applekid

macrumors 68020
Jul 3, 2003
2,097
0
0 and A ai said:
lol

POWERMAC G5 CLUSTERS WILL BECOME SELF AWARE DECEMBER 2005 TRIGGERING WORLD WAR III AND DESTROYING ALL HUMANS USING MICROSOFT WINDOWS.

Judgment Day nears...

:p
 
Comment

alamar

macrumors member
Sep 5, 2003
69
0
Laslo Panaflex said:
Attack back? So, basically this software is promoting that old "Eye for and Eye" saying. If you ask me attacking back will only provoke hackers and possibly make the matter even worse.

Oh well. at least you have to try.

since most DoS attacks come from infected slave machiens i dont get how this will attack the hackers back. seems more like it will attack the already under attack.

very little seems known at this point.
 
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