Stranger and Stranger

Our hacker has struck again.

At the end of last week, the Visit Bloomington group tweeted that an odd video had suddenly appeared in their YouTube account:

Hacker video #3 (courtesty Visit Bloomington)

This follows two other incidents where this person has shown up in unexpected places.

We can ignore the strangeness of the content for the time being, because there is more than enough strangeness to go around on the technical side.

I have a couple contacts in the Googleverse who did some digging for me. After first chastising me about changing passwords frequently and not using my pets names, they reported back three very striking quirks all three of the videos have in common:

  1. The videos are only partially logged. Like all good Internet services, the backend system keeps track of a lot of information about all the activity on the site, including file uploads. These particular files have triggered some of that logged data, but not all of it. According to the log files, these videos weren’t uploaded (e.g., there is no record of a temp file or timestamp for that process). Nor was there any administrator activity at the times they appeared. They just … appeared.
  2. The IP address is wonky. At present, IP addresses have four numbers delimited by dots. On June 8, there will be a world-wide test of the newer version of IP addressing, which will take the form of 8 hexadecimal numbers separated with colons. The IP addresses for these three videos don’t appear to be either of these; they are practically gibberish (hex codes separated with pipe characters). The techies aren’t clear how it made it into the database.
  3. These files can’t be deleted. It’s not from a lack of trying. Even on the server side of the site, the insider techies keep encountering an error that indicates the request cannot be fulfilled because the file doesn’t exist. However, exist it continues to do.

Taken individually, this is probably just a little annoying oddity. However, with three separate instances all exhibiting the same characteristics, there is some concern that this is something new.

If anyone else spots one of these videos showing up, please let us know. I don’t know if this is more widespread than just Bloomington, but maybe that’s a question I should ask my friends at Google.

About Kevin Makice

Impoverished Ph.D. candidate at the Indiana University School of Informatics and Computing, and a research consultant with SociaLens. Also wrote a Twitter book.
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One Response to Stranger and Stranger

  1. Pingback: Our Future Hacker is Persistent | Taming the Butterfly

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