Society painter Abednego Slipway has confessed to breaking the Internet.
"I really should stick to pencils and crayons," said the painter, interviewed at his bohemian studios in Essex, England. "Every time I get on the computer, something terrible happens."
Millions of frustrated interweb users were cursing yesterday as they failed to make connections to their favorite websites. "This vandalism results in a denial of our basic human rights," said a spokesman from the Virtual Frontier Foundation, an Internet thintank and lobby group. "Just because one person pushes the wrong button, millions are denied access to vital news, healthcare information, illegal downloads and porn."
Slipway claims he has no idea how it happens. "Only last week, I went so far across the Internet that I fell off the end and couldn't get back on."
The situation has become so bad that Slipway has now engaged a 24-hour technical support service to help him when things go wrong. "But I don't really understand what they're saying, so I generally just unplug the Internet and plug it back in again. That usually sorts it."
Slipway, whose blog 'Pushing Paint' is a favourite among those artists who can find it, said he may now try other avenues for expressing his thoughts. "I tried sending my blog updates by letter," he said. "I put the web address on the envelopes but I'm not sure they ever arrived. Of course, I won't know for sure until I can manage to log on to my blog. I haven't seen it for months."
It was while trying to find his blog yesterday that he broke the Internet. "There are simply too many keys on this keyboard and I guess I pressed the wrong one," he said.
Through his agent, Phil Rotsky, Slipway has issued an apology to other users and said that, in future, he will try to restrict his Internet use to off-peak hours.
Chain up your PCs !!
An international band of computer hackers is stealing computers across the globe - via the Internet!
"It's a connected world now, thanks to the Net," said computer security expert Steve Glister. "Gone are the days when thieves needed to actually break into your house to carry off the hardware. Now you can do anything on the Internet, including ripping off the computers themselves."
Using special 'trojan' techniques originally developed by the NSA and other government security agencies - known as Hardware Transport Trojan Protocol, or 'http' - the cyber-muggers are able to use an Internet connection to digitally move the hardware.
"We think most of the computers are ending up in China, Russia and Nigeria," says Glister, "but it's hard to be certain. Their clever use of proxies means it's difficult to know where the computers go. But we're pretty sure that, once at their final destination, they're stripped down, resprayed and sold on the black market as 'new' computers."
One victim, artist Dougal Slipway, described his shock at finding his desktop PC had vanished. "I thought something was wrong. I looked around for the manual, and when I turned back the computer was gone! I switched off the modem, but it was too late."
Some victims have had their laptops stolen while using so-called Internet cafés. "These places have high-speed net connections," explained Glister. "A skilled hacker can download a laptop in under two seconds."
In the past, hackers have been mostly interested in stealing passwords, bank account details and other items of personal information. But filching the entire computer is more effective, Glister claims. "They can search the hard disk at their leisure to find the information they need to empty your bank account."
The problem mostly affects PCs running Microsoft Windows. "You'd think they'd go for high-value Apple Macintosh kit," said Professor Phil Rotsky, deputy head of the InfoSec department at Bradbury Community College, Elk's Elbow, Manitoba. "But they're actually hard to re-sell. Everyone who wants a Macintosh already has one."
On the other hand, Rotsky believes that the Apple iPhone might be the next big target for the cyber-muggers. "With 3G capability, it's connected at reasonable speed to the Internet. And you can usually sell iPhones to the same users over and over."
Glister, who works for anti-virus software firm McClammyAV, said his company is about to roll out, "a platform-independent, network-enabled hardware security solution" that he described as "an innovative approach to client-based location-fixing technology" and which cynical IT journalists described as "a padlock".
In the meantime, Glister recommends chaining your computer to your desk and disconnecting the Internet cable when the PC is unattended.
The US Government is exploiting the Internet to enslave the minds of millions of people.
A covert operation is using secret codes buried in Internet messages to trigger bizarre brain reflexes among a large section of the population. In many cases, victims are reduced to babbling idiots with a compulsive desire to impose their delusions on the rest of the world. But some are transformed into unwilling mind-control slaves who then use the Internet to spread government propaganda and disinformation.
"These messages are distributed using Usenet newsgroups," said a leading cryptology analyst, Mr Y, who refused to be named in case his wife finds out where he is. "The people who use Usenet are known to be particularly vulnerable to these kinds of brain distortions. I mean, they're already half-way wacko."
According to Y: "Thousands of Internet users find themselves uncontrollably spewing all kinds of ludicrous theories on to the Net — stuff about UFOs, conspiracies, Lady Diana, Elvis, how the government is responsible for 9/11 and the shooting of JFK and about fraud at Enron. Weird shit that no sane person would ever believe."
He claims that the Government is doing this to discredit serious investigators in areas that might embarrass it. "By harnessing the power of hundreds of Net users they create a tidal wave of gibberish. Anyone genuine who starts looking into what's really happening at Area 51 or in the boardroooms of US corporations gets tarred with the same 'loony' brush."
But is it possible that some of the raving nutjobs might just be mad anyway?
"It's possible," says Y, "but the scores of affected people we've logged and monitored show genuine signs of deterioration once they've been on Usenet for a while. And the only explanation for that is a massive Government conspiracy using advanced technology to turn us into mind-control slaves. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to log on."