Archive for October, 2006

Best Intern Ever

October 3, 2006

Monday night brought the official word: the Toorcon Mozilla vulnerability was a crashing bug at best and an outright fiction at worst. It wasn’t the “impossible to patch” death knell for Firefox that presenter-pranksmen Mischa Spiegelmock and “Andrew Wbeelsoi” claimed it to be.

But this fiction still caused some damage. As of this morning, the front page of Google News was still hyping the Firefox nightmare:

Headlines about the false Firefox vulnerability.

Thankfully, by the afternoon nearly all of the news and tech sites I surveyed had issued followups exposing the hoax. For this round of technology hysteria, it was the media that needed “patching,” and I’m glad they followed up on what they probably shouldn’t have reported at all.

I’m interested in the fate of Spiegelmock. He gave a brazenly false presentation, followed by a thorough confession. And through it all he was identified not only as a “black hat” warrior, but as a Six Apart employee. Isn’t malicious hacking and yelling “exploit” in a crowded theatre enough to get him fired? Apparently not:

To hear Six Apart spokeswoman Jane Anderson tell it, the Toorcon presentation was a joke invented by two kids barely out of their teens who didn’t understand the ramifications of their actions.

Anderson added that Spiegelmock will not be terminated for his actions. “We all make mistakes,”

OK…what about another mistake? Spiegelmock chose the wrong co-presenter:

Also, Wbeelsoi, or “Weev” as he is called by friends, is part of a group that calls itself “Bantown,” a loose-knit outfit that claimed responsibility for a fairly high-profile Javascript attack against close to a million LiveJournal users….

His co-presenter hacks against the company he works for? That’s bad!

But is Spiegelmock truly a part of the dark side? His profile on (another Internet timewaster) shows him as a young, enthusiastic LiveJournal employee. Not even employee: intern.

He’s tagged best_intern_ever.

If he wasn’t the best, he might not have gotten this second chance.

Mischa Spiegelmock on the phone, under a Six Apart logo.