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The Almighty Buck Technology

Mafia Tech Support 323

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the don-centrino-and-his-boys dept.
Mzilikazi writes "A story from Wired about performing tech support for the mob, mainly focusing on gambling. Some interesting information is presented about P2P applications. Frankly it sounds like fiction to me (you can already imagine the movie being made -- 'I Was a Hacker for The Mob'), but the story is interesting nonetheless and shows that if you're skilled and determined but have a flexible moral compass, there's a lot of job opportunities out there." I started reading it for the mob references, but kept on reading for the details of how to run an illegal gambling organization.
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Mafia Tech Support

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  • Ouch Codefella! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dolo666 (195584) * on Friday November 21, 2003 @01:35AM (#7526245) Journal
    Isn't the first rule, don't talk? This coder is going to get whacked! I would have kept my mouth shut if made a proggie for the mob. If I had a ham sandwich with Tony Soprano, I wouldn't talk about it for chrissakes.

    The author Simson Garfinkel could also get whacked because he knows the guy who talked.

    Maybe it's too Hollywood, but would you even risk it? Would you? So maybe they didn't pay the guy enough? He says he makes 1/3 of $150k, but he likes living under the radar. That makes sense for about two seconds. I'd rather make $150k and keep it in my shoebox.

    They aren't paying the guy enough, so he bragged about it to Wired, who published it.

    The chain of stupidity doesn't stop there. Now the IRS is after this guy for tax evasion, and they can connect him to the writer of the story and the mob itself, meaning some mob boss at the top is shitting his pants right now -- if this is isn't total BS.

    "But in the fog of all those poker games, I had neglected to take the humanities classes required for graduation. So I left without a degree and moved to New York City. My plan was to become a professional card player."

    And now the FBI knows you by name.
  • I dunno. If it didn't have Simson Garfinkle's byline, I'd think the whole thing was pure bullshit made up by a Bushie purely as propoganda to prove the need to use their patriot muscle to crack down on "regular" crime. It reads like a "what's what" list of things that probably kill the boner Ashcroft gets every time he thinks about how great it is to track people with their OnStar systems.
    • Though rot's point of view may be a little unpopular, I don't think it's fair to silence him by modding down. He's entirely on-topic, but brings up a point that many folks find laughable.

      Think about it for a few minutes.. Why is it so laughable? Oh yes, the government and media has made people who disagree with them, or question them directly, appear more as kooks than folks with real questions or tangible ideas.

      Go learn about the media, kids. You'd be suprised at where a lot of news stories come from.

      He
  • by chill (34294) on Friday November 21, 2003 @01:36AM (#7526256) Journal
    You'd figure the average geek would make one too many Simpson's reference about "Fat Tony" and get his ass whacked before he could do anything useful.
    • by blair1q (305137) on Friday November 21, 2003 @05:20AM (#7526908) Journal
      True story:

      Me and my ex are driving home from Disneyland and decide to spend a couple of days in Palm Springs, because it's the off-season and there's hardly anyone there.

      So we go out the first night to a small Italian place near the hotel.

      And besides us, there's the "maitre-d", who's just this guy in a polo shirt, and these three guys in the corner.

      One is a runty little guy I hardly remember; one is a taller guy with a salt and pepper pompadour and a palooka's nose; and the third is this big, fat guy in golf clothes named Tony. You got it. Fat Tony.

      Palm Springs, in case nobody's mentioned, is a rather famous place for mob guys to vacation, lay low, or get sent to stay the fuck out of the way of the real operators. These guys were no tourists on their way home from Disneyland (that was us, remember).

      Anyway, Fat Tony is obviously the more connected of the Off-season Goodfellas, and is holding court for his two hangers-on. We eavesdropped; like we could have avoided it. Seriously, this place had like 8 tables. Tony's telling them all sorts of things about life, The Life, and why drinking a bottle of beer half a glass at a time is the best way to do it. Obviously.

      Meanwhile, the maitre-d is answering the phone, doing the usual restaurant stuff, about five feet from me. And one of these calls he says to the handset, "You know what you do. You go to the [generic national chain bar] and talk to [some guy]. Tell him you're looking for Wanda. Wicked Wanda. Aright? Cool."

      I almost spit fettuccini alfredo through my nose.

      Between that, and Fat Tony's rather disoriented views on life, I don't think we could have been more entertained.

      Until the next night, at the seafood restaurant, when this was overheard coming from the next table, having been spoke by a tall, stunning, well-stacked, supremely Italian woman in a red gingham dress (look it up; don't drink anything while looking it up) to an Alec Baldwin lookalike, in the most thoroughing Brooklyn accent since Leo Gorcey:

      "DID YOU FUCK HER?"

      I tell you, if I hadn't been a competitive athlete, with superior respiratory training, there would have been cioppino and linguine all over the aisle.
    • I've done some 'odd jobs' for very questionable people doing very questionable things. From money-counting to teaching about encryption. These people take SERIOUS offense if you even THINK you're doing work for the mob. The whole show is veiled by a projection of legitimate business, it's almost as if the people involved believe their own stories of what they're doing.
      • Actually these folks try to play it all off as a legitimate business because the smart people they hire don't need to know what goes on behind the scenes. They just work there. And if the cops/fbi/cia/whoever comes in to shut it down, the squares can always claim plausible deniability. The less you know, the better.
  • Sneakers (Score:2, Insightful)

    by joeflies (529536)
    Wasn't that what the baddie from Sneakers did?
  • by Llywelyn (531070) on Friday November 21, 2003 @01:41AM (#7526282) Homepage
    But do they walk around in jackets with MAFIA written on their back in neon-green electropigment?

    "Mafia, you've got a friend in the family."
  • imagine the movie? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RalphBNumbers (655475) on Friday November 21, 2003 @01:42AM (#7526286)
    (you can already imagine the movie being made -- 'I Was a Hacker for The Mob')

    I prefer the title "Sneakers".
  • by Alien54 (180860) on Friday November 21, 2003 @01:44AM (#7526299) Journal
    Well. They may be useful in dealing with spam, as seen in this classic item posted on now [sadly] defunct Segfault back in april 99:

    Mafia Don Announces New Anti-Spam Venture

    As the NSA and FBI fear, traditional crime organizations have been incorporating high-tech communication into their organizations. Although Janet Reno was quoted stating "This is law enforcement's worst nightmare.", techies around the world are sure to be pleased with one New York Syndicate's new venture.

    It all started when Don Dominiqi signed onto his AOL account last Monday morning. His inbox was filled with "Make Money Fast", "Viagra On-Line", and "Teenybopper Web Sex" ads. Lost amidst the drivel was an important note detailing a non-taxed shipment of Marlboros, which were later confiscated by the BATF. Little did he know, as he shouted "Bring me the left hand of this f*cking gutterslime!" what would become of it all.

    Later that same day, Billy "Run!" Brutekowski and Larry "My Eyes!" Plucker cornered the pasty-faced offender of the Family in a small cyber cafe in Greenwich Village. "This was by far the creepiest place the Boss has ever sent us." stated Billy, who only spoke on condition of anonymity. "Everyone in this place looked pale and sickly, like they had already been 'spoken to'. We asked for this punk, and several people quickly pointed him out. Most of the scum we find in gin joints aren't so quick to finger one of their own," Billy continued.

    "He must not watch much TV, because this sh*t didn't even flinch when we came to the corner he was hiding in," Larry proceeded to relate. "We dropped this sheet of paper the Boss had given us on his table and he says 'So you guys want to make money fast, eh?' He puts out his and says to give him $20. This scrawny little dirtball tells me to give him $20!" Larry was quite agitated at this part in his story, and his description of how Sammy Spammer's hand fell off was quite garbled.

    Billy continued, "Up till now, this was a routine visit. We was just being playful. The weird sh*t began when we tried to leave." "This pimply faced kid blocks the door as we try to leave, and I'm thinking to myself 'Great, a f*cking Karate Kid hero. He just stand there, and then he hands me a $5 bill." Billy pulls out the $5, and holds it like it is his first quarter from his favorite grandmother. "They lined up after that, and we had $175 in 'tips' when we left the joint."

    Later that day the Don himself visited the caf, unwilling to believe the story. Although the details are unclear, sources at the caf indicate that the Don has hired them to build and host a new Anti-Spam site. Through a SSL transaction system, the site will accept spam complaints and credit card donations towards 'solutions to problems'. Multiple complaints against the same spammer are added to the total until an acceptable solution has been found.

    Larry tells us that a typical $250 solution is a broken hand, and for $2000 all anyone ever sees again of 'the problem' are his shoes.

    The URL is to be announced next week, and the cyber caf's phones have been jammed with requests for more information.

  • by momerath2003 (606823) * on Friday November 21, 2003 @01:44AM (#7526301) Journal
    ...then he has a pretty overinflated opinion of himself. He's like, "oh, I took a bunch of math and physics courses, but I forgot to my humanities!" He tries to romanticize "the life of a mob hacker," but he fails it.

    Look at it carefully, and it won't look like some stealthy hacker but some dropout loser nerd.
    • by W2k (540424) <wilhelm.svenselius@gmail. c o m> on Friday November 21, 2003 @02:21AM (#7526466) Homepage Journal
      You can make anyone's story seem like a loser's story if your mind is set on viewing it that way. It's all about perspective, you will automatically interpret a story in such a way that it turns out as you would like it to, if at all possible, effectively fooling yourself.

      Take Slashdot as a prime example of this. How many articles and headlines on this site cannot be considered misleading, just because the authors have a heavy pro-free-software/pro-linux bias which colors the language of their posts? Looking at the (usually) more objectively written original story linked from a typical /. article, the truth is often quite different from what we get presented with on this site, which is simply someone's biased interpretation. Same thing as what's going on here. If your mind is set on viewing mr "mob hacker" as a loser, that's the way you're going to see it, so certain that your own point of view is the One True.

      I for one will have to agree that the author does seem to have something of a swollen ego, though I don't think he fails in portraying his life in a "romanticized" way, I wouldn't consider him a "dropout loser" either. At least he's got a job, which is more than can be said for many /. readers.
    • "When you get right down to it, I'm an idealist. I don't condone the actions of the US government."

      But he does condone the actions of the Mafia...?

      And another thing: "$150,000 as a programmer on the open market. But I make a third of that. [...] When you start making a lot of money, you get noticed by the biggest bullies on the block - the cops and the IRS [...] Because I get paid entirely in cash, I don't fork over any taxes"

      Tax is over 66% where he is? No wonder he hates the government...

  • Bunch Bull (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Camel Pilot (78781) on Friday November 21, 2003 @01:45AM (#7526313) Homepage Journal
    This article is as fake as a letter to Miss Manners or a WWW match...

    The fact remains that I could be pulling in $150,000 as a programmer on the open market. But I make a third of that. So why am I risking a prison sentence or the potential of a lifetime in witness protection for a job that doesn't make me all that rich? Simple: When you start making a lot of money, you get noticed by the biggest bullies on the block - the cops and the IRS - and I don't want that. I like living below the radar.

    Ah if you are working in the "open market" than you do not have to worry about "living below the radar".

    The next juicy part

    I don't fork over any taxes. When you get right down to it, I'm an idealist. I don't condone the actions of the US government. By refusing to pay taxes, I withhold my financial support. And, truth be told, I like mobsters. They're more willing to accept you at face value.

    There you have it a moral mobster. Someone who does not condone the actions of the US government but overlooks the actions of the mob.
    • Re:Bunch Bull (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jcam2 (248062) on Friday November 21, 2003 @02:05AM (#7526411) Homepage
      There you have it a moral mobster. Someone who does not condone the actions of the US government but overlooks the actions of the mob.

      Since these 'mobsters' are merely taking bets from consenting adults, I'd say there are really quite moral. Only a stupid law has turned what should be a perfectly legal activity into a crime, which of course attracts organized crime groups.

      Co-incidentally, relatives of a friend of mine operated a very similar business in Malaysia, where gambling is even more heavily restricted than in the US. Naturally, they were little different from the Mafia, and used violence to get ahead. On the other hand, in places like Las Vegas where gambling is mostly legal, you don't see legitimate casino operators putting out contracts on each others' lives.

      Conclusion - when the government turns a consensual activity like selling drugs, sex or wagers into a crime, the amount of real violent crime is actually increased.

      • Re:Bunch Bull (Score:3, Informative)

        by dvdeug (5033)
        Only a stupid law has turned what should be a perfectly legal activity into a crime,

        The government has to be involved, because if there's a hundred thousand dollars riding on a horse or a spin of a wheel, several people have quite a motivation in fixing that game. Historically speaking, they have often fixed the game. If you let every shyster with a deck set up a casino, there's going to be many stacked decks.

        On the other hand, in places like Las Vegas where gambling is mostly legal, you don't see legit
        • The government has to be involved, because if there's a hundred thousand dollars riding on a horse or a spin of a wheel, several people have quite a motivation in fixing that game. Historically speaking, they have often fixed the game. If you let every shyster with a deck set up a casino, there's going to be many stacked decks.

          There's a difference between the government being involved and criminalising the activity, though. Here in the UK, gambling is legal, but you have to have a license to run a gambli
    • Ah if you are working in the "open market" than you do not have to worry about "living below the radar".

      I guess that that's part of what it takes to work for the mob.... A weak moral compass, and slightly stupid.

  • Hmf. (Score:2, Informative)

    by BJH (11355)
    Essentially, the system acts as a market maker, matching up people who want to take different sides of a sports bet.

    He's got his terminology wrong. That's not a market maker, that's a *market*. A market maker is just someone who's required to offer a particular price on both sides of the book in return for some preferential treatment by the exchange.
  • A friend of mine ran deliveries for mobster types in college. It was contracts (the paper kind) and banking/financial crap for the most part.
  • by dido (9125) <dido@@@imperium...ph> on Friday November 21, 2003 @01:51AM (#7526346)

    From one of the BSD Games fortune cookies:

    A gangster assembled an engineer, a chemist, and a physicist. He explained that he was entering a horse in a race the following week and the three assembled guys had the job of assuring that the gangster's horse would win. They were to reconvene the day before the race to tell the gangster how they each propose to ensure a win. When they reconvened the gangster started with the engineer:

    Gangster: OK, Mr. engineer, what have you got?

    Engineer: Well, I've invented a way to weave metallic threads into the saddle blanket so that they will act as the plates of a battery and provide electrical shock to the horse.

    G: That's very good! But let's hear from the chemist.

    Chemist: I've synthesized a powerful stimulant that dissolves into simple blood sugars after ten minutes and therefore cannot be detected in post-race tests.

    G: Excellent, excellent! But I want to hear from the physicist before I decide what to do. Physicist?

    Physicist: Well, first consider a spherical horse in simple harmonic motion...

    I wonder what a computer scientist would be up to? ;)

    • Easy. Crack into the betting system and either change your bet, or change the results of the race.
    • by julesh (229690) on Friday November 21, 2003 @07:27AM (#7527164)
      I always preferred this one:

      An engineer, a physicist and a mathematician all live in a shared house. One night, a fire breaks out in each of their rooms. [Don't ask me how!]

      The engineer wakes up and realises that there is a fire in his room. He grabs a fire extinguisher and puts it out, then goes back to bed.

      The physicist wakes up and also reralises that there is a fire in his room. He grabs a notepad, works out the best way of approaching the fire, and with that knowledge picks up his fire exinguisher and puts it out. Then he goes back to bed.

      The mathematician wakes up, and he too notices the fire in his room. He grabs a notepad, and works out how to put the fire out. Then, satisfied that there is a solution, he goes back to bed. :-)
      • My favorite has always been:

        An engineer, physicist and computer programmer are in a car going down a mountain when the brakes go out. The car accelerates down the slope, tires squealing, slipping danergously at every turn. With a great deal of luck the three make it to the bottom where the car comes to a stop.

        The engineer immediately hops out of the car, pops the hood and begins examining the brake system. The physicist grabs his notepad and begins working out the various forces that where acting against
  • by Ernst Preuss (690344) on Friday November 21, 2003 @01:53AM (#7526360)
    If you have a wayward moral compass, work for the mob. But for the trully evil there is the RIAA.
  • by squarefish (561836) * on Friday November 21, 2003 @01:53AM (#7526366)
    I started reading it for the mob references, but kept on reading for the details of how to run an illegal gambling organization."

    you'll never be incognito

    sorry....
    ;)
  • Stupid Excuses (Score:4, Insightful)

    by KrispyKringle (672903) on Friday November 21, 2003 @01:54AM (#7526369)
    His excuse for not paying taxes is he doesn't agree with everything the US does. Hell, I don't agree with most of what the US does right now, but I still pay my taxes. Somehow, I doubt GWB is saying, `Gosh, some guy in Manhattan stopped paying his taxes. I must be on the wrong track.' But is it just me, or does this sound like a phony excuse?

    `The fact remains that I could be pulling in $150,000 as a programmer on the open market.' Yeah. Right. He must be a much better coder than he sounds if he could be making that right now with no college degree and no formal training. Maybe during the dotcoms, but now? And even if he could, I find it hard to imagine he'd give that all up because he `like[s] living below the radar.' Kudos to the poster for seeing through this self-aggrandizing fabrication.

    • Re:Stupid Excuses (Score:3, Interesting)

      by altek (119814)
      Furthermore...

      This guy doesn't agree with transportation systems, freeways, his (probably) public education, the fact that he can call 911 when he falls asleep with a bottle of scotch and a cigarette in his hand and his carpet starts on fire, etc, etc...

      I highly doubt this book is even a true story anyway, so I don't know why I'm thinking about it, but this is the classic example of the freeloader problem. An excuse to take advantage of the services provided by other taxpayers' money.
      • roads/freeways are (should) mostly paid through the gas tax. Public education is property taxes, police are a combination of property/local income. 911 is paid for through taxes on phone lines.

        (Federal) Income taxes pay for the military, FBI, DEA, and those agencies. But many people object to the overreaching of the federal government, such as welfare, the education programs that amount to states getting back 'federal' money if they follow the federal requirements (like the push for 21 min drinking age
    • The hot topic of the day usually pays around $1500 a day for six months or so in Manhattan. This is entirely feasable, but most of the people pulling down that kind of cash have very good connections and plenty of experience.
    • Re:Stupid Excuses (Score:3, Interesting)

      by TheLink (130905)
      He's just rationalizing his choices.

      Some people just prefer the crooked way, even though the straight way could even be easier.
  • looks like bs (Score:3, Interesting)

    by asv108 (141455) * <alex@phatauNETBSDdio.org minus bsd> on Friday November 21, 2003 @02:26AM (#7526484) Homepage Journal
    I realize Wired has always run a fine line between journalism and fiction in the past, but in recent yeas the magazine has gotten so bad that I'm seriously thinking of not renewing my subscription. Also, I enjoy seeing the mac covered, which many other publications ignore, but Wired has gone insane with the mac-centric stories. Sorry but just because Apple is somehow involved does not make a story newsworthy.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 21, 2003 @02:28AM (#7526498)
    I heard of 2 applications "for the mob". The most common code for the mafia is the usual "double book accounting" application. At midnight or from a hidden menu half the sales are erased, the tax to be sent adjusted and a number is shown to be removed, in cash of course. It never removes more than the cash in the register a lot easier in case of an audit.

    The other application is the other way around. At 6AM, the application creates "fake sales" for the previous day; I heard this specifically for video stores (own by the Hells Angels). A bunch of tapes that really spent the night in the store, indicated as returned during the night, and compiled for the 6AM opening. Why you ask? Money laundering. These "fake sales" produces clean money at the cost of the tax. The stores accepted cash only, and the owner simply adds the indicated amount in the register.

    I am always suspicious of stores that accept cash only! Or like that not too bright fellow who made 250K$ that year, with 4 peanuts distribution machines that takes only quarter, without ever bringing a single quarter to the bank, Only bills!

    The IRS had a good case!
    • Stop by casino, quarters in, dollars out. They dump them in by weight, and then it figures out what they owe you in larger denominations.

      At least that's the way it works around here...
    • Actually I heard about the restaurant trick with the exactly opposite approach:

      You sell food like mad and (being a nice honest citizen) pay your taxes on your proceeds. This strategy can miserably backfire though. Here's a real world story, which I got from a court clerk who actually was involved in it:

      There was this Kebab vendor, who sold Kebabs like crazy. What he didn't consider was that his phone was tapped and the following - paraphrased - conversation was taped:

      "Wow man, what a fucking boring day.

      • That's why barber shops are good, because they don't need much in the way of supplies. Many many barber shops in London launder drug money.

        Another way I heard of for laundering a lump sum quickly was to go to a casino, turn it all into chips, place a few small bets, and at the end of the night take all your remaining chips to a diffferent cashier and say "whooo! Big win! Can I have a cheque please?" The nice thing about this is that the Casino is actually making money out of your scam, so it's far more l
    • In France (southern France, particularly) we have so many pizzerias where there never seems to be a single customer, yet they mysteriously turn profits each year :) Same applies to a lot of chinese restaurants in Paris... Funnily enough, I just found a chinese restaurant here in Cairo (Egypt) that seems to work the same way: luxury, "high prices" restaurant (that is, you eat for 5 bucks). I get in, order my food, and notice that I am *alone* in the restaurant (at least 30 tables). Then I start noticing th

    • True :

      A video rental store next to where I work was closed three weeks after opening because of money laundering.

      I knew of an arcade where the pinballs were old and completely unplayable because the owner didn't know shit about maintenance ; ten years on, it's still running, without any customers, Pacmans with out-of-sync "GAME OVER" burned screens, one color out of three active....dream of a better small-scale money laundering outfit ?

  • I guess with guns so much smaller than in classic gangster movies, they can now vit them in laptop bags instead of violin cases.

  • Not so new news :) (Score:3, Interesting)

    by djupedal (584558) on Friday November 21, 2003 @02:53AM (#7526600)
    There have been many of these stories in the past few years. Mostly out of Vegas, yes. Seems there is a rather 'quiet' tech revolution going on, driven by tons of money and 'out of the box' needs.

    As an example, the taxi companies monitor each other's phones and poach clients needing a cab. Sounds simple, but the timing involved would put a shuttle launch to shame :)

    Don't get me wrong....there's nothing glam about it. The crime/drug/prostitution/money laundering that masks the real victimization has zero redeeming status.
    • by CAIMLAS (41445)
      Cabbies in vegas can make a killing.

      I know someone that was in the Navy, and was on shore leave down there on frequent occasion. This was maybe 5 or 6 years back.

      He and a buddy would chip in and rent a car together. Then they'd cruise the strip and pick up drunks. Every time they passed a cassino, they'd charge the drunk a quarter - that's what the fare was, they'd say. Of course, the smallest denominator that some of these people had was probably something like a 10, 20, 50 or even a 100$ bill. Being dru
  • by Zhe Mappel (607548) on Friday November 21, 2003 @02:57AM (#7526613)
    ...if you're skilled and determined but have a flexible moral compass, there's a lot of job opportunities out there.
    And if you get tired of working for the mob, your moral dereliction will always be welcomed in the energy industry, corporate accounting, cable TV news, and the mutual funds market.
  • by leoaugust (665240) <leoaugust.gmail@com> on Friday November 21, 2003 @03:01AM (#7526623) Journal

    This should be AC but WTF ....

    So what's a nice techie like me doing in a place like this? I gotta be honest. For starters, I don't think there's anything wrong with gambling - it's a private, symmetrical transaction between consenting adults. By another name - lottery, casino, offtrack betting - this sort of operation is completely legal. And it's not like I'm shaking people down for protection money. Besides, I tried the dotcom thing and failed. Plus, here I'm appreciated:

    Here is what I would like to get published in the next issue of Wired ...

    So what's a nice techie like me doing in a place like this? I gotta be honest. For starters, I don't think there's anything wrong with
    drugs - it's a private, symmetrical transaction between an adult and his/her body. By another name - alcohol, tobacco, junk food - this sort of operation is completely legal. And it's not like I'm shaking people down for drug money. Besides, I tried the dotcom thing and failed. Plus, here I'm appreciated ...

  • With the job shortages in the IT market I might just consider this / NOT. hmmmm

    Nick Powers
  • by SheldonYoung (25077) on Friday November 21, 2003 @03:11AM (#7526655)

    CICILY, NEW WORK - A press release from the Recording Industry Artists of America indicates they have merged with the Mafia in a move to focus entirely on their core business, strong arm tactics and racketteering.

    Well known inside man Simson Garfinkel wasn't availble for at the time of the interview. It is believe he is on vacation fishing with the swimmers in the East River. However, his musical partner Paul Art was available and made the comment "... with everybody downloading our music our careers were starting to suck even more, we needed protection. I mean, we couldn't have grandmothers downloading our music off KaZoom Light Extreme so contacting The Mob was the obvious choice. Plus now we have the inside track on our new musical winning a Fat Tony.".

    In a related story it was revealted today the Mafia has connections to news site Slashdot and network provider Akamai. By threatening to submitting to story to Slashdot containing the phrases "Linus, hot grits, Natalie Portman, and homemade p0rn" with a link to the company website victims had little choice but to subscribe to Akamai services. It is rumoured the RIAA is attempting to partner with the mob to use this technique to boost diminishing traffic to the N' Sync web site.
  • Wired lies (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Saint Stephen (19450) on Friday November 21, 2003 @03:29AM (#7526688) Homepage Journal
    Wired is famous for posting wildy exagerated fictional stories. It started with MicroSerfs in 1994(-5). They published this whole account of 8 Microsoft employees and their wild lives, and a few months later announced it was all a fictional story. Ever since then, I take everything they say with about 12 grains of salt.

    Not to say that there *arent* computer geeks working for the mob, but this particular is probably pure fiction and completely exagerated.
  • I think that a reporter and Wired editor were fooled big time.

    I read the article in Wired, I put it down and said 'amusing, but total BS.'.

  • Hi,

    despite the fact that this was written with such a fictionnal (and thus amusing) tone, and point of view (don't you think that it could have been a good introduction to a Casino-like movie ?), I have another concern about that kind of press release.

    Such statements as "I'm a hacker for the mob and I'm proud of it" mix two differents things, that, even if they are well distinguished by the average geek population, might seem confusing, and maybe upseting, for the average non-geek population.

    In a nutshell,

  • by hpavc (129350) on Friday November 21, 2003 @03:49AM (#7526736)
    God I hope they read my monster.com resume soon. I'll make sure to amend my resume with 'low moral compass'.
  • by mseeger (40923)
    Hi,

    please forgive me the flaming, but this is one of the silliest articles i've ever seen. Nor does he have any real information, neither is it funny. Instead of an insight we're given poor excuses for crime (don't want to support the goverment; we don't break legs, we just threaten to). Every drug adict has ten times better reasons. Please be aware that SPAM is related to the organized crime as well. If that guy had confesssed working for the MPAA or the RIAA to catch file swappers, the moral outrage on

  • New P2P app (Score:2, Funny)

    by vvk (95314)

    !!! Nobster !!!

    Shake downs were never this easy!!!

    Collect those handy creditcard numbers

    Share fake ID's at the push of a button.

    All that and more for a mere C$20.000,- kickback Just plugin and watch the cash roll-in

  • by MacGod (320762) on Friday November 21, 2003 @04:53AM (#7526854)
    I can already imagine the movie about this...

    Ironically enough, just a day or two ago, a trailer for the Movie This Thing Of Ours [apple.com] came out, and it's about a bunch of mobsters who move into computer crime.

    Small world

  • by blair1q (305137) on Friday November 21, 2003 @04:55AM (#7526860) Journal
    The fact remains that I could be pulling in $150,000 as a programmer on the open market. But I make a third of that. So why am I risking a prison sentence or the potential of a lifetime in witness protection for a job that doesn't make me all that rich? Simple: When you start making a lot of money, you get noticed by the biggest bullies on the block - the cops and the IRS - and I don't want that. I like living below the radar. I sublet a friend's apartment and pay his utility bills with money orders that I purchase at the post office or at one of those check-cashing storefronts. Because I get paid entirely in cash, I don't fork over any taxes. When you get right down to it, I'm an idealist. I don't condone the actions of the US government. By refusing to pay taxes, I withhold my financial support. And, truth be told, I like mobsters. They're more willing to accept you at face value. They aren't hung up on college degrees, or where you live, or how many criminal convictions you have.

    So if we buy the subtext, he's your typical, semi-educated loser (precisely the profile of mob eggheads and enemy moles throughout history), who wouldn't be making $50k/year in a legit job, much less $50K take-home, justifying his criminal activity (and his inability to make any money at it) by saying he doesn't approve of the people who would--gladly and by all that is legally and morally right--put him in orange jumpsuits for the rest of his life.

    Or, as I suspect, he's an invention of some half-inventive writer who's looking to run a nice Internet troll, maybe get a little play in the major news media.

    I'm sure he's thrilled that /. bit.
  • Uh, yeah... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ellem (147712) * <ellem52NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday November 21, 2003 @06:46AM (#7527101) Homepage Journal
    I did a Lotus Notes job for a group of Italian Citizens, a club really.... encrypton seems to have been a HUGE concern. First ever PGP server. Do you know what 18,000USD looks like in paperbags?
  • Anyone else feel like they were reading an excerpt from one of the fine M.Y.T.H novels by Robert Aspirin...

  • for punters just to go to a licenced turf accountant if they wanted to place a bet? I know I'm lucky having a bookie's right at the end of my street {it's where next door's kids can usually find their dad if he's not home!} but surely licenced betting shops can't be so thin on the ground, or have so much else wrong with them, that people actually prefer to use the unlicenced ones? After all, you wouldn't expect criminal gangs to tax bookies' profits any less heavily than the Government does .....
  • Hmm (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Cereal Box (4286) on Friday November 21, 2003 @08:22AM (#7527269)
    but the story is interesting nonetheless and shows that if you're skilled and determined but have a flexible moral compass, there's a lot of job opportunities out there.

    "Flexible moral compass"? Sounds like just about every Slashdot geek.
  • by blankmange (571591) on Friday November 21, 2003 @09:35AM (#7527499)
    "Yeah, I wiped his hard drive."

    "He's been formatted."

    "I clocked him all the way back to a C prompt."

    "I gave him a dll error he'll never forget."

    Sorry, I just had to get those off my chest....
  • by PSaltyDS (467134) on Friday November 21, 2003 @11:11AM (#7528216) Journal
    "...if you're skilled and determined but have a flexible moral compass, there's a lot of job opportunities out there."

    So unemployment on /. should be vanishingly close to zero.

    Any technology distinguishable from magic is not suficiently advanced.
  • by mikewas (119762) <wascher AT gmail DOT com> on Friday November 21, 2003 @11:24AM (#7528350) Homepage
    Flexible moral compass?

    If I had a flexible moral compass then I'd be a manager ... or maybe even a CEO by now.

  • by SysKoll (48967) on Friday November 21, 2003 @01:28PM (#7529577)
    In Western Europe, many bars are operating video poker machines. These machines cannot legally pay back any money. All they do if you win is increase your balance and let you play longer.

    At least that's the theory.

    Various news reports regularly pop up about these machines beng used for full-blown casino-like gambling in bars. A common scheme works like that: Legal no-pay machines are bought wholesale from factories. Then the ROMs are changed. When the machine is installed in a bar, it is also wired to a switch located behind the counter.

    Customers "in the know" can ask the barkeeper to flip the switch. This changes the operation of the machine to a different game. The customer is credited a certain amount (e.g. $50). When he leaves, he pays or gets the game's balance at the counter.

    This is such a profitable business that a full-fledge gang war was raging last year in Southern France and Italy. At least one programmer was shot because he worked for the wrong people.

    Friendly betting my ass.

    -- SysKoll
  • Way back when.... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by CharlieG (34950) on Friday November 21, 2003 @02:47PM (#7530463) Homepage
    Way back when, when most /.'er were still in short pants, I went to a programming conference. Up in the lobby of the conference hotel was an ad for "Programmers wanted", come to room XXXX. I went up, and it was two guys in very nice suits, a lot of gold, discussing the plans they had for a computer system - in fact, it was the first time I had heard of the idea of off shore betting. Mind you, this is pre internet boom. They were planning on modem pools and dial up at that time.

    It was fairly obvious from the job description, the fact that only first names were used, and the questions that were asked that the folks were the mob. I gave it a thought, and said, "Sir, it's an interesting concept, but I really have no interest in traveling off shore as the job would require. I wish you luck." Shook hands, and left. That was the last I heard of it, except to see what looked like one of the guys in the room doing the perp walk about 15 years later - Something about stolen cars

    These guys were a bit higher tech than the folks in the wired article - they were talking N tier distributed architectues in the VERY early 80s

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