EM Griefing *Updated*

After the virtual nuke that hit Second Life last night it was easy to connect the dots for something we might want to expect shortly down the road: EM Griefing (EM = electromagnetic). That incident was the first dot. In this case, the second dot is this report I just read over on JoyStiq that Microsoft’s new XBox 360 console may be causing Wal*Mart’s internal wireless system to bork. This vulnerability isn’t new, but now it’s waaaay out in the open in perhaps the worst way. Considering the buzz surrounding Robert Greenwald’s new movie “Wal*Mart – The High Cost of Low Price” (another “dot” perhaps), I’m going to venture that we’re going to see some real world griefing real soon. One doesn’t have to be too creative to suddenly realize that if you have a beef with the world’s biggest company (or even if you don’t), all you have to do is send them some 2.4GHz love and watch the fallout.

I think we’re about to see some virtual world behavior make it’s way back into the real world. Be on the lookout for people organizing via social websites and forming “Grief Clans” in their communities. Imagine such a clan infiltrating a Wal*Mart with personal electronics intended to screw up their wireless system. Stay tuned… just maybe not with a wireless.

{Update: Gamespot reported yesterday afternoon that Wal*Mart is unplugging XBox 360 kiosks due to interference with their wireless inventory system.}

2 thoughts on “EM Griefing *Updated*

  1. Very interesting. There’s been quite a lot of interest in RFID spoofing (eg http://www.networkworld.com/news/2005/080105-blackhat-side.html) too: an area where I have some sympathy with ‘griefers’, especially if some of the RFID applications people are now talking about happen. Rather nice to confuse systems that track you around your local supermarket and monitor your purchases by creating phantom RFID identities.

    It does seem as if somebody somewhere will manage to hack into almost any system, just to show that they can. Particularly where we feel that the victim is a large faceless corporation and we are striking a blow for individual liberty. Shame about griefing ‘Second Life’, though; you may or may not think Second Life is a good idea, but at least it’s optional, unlike shopping at supermarkets.

  2. Agree. It’s hard to like what some companies intend to do with RFID.

    wrt SL, while it’s optional for most people, there are a handful of people who make a living with it. So when it goes down, it is unfortunately having an impact beyond that of a “game”. As the lines continue to blur, the impact can only grow.

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