March 31, 2009
March 27, 2009
March 11, 2009
"There is no conspiracy theory. There's nothing we are hiding at all," says Jeff Kyle, group product manager for Symantec consumer products. "Within the first hour there were like 600 posts to that thread. Obviously it was a bot creating this."
Currently, representatives of the company are repeating that the first post referencing PIFTS.exe was made by a spambot, despite being unable to explain how and why a spambot can be the first to be aware of and mention this obscure file on the forums at the exact same time Symantec's staff realized their mistake and were pulling the file from distribution. Witnesses who saw the initial deleted post are having the hardest time accepting Symantec staff's explanation.
March 10, 2009
This story is flagged, just when it hit 200 Diggs it disappeared from the upcoming stories with most diggs, Digg doesn't want it on it's front page. http://digg.com/news/software/upcoming/mostCurrently the story has 269 "diggs" (or votes up) and counting.
UPDATE (13:20 10 March 2009): The original story with over 300 diggs is no longer showing up in a search for "PIFTS.exe" on digg.com anymore. Lower rated stories still show up but are being systematically removed as this is being written. Screenshots of digg.com:
UPDATE (13:20 10 March 2009): The story about the Digg cover up of the PIFTS.exe cover up has reached Digg itself: http://digg.com/tech_news/Digg_covers_up_Symantec_s_cover_up
UPDATE (14:55 10 March 2009): If PIFTS.exe is related to the FBI's Magic Lantern software, it would not be surprising if Digg was pressured to squelch this.
UPDATE (03:59 31 March 2009): The story in question was the fifth most popular story on Digg that day.
UPDATE (03:56 10 March 2009): In our comments, thepipermethod says the kanzlei.biz website is just mirroring key words from google trends, which at this time includes the terms "PIFTS" and "EXE" and that the site has no other relation to PIFTS.exe. At zonealarm.org, one person reports talking with various representatives of Symantec for two hours without receiving any answer as to why inquiries posted on the Symantec forums were being deleted. The caller was told that PIFTS.exe is part of Symantec's update installation process, was denied any further information regarding the purpose of the file and was repeatedly transferred to a new representative when asking why inquiries about PIFTS.exe were being deleted from Symantec's forums.
UPDATE (10:42 10 March 2009): There is speculation that this is part of the FBI's secret Magic Lantern software. From Wikipedia:
Symantec, the makers of Norton AntiVirus and related products, is reportedly working with the FBI on ways to preclude their products from detecting Magic Lantern. Eric Chien, a top researcher at Symantec, emphasized the ability to detect "modified versions."Some people are reporting that the Norton forums have been taken offline. There is no information posted anywhere yet regarding what this program does.
UPDATE (11:10 10 March 2009): It's being said that PIFTS.exe contacts an IP address in Africa.
UPDATE (11:50 10 March 2009): This site has links to copies of the PIFTS.exe file which you can download. I can not vouch whether the files are authentic or not. There is contradictory information about what actual IP address the program is contacting.
UPDATE (12:02 10 March 2009): Apparently digg.com is also covering this story up. 242 diggs and it's not on the front page. There's a good discussion of this on slashdot.org, a web 2.0 social networking site for techies. The Washington Post and The Register are covering this as well.
UPDATE (14:45 10 March 2009): More details on Digg's cover up of the PIFTS.exe story here. The coordinated opposition to this story tells us that we are on the right track.
UPDATE (16:22 10 March 2009): Symantec has finally issued a statement on PIFTS.exe. Symantec claims that it was just a patch to their software that was accidentally released "unsigned." The company also alleges that inquiries regarding the matter on their forums were deleted because many people made posts about it:
One individual created a new user account and posted about the name of the patch executable, PIFTS.exe. Within minutes, several dozen user accounts were created commenting on the initial thread, and/or creating new threads on the topic. Over the next few hours, over 200 user accounts were created. Within the first hour there were 600 new posts on this subject alone. While the intent of the spammer(s) remains unclear, there were no malicious links and it simply resulted in a widespread communications challenge for Symantec.It is interesting that there is no accounting for why the first post was deleted along with every single other mention of the issue. It is also worth noting that Symantec refers those customers of theirs who promptly wanted to know what this "unsigned" piece of software was as "spammer(s)" whose intent "remains unclear."
March 9, 2009
A source in Mexico tells me the following regarding martial law in Mexico:
(7:11:27 pm) [Name Withheld]: I asked around and nobody knows anything.
(7:12:15 pm) [Name Withheld]: In the morning, there was a brief notice about it, and father mentioned something about USA annexing Mexico as another state, but I didn't pay attention
(7:32:27 pm) [Name Withheld]: If I learn anything new I'll tell you.
Note that the MSM (mainstream media) is not reporting on this. Another scoop for us!
(When reposting this on blogs or forums, please provide a link back to this page. Some of our previous reporting is unfortunately going uncredited. Thanks!)