back to article Someone's spreading an MBR-trashing copy of the Christchurch killer's 'manifesto' – and we're OK with this, maybe?

Hacktivists are spreading booby-trapped copies of the New Zealand mass shooter's Islamophobic rantings, in what is being described as an online "vigilante" operation. Security house Blue Hexagon claims it discovered a version of the killer's manifesto doing the rounds online containing Windows malware that, when executed with …

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  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "This is not us"

    "This is the world"

    Here, fixed.

    Besides, you don't fix a problem with more harm. It makes more hate. Which makes more violence. Which makes more harm. Which makes more hate. Which...

    1. Ashentaine
      Alert

      Exactly. Answering indiscriminate destruction with more indiscriminate destruction is never a good solution. Especially in such a naive manner like this, that assums only the baddies will be exposed to it, or that it won't be made even more destructive by some anarchy-minded jackass.

      The fact that it's already been sent to some notorious troll havens already is not exactly helping either...

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Mixed feelings

        On the plus side, the C&C server might produce a handy list of people to have a look at. On the minus side, many of the trolls would have already grabbed a copy while social media companies were still playing whack-a-mole.

        I also have mixed feelings about whether the doc should be forbidden anyway. Or limited to psychologists, sociologists and criminologists. I read the Breivek one, and had been a bit curious about how much this one may have plagiarised it or been influenced by it. And on the plus side, spree killers tend to flush themselves from the gene pool, or force the police to do it, so having a live subject to study may help learn more about what motivates and influences these nutjobs.

        1. baud

          Re: Mixed feelings

          I heard that the Breivik manifesto was huge, you've read all of it?

          I don't think forbidding the document is useful, even if it could be done; nutjobs have already a wealth of pamphlets, so another one isn't going to change much, instead it made the document desirable and make the NZ gov look like censors.

          It would be better to be in the open, to be studied by journalists, psychologists, sociologists and criminologists and ridiculed in public. Perhaps an informational version could be done, like it was done with Mein Kampf when it entered the public domain: with a foreword and annotations by historians .

          1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

            Re: Mixed feelings

            Yep, read through the whole thing. A lot of rambling, repetition and cobbling together of various far-right ideology, mythology, conspiracy theories and general bile. You also make an interesting point about MK. I read the translated version as in the UK, it'd (I think) been published for a long while. It's an interesting (and very tedious) insight into the mind of a madman and the way he rationalised his policies.

            I also read the German annotated version, and really recommend that. Something that's sometimes forgotten is the historical context, ie the blows to German national pride following WW1, threats from the far-left and Communism, and that eugenics was a pretty popular idea at the time. And then there's a fascinating bio of Himmler.. You could assume he'd had a terrible childhood, but that wasn't the case. And then from the left, Sebag-Montefiore's Court of the Red Tsar about Stalin.

            All of which (hopefull) kept me reasonably well centred.. But I think there are also important lessons, ie the way ideas & ideologies spread. Which in our modern age, it's possible to do a lot faster, and reach a much larger audience than pamphleting Bavarian beer halls. And that also means it can be harder to stop the spread, or channel it into places where there can be balanced or reasoned debate, otherwise it's the usual danger of censorship and driving it underground.

            1. werdsmith Silver badge

              Re: Mixed feelings

              Something that's sometimes forgotten is the historical context, ie the blows to German national pride following WW1, threats from the far-left and Communism, and that eugenics was a pretty popular idea at the time

              This isn't sometimes forgotten in England it's part of the GCSE history syllabus. I've been all through it helping both mine with homework and they've done the bus tour that goes with it.

            2. Enric Martinez

              Re: Mixed feelings

              True. But forbidding the document has already produced two positive outcomes:

              Some of the potential copycats are now under control and a few have got their PC's thrashed. Poor lads won't be able to watch pedo porn for a while :_(

            3. baud
              Thumb Up

              Re: Mixed feelings

              Thank you. I think you're more balanced than myself.

        2. Paul 195

          Re: Mixed feelings

          I don't think we should be referring to mass murderers as "nut jobs". The Christchurch killer has some unpleasant and irrational views, but calling him a nutjob serves to reduce his culpability as well as being prejudicial to millions of people who have mental health problems but get through life without killing anyone (except occasionally themselves unfortunately).

          He committed his act of mass murder not because of mental illness, but at least partly because of a prevalent narrative that paints Muslims as problematic. But admitting that means that the many people complicit in spreading this narrative might feel bad, so let's just say this guy was crazy and let ourselves off the hook.

          1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

            Re: Mixed feelings

            I don't think we should be referring to mass murderers as "nut jobs"

            I do, and certainly not as 'terrorists', because one man's freedom fighter and all that. As Margaret Thatcher once said, we should be denying them the oxygen of publicity. Rest can be a legal distinction. By the standards of practically the entire world, the actions were crazy, and not something we'd contemplate, let alone act on. Like in the Norwegian case, I suspect this person will also be declared legally sane and tried for multiple counts of murder.

          2. jake Silver badge

            Re: Mixed feelings

            "I don't think we should be referring to mass murderers as "nut jobs". "

            Really? In your world they are sane, normal human beings?

            Seek help, before it's too late.

            1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

              Re: Mixed feelings

              To be fair, he does have a point. In the Norwegian case, the murderer was found legally sane, or sane enough to face the charges. I think it said he exhibited some paranoia and narcissm, but the actions also demonstrated methodical planning and foresight, and an ordered mind.

              But that doesn't mean all paranoid narcissists are going to become spree kilers, and thus should be locked up for our safety. That's back to the dark ages of mental health care, or just extreme authoritarianism that's been a hallmark of far-left & right regimes throughout history. As has book banning, and locking up political prisoners.. Which is one of the ways Himmler got started. Political opponents were detained for their own safety. Today, we can be locked up for possessing this manifesto, or sometimes just name calling.

              Rest is context. I think the NZ killer was legally sane. Their defence may try to argue insanity, or want to be declared sane because that then normalises their actions. I use 'nutjob' in a derogatory sense, and wouldn't dream of using that for someone with mental health problems. But I also think there's something culturally wrong with not being allowed to use words like 'nutjob' or 'crazy' to describe something or someone who acts far outside the norms of society.. Which I think also applies to lables like 'terrorist', which rationalises actions and also runs the risk of martyring mass murderers.

        3. Enric Martinez

          Re: Mixed feelings

          "having a live subject to study may help learn more about what motivates and influences these nutjobs."

          And he could be used for other experimentation as well! There is a great opportunity to test new things on a living "voluntary" individual! And for once PETA won't have a reason to complain.

    2. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
      FAIL

      The boobytrap

      Is so primitive it's clear it was written by boobs to trap other boobs.

  3. Dan 55 Silver badge
    WTF?

    It's 2019 and...

    ... a Word document can run an embedded BASIC program which has permissions to connect to the Internet and download an executable binary and then run it, which then has permissions to trash the MBR.

    Has Microsoft set a new world record? So many layers of WTF before we get to the actual WTF document itself.

    1. JetSetJim Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: It's 2019 and...

      Nah - it just runs Windows Update, trashes the system perfectly. Have just fixed a system that did an update that left it in a state where I was looking at a blinking cursor on boot.

    2. big_D Silver badge

      Re: It's 2019 and...

      Standard setting in Office today disable macros and dynamic content by default. The user has to jump through hurdles to enable it - or they bypass the default security settings to allow unsigned code to be executed.

    3. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: It's 2019 and...

      The disclaimer is that it's 2019 and that's still possible... but only if you're an absolute moron who changes their systems to facilitate that.

      One, you have to be a user with permission to write to the MBR. That's administrator, basically.

      Two, you have to have opened a Word file, as administrator, that you just downloaded off the Internet.

      Three, that version of Office has to be damn-near obsolete, or have all the macros options turned on and automatically running for documents in your download folders (which are not only untrusted-by-default, but it's even incredibly difficult to *make* them trusted because Office knows they are download folders and tries to stop you).

      Now, for a home user, you may find the first two are present, because people are stupid. We'll... well... we'll look over that for now. But the third means that you have an incautious user, running as admin, on a machine specifically configured to run macros in Word files automatically the second you open them, with full privileges, as an administrator.

      At that point, there's literally no point even trying to apply security or logic. You're dead. It's just a matter of time.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: It's 2019 and...

        "Now, for a home user"

        Which is very likely in these cases. It's very likely that in S/W terms it's not 2019 but maybe a decade or longer ago.

      2. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: It's 2019 and...

        So basically run from home and many workplaces and click the Yes button if the macro dialog box pops up.

        The bar's set pretty low isn't it?

        1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

          Re: It's 2019 and...

          No, read it again. You also need to click through the message that says this file cannot be trusted because it came from the internet AND THEN you need to click through the message that says this /document/ wants to run some code AND THEN you need to click through the UAC prompt that says this document wants to "make changes to your computer".

          To be honest, if you are that stupid, then you are probably protected by the rootkit that is already on your machine.

          1. Kiwi Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: It's 2019 and...

            No, read it again. You also need to click through the message that says this file cannot be trusted because it came from the internet AND THEN you need to click through the message that says this /document/ wants to run some code AND THEN you need to click through the UAC prompt that says this document wants to "make changes to your computer".

            IOW a standard user, who clicks the "make this go away ASAP button" without doing more than click the "make the box go away" button. Quickly they learn that if they click the wrong "make the box go away" button the text they wish to see will not show, so they click the other "make the box go away" button in hopes of seeing the text appear.

            Most home users are unaware of any actual threats to their system, often because of the simple reliability of most modern computers. If it runs down and is bogged down by adware or other things, then they don't notice it because to them "slow and ad-filled" is normal, or it's running not-too-bad speed wise but has a few things lurking in the background that don't actually let themselves be seen.

            It's only when the malware really stops their machine, or they get a machine cleaned and realise how bad things were, that they have a clue about how infected they are.

            Experience teaches them that the internet is a safe place, they can view what they want, and that whatever protection they believe they have is enough because it's protected them quite well so far (even if the machine has more nasties in it than the decaying corpse of a sewer rat)

  4. Shades

    FTFY

    Consult your operating system's recovery and repair tools to rebuild the MBR psychologist/psychiatrist if for some reason you're hit with this malware.

    FTFY

    1. cornetman Bronze badge

      Re: FTFY

      Will that fix your MBR?

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: FTFY

        No, because fixing the MBR won't fix the problem. Which is kind of the OP's point.

        1. Khaptain Silver badge

          Re: FTFY

          "Consult your operating system's recovery and repair tools to rebuild the MBR psychologist/psychiatrist if for some reason you're hit with this malware"

          I think that the OP was actually stating that you have other problems, rather those those associated with a borked MBR..

          ie : You have to be kind of crazy to want to open the file/video in the first place...

          YMMV

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This would have been a lot less likely if NZ et al hadn't attempted to completely suppress this idiot's "manifesto" and made it a desirable chunk of information to acquire. Now people are trying to get hold of it via less savoury channels, and getting everything that comes along with that, rather than it being openly available and open to the ridicule it so richly deserves.

    Prohibition and suppression of ideas always have the same result. When will people learn?

    1. Carl D

      The "Streisand Effect" is in play here as I sadly suspected it would be.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streisand_effect

      1. Jamtea

        Definitely, more people have been curious and rushed to view it after it was censored than were even aware there was an offline version of the stream since it was basically advertised by the NZ and other govs.

        On balance, what harm has been actually mitigated vs caused by the censorship and banning of this content? Because I'm positive it has resulted in just more harm being done.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Prohibition and suppression of ideas always have the same result

      I must admit, that _immediately after_ they banned it, I thought I'd better download it, before it's banned in the UK. My instincts are: if a government wants to ban it, I want to know what they don't want me to see, regardless of how stupid or vile it is. This is MY decision to judge its value, not any "democratic" government :(

      p.s. hey, give it a couple of years, a clever algorithm will mark me for suc a comment up in ever-growing list of "potential persons of interests" :(

      1. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: Prohibition and suppression of ideas always have the same result

        I agree that banning something instantly makes it far more interesting. What are we not supposed to see? What combination of words are deemed by our masters as unsuitable? What makes government hacks so superior that only they can see these sorts of things? The rest of us have to live in this world too, warts and all.

        Since the NZ government and others banned the video, audio and text, there are likely more people trying to find a copy to have a look. It's much better to put it out there with a warning that it's violent, graphic and perpetrated by a nut-job. Instead, they've made it more appealing, scarce and therefore, something that others can use as a trojan horse. Was it the "Brittany Spears" virus that got people to click on email links to see a photo of her without a sufficient amount of cloth between the lens and her flesh? Bait the trap and wait for the snap.

    3. regregular

      Finding that PDF is literally one google search away.

      Yes, there are some "dead" links here and there, suggesting some pressure on hosters or publishers for takedown.

      But it is not exactly like NZ has a world-government like reach.

  6. Walter Bishop Silver badge

    A meme-laden soup of troll-tastic nihilistic nonsense

    While the manifesto – a meme-laden soup of troll-tastic nihilistic nonsense – has been outlawed in New Zealand for inciting murder and terrorism

    Going on the contents, I would say release the manifesto, it's liable to totally discredit the Aryan cause.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: A meme-laden soup of troll-tastic nihilistic nonsense

      Those mental midgets don't need yet another manifesto ignorant screed to do that.

    2. Blank Reg

      Re: A meme-laden soup of troll-tastic nihilistic nonsense

      "it's liable to totally discredit the Aryan cause"

      If you've seen any of those involved then you'd know they do a pretty good job of that just by being themselves.

    3. Mark Exclamation

      Re: A meme-laden soup of troll-tastic nihilistic nonsense

      Does that mean that El-Reg has actually read this "meme-laden soup of troll-tastic nihilistic nonsense"?

      1. L05ER

        Re: A meme-laden soup of troll-tastic nihilistic nonsense

        I have, and I'm fairly certain they have too.

        That description is spot on.

      2. jake Silver badge

        Re: A meme-laden soup of troll-tastic nihilistic nonsense

        "has actually read this"

        One can hardly respond to hate-filled bullshit without first reading it, now can one? I've read most of the extremist literature (from many sides of the political/religious/whatever coin) and about all it has caused me to do is resolve to never become an extremist ... of any stripe. Wingnuts are wingnuts. They should all be pointed out, shamed and and laughed at whenever the opportunity presents itself.

      3. rg287 Silver badge

        Re: A meme-laden soup of troll-tastic nihilistic nonsense

        One would hope that any respectable journalist has read it end-to-end so that if they write about it, they will write accurately.

        Unlike the Daily Telegraph for instance who wrote:

        His “manifesto” claiming “Fortnite trained me to be a killer” was similarly designed to stir reaction from the game’s followers.

        The actual quote is from a "Q&A" section of the manifesto. That section (unabridged) reads:

        Were you taught violence and extremism by video games,music,literature,cinema?

        Yes, Spyro the dragon 3 taught me ethno-nationalism. Fortnite trained me to be a killer and to floss on the corpses of my enemies.

        No.

        He was clearly poking fun at the Jack Thompsons of the world. But apparently the writers at such an august publication as the Daily Telegraph are not capable of recognising such dripping sarcasm.

        Having access to the source material is vital if the general public are to hold the media to account over errors, selective quotes, misrepresentations and outright lies.

      4. Handlebars

        Re: A meme-laden soup of troll-tastic nihilistic nonsense

        If it's meme-laden, does that mean it's automatically illegal in the EU?

        1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

          Re: A meme-laden soup of troll-tastic nihilistic nonsense

          No. Memes are specifically exempt from the directive you are thinking of.

  7. cat_mara

    Pardon my ignorance...

    ... but I thought Word refused to run any macros in a file with a .docx extension, that it had to be a .docm extension instead? Or was that so much security theatre?

    1. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Pardon my ignorance...

      I've seen other malware-infused documents which start with instructions on how to enable and run macros (eg). (I'm not sure if that's the case here, but it wouldn't surprise me)

      I guess it does restrict the malware to people who are able to follow simple instructions to enable macros, and yet are stupid enough to do so, but the internet is a big place and there's no shortage of idiots.

      1. baud

        Re: Pardon my ignorance...

        It reminds of a pdf that asked "read with Adobe Reader to access the content". But that one was legit and I had to download Adobe reader. Also since it was a form to fill, I'd guess it was easier to just target and test one reader.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Reading between the lines...

    ... can we assume official Reg policy is pro-censorship / anti-freedom now?

    What happened here is a litany of wrongs, the solution isn't censorship and wrongthinking "hate", but unravelling the layers of falsehood and misconception that surround such events.

    For a start, looking for information indicates curiosity, it doesn't make you a believer of everything your read. Reading the communist manifesto doesn't make you a communist.

    When someone commits a terrorist attack, it does not mean they have the support of other believers of ideas they claim to support. There are probably millions of people who have opinions similar to those who commit terrorism, who have read such writings and know that terrorism is wrong and a detriment to their cause. In this incident, note the terrorist posted to a forum frequented by trolls / paedos, not a forum for far-right / racists / islamophobes. If one person kills another for the cause of climate-change, would that taint all climate-change activists with terrorism, and justify censorship of their opinions?

    "Hate" is not concept that all can agree on. If someone went to a zoo and released all the animals into one enclosure, but the animals didn't get along well, would you call the animals "hateful" or the person who put them into one enclosure?

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Reading between the lines...

      Tough call to upvote or downvote. There's pros and cons here.

      I grasp what you're saying but manifestos will get converters (such as the communist) of generally unhappy folks with issues. It's really how hate groups get members. Censoring really isn't the answer, it's more one of culture and education. The concept of "manifest" has an almost religious connotation to it in the "read this and you will be enlightened".

      Reading can influence people and sometimes negatively. To couch this in current news... the Koran will get two types of readers/believers for the most part. It will get people of good will and faith, and also the terrorist/jihadists.

      Most people would read the manifesto and react that the author is a nutcase. Others will take to heart. So it's a two edged sword like just about any religious, political, of philosophical writings. It takes a state of mind to analyze what one reads and accepts as "truth".

      Personally, I'm very much a believer is free speech, etc. but some people push the envelope. Sort of like the freedom to swing my arm stops at your nose. Some folks miss the part of stopping at the nose.

      1. Richard Jones 1
        WTF?

        Re: Reading between the lines...

        While I up voted you by a very slim margin, the issue is not those for whom some form of education can help. The issue is the very small percentage who are already largely untouchable by social norms who can be swayed by anything sufficiently off the wall to bring them out of their dark caves. Sadly these unstable antisocial failures can be triggered too easily, though I have no easy answer. Somehow stopping their descent into their reassess of lunacy is needed. Though censorship can appeal in the hope of removing trigger material and slowing down copy cat behaviour, I share the doubts of others that this will stop the problem. Clearly identifying how such malcontents on all sides of the hate spectrum are caused is desirable in order to prevent others failing to develop into functioning members. The knee jerk reaction of culling them at the first sign of their odd behaviour while understandable, is almost certainly not one that would win lasting support. It has not worked in the past and is unlikely to work in the future.

      2. rg287 Silver badge

        Re: Reading between the lines...

        Most people would read the manifesto and react that the author is a nutcase. Others will take to heart. So it's a two edged sword like just about any religious, political, of philosophical writings. It takes a state of mind to analyze what one reads and accepts as "truth".

        Indeed. I think one of the other issues with this specific manifesto is that it is so meme-laden and loaded with internet culture that an awful lot of the mainstream media don't actually understand what they're looking at and cannot be trusted to report it accurately.

        The only options are total censorship - including a reporting ban - or to give it the light of day so everyone can judge for themselves.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Reading between the lines...

        Where you say "it's more one of culture and education"

        I see indoctrination and brainwashing....

        You see it works both ways when you try and organize your wrong think tools comrade.

        Just don't...let people be fooled, get woke and then learn...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      10-10 Environmentalist "hatred" ?

      "Cut CO2 or we'll blow up your kids"

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qAkfEX0sqAI

      What if someone watching this climate change propaganda was radicalised?

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: 10-10 Environmentalist "hatred" ?

        AC, may I introduce you to Greenpeace, which is neither green nor peaceful?

    3. Jamtea

      Re: Reading between the lines...

      This stance tends to depend on how stupid you consider your fellow man. Most people who lose touch with the common folk seem more and more to think they're just unthinking future political ideologues in waiting, just ripe to be picked by the first radicals who get to them first.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Reading between the lines...

      You do realize we have a high count of young, San-Francisco soy boy types in here right?

      Not everyone is a True Grit survivor from the Big3 of old with more common sense than

      the UK Parliament...

    5. Jamie Jones Silver badge

      Re: Reading between the lines...

      You made some good points, but you lost credibility by saying "anti-freedom".

      Those damn limey anti-American unpatriotic commie fascist gun-hating SJW Reg writers, right?

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Reading between the lines...

      "... can we assume official Reg policy is pro-censorship / anti-freedom now?"

      I suspect its the usual policy of "ideas we agree with must be free from censorship and actively promoted as they are right" while "ideas we disagree with must be supressed and criminalized as they are inherently evil" .... n.b. this is an equal opportunity policy as its used by people from all parts of the political/social/religious spectrum - though of course the with different things in the different categories.

    7. Tomato Krill

      Re: Reading between the lines...

      Broadly there is good sense here I agree with and as such upvoted, but the last para reads to me like a metaphor for England First nationism (don't blame the Lions if you keep letting other 'animals' in here) makes me almost regret it...

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "While the manifesto – a meme-laden soup of troll-tastic nihilistic nonsense..."

    So, you've read it?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why are we still talking about the work of this drongo?

    Drongo:

    noun, plural dron·gos. Australian Slang. a stupid or slow-witted person; simpleton.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Why are we still talking about the work of this drongo?

      Why? Because sweeping it under the carpet is never the answer. As Santayana put it, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Why are we still talking about the work of this drongo?

        Black Magic Woman was much better.

  11. TheMeerkat

    It is still legal to read Communist Manifesto, despite millions victims, why not this?

    1. jake Silver badge

      But ...

      ... it IS legal to read this. (Nearly?) everywhere except NZ, apparently.

      No, I haven't read it. And probably won't. I've already read enough similar rantings of loonies to last me a couple lifetimes.

    2. joeldillon

      Who did Marx shoot and kill?

      1. jake Silver badge

        The only thing Marx killed was time[0].

        His ideas, when twisted by evil men, killed millions.

        [0] Ever meet a philosopher who wasn't bone idle? I rest my case!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The only thing Marx killed was time[0].

          Oh well, there goes the Bible, the Bhagavad Gita and just about everybody's scriptural texts.

          Because any ideas can be and are twisted by evil men. They're just a hook to hang the same old Stalinism on.

          Marx's communism is a hippie utopia in which everybody makes things happen by free exchange of goods and services. Some of the fantasists who think perfectly free markets are possible actually believe exactly the same thing - but would be horrified to be called communists. Yet wars have been fought by two sides who in many ways officially agree.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Marx's communism is a hippie utopia

            hindsight is a wonderful feeling indeed.

          2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

            Re: The only thing Marx killed was time[0].

            "Oh well, there goes the Bible, the Bhagavad Gita and just about everybody's scriptural texts. Because any ideas can be and are twisted by evil men."

            Well yes, which is why *all* philosophies need to be scrutinised with a critical eye, even the one that is (or was in the past) the mainstream view in your society.

  12. TrumpSlurp the Troll Silver badge
    Unhappy

    A damper on instant fame?

    Tricky balance over censorship.

    I suspect that the main aim is not to reinforce the message "Want instant fame and a viral online following? Go shoot someone!".

    So the ban is not about the content as such, but about the fame generated by a violent act posted online.

    A no win situation. Either you have a massive online presence of people with dubious moral values or you have strict and effective censorship of all online postings.

    If the two, I think the censorship is the more dangerous in the long term. Better to ignore the postings and hope that in the long term good sense prevails.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: A damper on instant fame?

      In this particular example, it was all over the news, world-wide. We already know all about it. Censoring after the fact is as pointless as closing the stable door after the horse has bolted. It's just a feel-good gesture, intended to garner political points, nothing more and nothing less. In my mind the politicians making hay out of it should be ashamed of themselves, if not subject to recall.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Title Censored

    I don't see how "banning" this evil shit's drivel is going to help anything. Perhaps those responsible for the ban think they're doing the right thing, or would like to be seen to be doing that, but this is nanny state thinking at its most deluded.

    No matter how much one might wish it, nothing that can be done now will undo what has happened, and avoiding using the perp's name is just facile. Will reporting of this bastard's trial be censored to avoid mentioning his name?

    Would neo-nazism be weaker today if photographs, film and texts describing the Holocaust had been supressed? If the guilty parties had not been named at the Nuremburg trials?

    Is China today benefitted by the continuing glorification of Mao, who killed tens of millions?

  14. mark l 2 Silver badge

    This virus sounds more like the viruses we used to have in the 80s and 90s that use to be passed around on floppy disks. Before the malware writers worked out they could make money from p0rning peoples computers rather than it being a political statement or to show off their skills.

  15. joeW Silver badge

    I commend The Register

    For once again judging that cretin's name to be unworthy of publication.

    1. Nick Kew Silver badge

      Re: I commend The Register

      You mean for grandstanding about not naming him? They published a story that reminds us all of the act, and tease us over the name.

      How did you read the "I won't name him" bit? For me, it just prompted me to think "what was his name"? A matter too unimportant to have entered my mind up to that point in the article.

      A "nameless one" can be a powerful trope. Are we building a mythology?

    2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    3. Adrian 4 Silver badge

      Re: I commend The Register

      I think more than one publications is doing this and it's a great trend. Long may it continue. Although his name was posted early on, the default now is 'the Christchurch killer', and I don't think I'd even associate the real name if it came up out of context.

      Which is fine, because why should I care what his real name is ? It's pretty unlikely that I know him. Is there any other reason to want to know it ?

      In contrast, I recognise the name 'anders brevit' or something similar. I recognise IRA names from the seventies. The Unabomber is something in between - unique, but not chosen by him afaicr.

  16. Nick Kew Silver badge

    For those who have read it ...

    Question for those who have read it. How does it compare to other manifestos of violence you may have encountered? For example, the Unabomber, whose manifesto was ISTR reported as the work of an intelligent and largely coherent man? Or historical works like the more violently tribal parts of the Bible?

    1. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: For those who have read it ...

      When this document first surfaced it was noticed that among the mashup of generic rants were passages that could have been lifted verbatim from a well known Republican lawmaker (although don't worry if he's not known in the UK -- you've probably got MPs that think like him, they're just not so stupid as to go on the record). So its not as if the ideas in this manifesto are so radical that the document must be suppressed to protect the innocent. We all need to understand how reasonable extremism can sound and to that end I suggest anyone with a bit of time on their hands should dip into Mein Kampf. Its quite persuasive (it does get a bit "Atlas Shrugged" in part 2 -- its a struggle to keep up so that bit's worth missing). An intelligent, well educated, person should be able to look pure evil straight in the eye -- and they should figure that anyone who wants to protect them from unsavory ideas probably has dubious motives of their own.

      ...and yes, typical Windows. If you have to use it its worth keeping a recovery stick "just in case".

    2. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: For those who have read it ...

      He was upset how "his people" meaning people who were superficially similar in appearance and culture to him were having their "homelands invaded" by people who look different and have different culture.

      And he is of European descended race living in Australia. !!!

  17. DropBear Silver badge

    No. "We" are not OK with this.

    1. Swarthy Silver badge

      Betteridge's Law of Headlines: "Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no."

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Two wrongs don't make a right, I don't agree with the death penalty either because you can make mistakes and it also justifies the original crime of murder.

  19. DontFeedTheTrolls Silver badge
    Childcatcher

    V for Vendetta

    Censorship is normally counter-productive. Where it is publicly announced you generate more curiosity than you prevent. Where the censorship is secret, well, who knows what you're not being allowed to see.

    If you haven't seen the film V for Vendetta go watch it now, especially if you're in the UK and suffering the Brexit shenanigans. A reminder of what might happen to a country when self-righteousness leaders end up in charge of governments when "we must do something" occurs.

  20. RobertLongshaft

    So terrified of words. BAN THEM! BAN ALL WORDS!

    They might radicalise our children.

    EVIL WORDS! BAN THEM ALL!

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    MBRs are not being used anymore

    Modern PCs boot using EFI which doesn't use MBRs anymore as the bootloader is loaded directly off the EFI partition which is a FAT32 partition with the signature 0xEF. And since GPT partition tables store a second copy of the GPT at the end of the disk, overwriting the first sector of the disk should not make the machine unbootable.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: MBRs are not being used anymore

      If the disk doesn't use an MBR anymore, then the partition type is also not 0xEF anymore, it's {c12a7328-f81f-11d2-ba4b-00a0c93ec93b}.

      Fortunately, also, the GPT starts from the *second* sector.

      That said... many computers still run in BIOS mode. Even the UEFI capable ones. (Sometimes the particular UEFI is too awful to use, sometimes it's set to BIOS compat mode out of the box, sometimes the PC is reinstalled with the wrong mode selected from boot menu, sometimes it's reinstalled from a BIOS-only USB stick, sometimes it's reinstalled in BIOS mode so that the Win7 cracks would work... Sometimes it's an older-gen server, which are severely lagging behind in UEFI support. Why would anyone run random shady .exe's on a server with admin rights? Good question.)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: MBRs are not being used anymore

      Unless you use 3rd party full disk encryption.

      1. dajames Silver badge

        Re: MBRs are not being used anymore

        Unless you use 3rd party full disk encryption.

        There are 3rd-party disk encryption products that work with UEFI.

    3. eionmac

      Re: MBRs are not being used anymore

      All 9 computers here are MBR OLD ones running on a Linux distro!

  22. muhfugen

    Is the author of this story retarded or just pretending to be, how about the "security" company which published this information too? Office hasnt allowed VBScript to run by default for well over a decade. Hell I cant even edit Excel docs which have been downloaded from the internet without clicking extra buttons.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Trueth

    Banning is a horrid idea. How will people know what behavior to watch out for to prevent others going as insane as he did?

    My gadz, everyone knows if you tell a child (weak minded/not fully developed) they can't have/see/watch something they will seek it out - BUT not have the parent there to put things in perspective, thus forming crazy opinions that can lead to badness (see most any episode of southpark).

    It's better to have public discussions on the problems the person has.

    Look at all the years of trying to mute drug problems, it only got dramatically worse. Now people are more interested in preventing and helping with recovery from addiction, than ignoring the problem - which made it worse.

    If society doesn't learn from these situations, they will reoccur until it does.

  24. Kiwi Silver badge

    Haven't yet read the article.

    Not happy with that one I'm afraid.

    Reporting them to the plod, and maybe adding a few "extras" to the content of the disk.......

    I'm even more unhappy with you guys (and others) reporting it, warning those who might be infected that there is something nasty doing that rounds with it.

    That said, I am not too happy with the manifesto being ruled as something illegal to posses here in NZ. The guy appears to deserve all sorts of nastiness directed his way, was a nutter etc, however this still is a "freedom of speech" issue. The video may be another matter, but not the lunatic rantingsmanifesto - if people want to read that let them. Just make sure they haven't eaten for a while and there's a large bucket nearby just in case.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yes, I am OK with it

    The Internet was built by people with belief in the goodness of humans. Something, we have since learned, that is not as abundant as once surmised. The anonymity of the Internet lets the worst of humanity loose. People behave in ways they would not behave if they were face to face with another. The Internet, sadly, enables vicious attack with no fear of reprisal.

    Hope you're all with me so far.

    Leaving aside my belief that being liberal minded and caring isn't doing anything to stem the rising tide of hate, there is this: trash some white supremacists MBR and it'll keep the f****r off the Internet for a while.

    And that is worthwhile.

    The thumbs down button is

    right below. Click away.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Yes, I am OK with it

      "The Internet was built by people with belief in the goodness of humans."

      No. The Internet was built by engineering students with an interest in studying networking, and that is all it was built for. It was never expected to make it further out of the lab than campus computer center A to campus computer center B (C, D, E, F, etc) via leased line. Human behavior didn't come into it ... if it had, we would have built in security, knowing full-well that humans will totally corrupt anything they come across in order to make a buck.

      1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

        Re: Yes, I am OK with it

        Well, duh.

        The internet was built by the military for resilience.

        The web was built by scientists for convenience.

        The infrastructure was built by porn sellers for profit.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Yes, I am OK with it

          "The internet was built by the military for resilience."

          No. It was built by grad students to research networking.

          "The web was built by scientists for convenience."

          No. It was built by undergrads to make viewing pr0n and cute cats easier. And to see if the coffee pot downstairs had coffee in it. Some suggest it was also to see if the coke machine had Dr. Pepper in it, but that is apocryphal ... the coffee pot existed. So did cats & pr0n.

          "The infrastructure was built by porn sellers for profit."

          The porn sellers never laid a single mile of fiber. The (modern) infrastructure was built by the National Science Foundation to link supercomputer centers together. Originally, it was mostly Switched56 lines leased from $TELCO (T-carrier and ISDN stuff came later).

      2. mildy bemused

        Re: Yes, I am OK with it

        I as studying computer science at Berkeley in the 70s and wrote router software in Silicon Valley in the 80s and I said "The Internet was built by people with belief in the goodness of humans." from personal experience.

        Whatever the reasons they did build it, doesn't change that.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Yes, I am OK with it

          Well, I don't know who you were talking to back then. The folks I was in contact with (I shuttled between Berkeley and Stanford after ken infected me with UNIX at Cal in the mid-'70s, and introduced me to the TCP folks at the Farm a little later) were a jaded old post-grad lot, with little to no faith in human nature at all.

          Yes, we did build it. But not for the reasons you believe, apparently.

  26. Muscleguy Silver badge

    <applause>

    Well done El Reg for noting PM Ardern's call not to name the terrorist. As a Kiwi even if exiled I thank you for it.

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