A 32-year-old man who died after downing dozens of roaches and worms last month to win a python at a Florida reptile store choked to death, medical officials said Monday.
Edward Archbold died “as a result of asphyxia due to choking and aspiration of gastric contents,” said the Broward County Medical Examiner’s Office. It said his airway was obstructed by bug body parts, and ruled his death was an accident.
Archbold was among 20 to 30 contestants participating in the “Midnight Madness” event at Ben Siegel Reptiles in Deerfield Beach.
The participant who consumed the most insects and worms would take home an $850 python.
Archbold swallowed roach after roach, worm after worm. While the store didn’t say exactly how many Archbold consumed, the owner told CNN affiliate WPLG that he was “the life of the party.”
From his first months in office, President Obama secretly ordered increasingly sophisticated attacks on the computer systems that run Iran’s main nuclear enrichment facilities, significantly expanding America’s first sustained use of cyberweapons, according to participants in the program.
Mr. Obama decided to accelerate the attacks — begun in the Bush administration and code-named Olympic Games — even after an element of the program accidentally became public in the summer of 2010 because of a programming error that allowed it to escape Iran’s Natanz plant and sent it around the world on the Internet. Computer security experts who began studying the worm, which had been developed by the United States and Israel, gave it a name: Stuxnet.
At a tense meeting in the White House Situation Room within days of the worm’s “escape,” Mr. Obama, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and the director of the Central Intelligence Agency at the time, Leon E. Panetta, considered whether America’s most ambitious attempt to slow the progress of Iran’s nuclear efforts had been fatally compromised.
“Should we shut this thing down?” Mr. Obama asked, according to members of the president’s national security team who were in the room.
The first known virus ever to infect a personal computer was named “Brain.A.” It was developed (dare we say invented?) by two Pakistani brothers Basit and Amjad Alvi. We know this because, amusingly, they signed their work and included contact information in the code of the virus. Brain.A was first detected in January 1986, just over 25 years ago. In its initial form, the virus did no significant harm. It renamed a volume label (in effect a file name) to “Brain” and could freeze a computer. Basit and Amjad say they meant no harm from their creation. How the world has changed! In just a single generation, we have gone from viruses being a novelty, to them being very real threats to cyberspace.
The first notable damaging “attack” on the web occurred by accident, though it was a purposeful accident, if that makes any sense. In late 1988, a Cornell graduate student, Robert Tappan Morris, released a worm intended to demonstrate flaws in the security protocols of the early internet. A worm, as its name implies, burrows through legitimate programs and hides in the dirt of computer code, so to speak. This worm was designed to enter through a security gap, replicate itself, and then move onward to infect more computers. Because of a design flaw in the worm, it spread like wildfire and caused significant damage, effectively clogging the entire internet and preventing information from being transmitted (the internet was much smaller back then). In fact, when Morris realized that he had made a mistake, he tried to send out messages to other internet users telling them how to kill the worm—but his own messages of warning were blocked by the congestion his worm had caused.
Today, the Morris worm would be a mere pinprick. The cyber domain has not yet reached the state where interconnectedness is so great that a Die Hard IV scenario is plausible (for those who have not seen the movie, it imagines a mad cyber scientist who takes down all of the electric and transportation networks of the United States, only to be beat up by Bruce Willis). But the vulnerabilities to both intrusion and attack are real. Criminal theft and espionage occur at the billion dollar-per-terabyte level. And “cyber hacktivists” have waged proxy wars on behalf of Russia against Estonia and Georgia. All educated internet users need to understand what the nature of the threat is and the distinction between intrusions and attacks.
The first notable cyberattack occurred by accident.
In real economic terms, cyber crime is the dominant threat in cyberspace. Everyone by now is familiar with the prevalence of simple Nigerian scams—nobody should fall for them anymore, or so one would hope. But that, unfortunately, is not the case - they are still quite successful. The costs to the scammer of making the effort are so miniscule (pennies for millions of spam sent) that even a tiny success rate makes the scam worthwhile. When the cost-benefit ratio is so skewed by technology in favor of the fraudsters, it is no wonder that fraud continues.