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Article:
  Symbiot on the Rules of Engagement
Subject:   Symbiot and Sun Tzu
Date:   2004-04-01 18:17:50
From:   benapgar
Sun Tzu's 'quote' that Symbiot uses is one of many translations. Now, I know this 'Art of War' ridiculousness shouldn't even merit a response (it is just a computer program, and the internet is just a bunch of electricity), but I like Sun Tzu's work and take exception to their interpretation, and I like to debate in existential rhetoric.


The quote they use is:


VI - 3 "What causes opponents to come of their own accord is the prospect of gain. What discourages opponents from coming is the prospect of harm."


The quote (from my book) is:


VI - 3 "One able to make the enemy come of his own accord does so by offering him some advantage. And one able to prevent him from coming does so by hurting him."


Now, that's a little confusing I'll admit, but I think the word 'offer' and 'prevent' change the meaning. "Lure your opponents with gain". The cause is not the 'prospect of gain', but the enticement you create because you want the enemy to come. "Prevent attacks from occuring by hurting him." This is talking about before the fact, not after the fact. It is not at all about retaliation. Master Wang said "When a cat is at the rat hole, ten thousand rats dare not come out." It says nothing about the cat venturing into the rat hole to retaliate, it is speaking of holding strategic points on the avenue of enemy attack, it is NOT about striking the enemy.


Here are some other quotes they should have used:


VI - 2 "...those skilled in war bring the enemy to the field of battle and are not brought there by him."


Hmmmm... Symbiot is being brought onto the battle field by hackers, doesn't sound too good...


VI - 8 "...against those skilled in attack, an enemy does not know where to defend; against the experts in defence, the enemy does not know where to attack."


Then Symbiot is obviously not an expert in defence, since the enemy still knows exactly what to attack (the DDOS will still go on until Symbiot 'retaliates'!), nor an expert in attack because the enemy knows exactly what Symbiot is doing, and what to defend.


And last but not least, what I interpret as the argument for firewalls:


VI - 12 "When I wish to avoid battle I may defend myself simply by drawing a line on the ground; the enemy will be unable to attack me because I divert him from going where he wishes."


Symbiot is not avoiding battle, they are purposefully engaging in battle on enemy territory. Following Sun Tzu's advice, diverting the enemy avoids battle. Therefore, Symbiot wants battle. They want it because it makes them money.


Alright, one more:


VI - 1 "Generally, he who occupies the field of battle first and awaits his enemy is at ease; he who comes later to the scene and rushes into the fight is weary."


I think we know who occupies the field of battle first. Hackers.


Most hackers, in fact, are excited about 'server to server wars' as they call them. This is their game, and Symbiot is giving them a new way to play, a new weapon, and most importantly, an opponent. You can't fight a battle without an opponent.


Symbiot is swatting flies with a sledgehammer here, when a good quality screen would suffice, and in most cases, does. The fact is, THERE IS NO BATTLE, and Symbiot wants to create one for your entertainment and their money. This is like starting a war for money.


Sometimes there is ignorance so amazingly and glaringly bright that people mistake it for intelligence.


If this doesn't enamour you less of their approach, consider the legality of launching a DDOS. If you use Symbiot, YOU ARE A HACKER.


Get rid of the existential rhetoric, and consider what Symbiot actually is--a denial of service attack launcher. Illegal in many states.


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