Let me say that I LOVE living in the age that I live in. Information flies free and fast, and it’s easier than ever to keep up with what’s going on. Take the Emerald Debacle, as I personally am calling it, or How To Blow The Best Thing You Had Going. For those of you who don’t follow the tweets and plurks and blogs and what not, I’ll do the best I can to clue you in as to what’s going on.
It started a few days ago when Modular Systems got caught with their pants down, launching what’s called a Denial of Service (DoS) attack: using the computers and bandwidth of us, the users, to flood the servers of a rival viewer’s site. Skepticism is natural, of course; I was myself very skeptical. After all it could be construed as a PR attack by LL insiders. But when I read on their very own blog what they admit to, my opinion swiftly changed. My information, my computer, my SL experience was used without my knowledge or consent; and so was yours, if you used Emerald at all recently.
At this point it had the sound of some rogue developer messing around. Many commenters stated their belief that mere “discipline” was not enough, that the dev should have been canned. Bear in mind that a DoS attack is illegal, and that the owner of a participating computer can themselves be implicated.
After the blog post, PIxleen Mistral from the Alphaville Herald set out to get some answers. Despite getting ejected repeatedly while trying to conduct her interview, Pixleen did post her findings. According to the folks at Modular Systems, it wasn’t a DoS attack because it wasn’t successful in crippling the website it was aimed at.
Jessica Lyon: There was no damage done. The website in question suffered no downtime or lag. Thus if someone wanted to do the same to our website providing it was done the same way, there would be no difference?
At this point, my own mind was made up. I uninstalled Emerald.
Then this morning, Prad Prathivi made a post at Metaversally Speaking, doing much of what I’m doing here, but with some new revelations. Especially telling was this leaked YouTube video, containing chatlog and voice, implicating Fractured Crystal (one of the chief developers at Modular Systems; not just some rogue dev left unchecked). (The time of the video appears to be shortly after Pixleen’s interview, and they’re discussing a response to Pathfinder’s comment to the “Shenanigans” blog post)
Emerald die-hard supporters, meanwhile, have been continuing to mock genuine concerns from disgruntled users by dismissing them as “drama”.
And then, Fractured himself comes clean, admitting to be behind the attack (or possibly falling on his own sword to protect the rest of the team). Surprisingly, several commenters claim total ignorance of what’s been going on at all. More surprisingly, many accept it was just a “mistake”, rather than a malicious attack in which users were made into unwitting pawns.
If you want my recommendation, I suggest you remove Emerald from your computer, and then go to SecondLife.com and change the passwords of any and all alts you’ve logged on with Emerald. For now I’m sticking with the pre-2.0 LL issue viewer.