To give up one dream…

Posted: July 13, 2012 in Uncategorized

…Is to realise another. Or the story of how I was hacked, found out about it, stopped it, and screwed them.

One might argue that a story of lax computer security would belong on my other blog, Rackingwoes. Normally, yes. But is it really paranoia when they are out to get you? I mean, I’ve heard of being screwed for a buck, had a debit card cancelled (leaving me without money over the Xmas/ NYE period a couple of years ago – I was sober for that one) and yes, had the infamous “Ghosts” hack another of my accounts by targeted brute forcing, but I lay low now. Or I hope I do.

I wished simply to purchase a Russian streamlined steam loco from a retailer in Russia. Myself, being content that “I’m on a Mac, I should be right, mate!” and ignoring the warnings from Google, had a look at this site. It loaded a Javascript trojan onto my computer, with a keylogger, and a connection for the “Botnet master” on Yes, I will name and shame that organisation. Shame on them for allowing a Botnet. Of course, being away from IRC for quite some time, I hadn’t encountered a Botnet in… years…

This trojan logged my passwords into my various accounts, you know, the various ones that depend on stuff like credit and debit cards, so on and so forth. Hell, I have most of my family members various cards in one of my accounts – and there is money in them – Tricky Business indeed! But I found out about it. How?

They sent me an email!

Yes, thats right, the idiots sent me an email. Now, if I were criminally minded, I’d be watching for logs – or someone checking their email just before bed. Which is what I was doing. Then I changed all my passwords to everything I could think of in a five minute span. Then I started getting rather paranoid. To no reason – blocked off in Little Snitch, killed JS on my browser, and consigned my plans to get this loco to the “round file.”

In fact, so peeved was I, that I bought two Russian steamers on eBay, a Brawa PT31 (2-8-2 or ruski 1-4-1, pine green and red, used, but with clean wheels – I suspect it may be a metal body), and a Liliput T12 (2-8-4, or ruski 1-4-2, black, new, even though an old model, made in Austria – again, I suspect it may be a metal body). Yes, this is me we’re talking about here – I don’t do steam. Or do I?

I guess I had an epiphany. I saw the true beauty behind steam locos – designed in an age when computer modelling and simulation didn’t exist, built with bare hands and a “can do” attitude. I mean, I’ve always loved steam, I just didn’t want to model it. Although looking on friends steamers, I thought wistfully, I wish that could be me.

Like HAGs, I never thought it’d happen. Now I have five HAGs.

I now have two Russian steamers. Yes, both are based on German locos, Wagner smoke deflectors (I do prefer Wittie deflectors, but beggers can’t be choosers), but these are fine, fine locos. Anything made in Austria, like the T12, or to a German design, like the PT31, has got to be good. And I have had a look at enough steam models in my time.

In line with this, I also downloaded a clip on Expo 1520. Yes, the usual new knockers on the block are there. But before the new diesels and electrics roll out, a long line up of steamers roll out, and my, they are beautiful! Admission: I like the “Yank” (the Baldwin) up at the ZZR. Damn shame about their paperwork. And I don’t have an opinion worth noticing, even as a concerned citizen who had it forced down his throat over several news items, because I’m not a member. Well, hooray to them – get someone else to do your paperwork! And never say I didn’t offer.

So I gave up a streamliner, in brass, with a good looking mech (was a bit sketchy about the motor, looked cheap-ish) to get two German produced Russian steamers. And thats the way it will be, for now.

If I look at getting the streamliner again, which may happen, I’ve devised a paranoid plan. Taking forward my blocks on, and my disabling of JS, I’ll order it, on a “dummy” Paypal account, with a “pre-paid” debit card. These can be gotten at the local post office, heck, I can go to the LPO and get one. Once thats used up, thats it. So if I’m hacked, I’m not using an account where other people may be affected, and if I don’t end up with item, I can go through the usual Paypal refund process.

If I end up doing this, and getting the model, so on and so forth, I’ll try to order a DR1 in brass – but thats a long, long way off.

In the meantime, I have two beautiful Russian steamers ready to be shipped! Wicked!

  1. Mark Newton says:

    Nice steamers. The Pt31 is a PKP engine, built by Fablok/Chrzanów, not a German loco.



  2. rackingwoes says:

    Hi Mark,

    Thanks for the reply! I had seen something about the PKP, but I wasn’t sure about it. Thank you for clarifying. As a matter of interest, the loco wasn’t called a Pt31 when it was under the behest of the PKP? If so, what was it called?

    By the way, I like those bogie photos in your photostream – what loco are they from?

  3. Mark Newton says:

    As far as I know, they were always classified Pt31 by the PKP, P indicating a passenger engine, t indicating a 2-8-2, and 31 being the year they were designed/first built. They were very impressive locos – I was fortunate to have a trip on one in the late 70s – they were very free steaming engines, particularly considering the poor coal they were burning.

    Those trucks are from some trams at the Sydney Tramway Museum at Loftus, I’m a volunteer member there doing mechanical and airbrake work. The Brill 27G truck is from one of our ballast motors, 42s, and the other is from one of our R1 class corridor cars. Both trams can be seen in this photo:


    All the best,


    • rackingwoes says:

      Hi Mark,

      Thanks for the info – I’ll Google it up in a little while, once dinner is done and dusted. Is there any working examples of Pt31s still in steam today? I know there is only one example of the Russian IS20 (“Iosef Stalin”) and its on a plinth in the Ukraine, so its not even in steam. Nor is it the streamlined one (#16) which held the Russian steam speed record.

      Wow, I’ve not driven a tram since I was six – hows that for unusual. But I’ve always loved trams, and I might have to arrange a trip to Loftus one day, check out the fine work you are all doing.

      • Mark Newton says:

        There are two surviving Pt31s that I know of. One is a static exhibit at the Chabowka Heritage Park, and the other was reportedly being restored in the depot at Jaworzyna Slaska. I read about that a while back, so I don’t know whether it’s running yet.

        If you decide to visit Loftus, let me know so I can be there to meet you and show you around.

        All the best,


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