Spam Filters reviewed at Freshmeat. A timely link.
The End of Email?
Dan Gillmor is pissed and rightfully so. For many people and companies, this was a lost week in terms of productivity. And he has some choice words for Microsoft.
No doubt, if another OS had 95 percent (or more) market share, there would be some of the same problems. Two points: First, Microsoft has flat-out refused to use its illegally gained profits sufficiently to stop this. Second, Windows is a monoculture. Ask any biologist about monocultures, and you'll be told of the extreme danger they represent. The U.S. government's willingness -- eagerness -- to help Microsoft keep and extend its monopoly is part of the danger.
The Myth of the Noble Hacker
Much as the small town ways where people could leave their doors unlocked at night and keep their car keys in their cars are not applicable in today’s big cities, the days of innocence on the Internet are over as well. However, as long as the media keeps portraying the computer criminal as the noble and romantic hacker (often against the evil government or monolithic software company). I fear the more of this behavior will occur with ultimately tragic consequences.
Wired reports that 19 of the 20 servers distributing a program to SoBig victims have been blocked.
Tracking it down
E-Mail Worm Sobig.F Began on Porn newsgroup. Aren't the worst viruses always hidden in porn?
Infected PCs await orders from hacker according to several reports.
Computer security experts scrambled Thursday to analyze SoBig so they could stop the hacker's designated server computer from giving new instructions to infected personal computers. The PCs are scheduled to rendezvous with the server today. Another contact is supposed to take place Sunday.
This doesn't make much sense to me. If they know the IP, assuming it's not bogus, they could definitely narrow down the location and ISP. From that point, it's not too difficult to determine who is using the address.
The world we live in
Slashdot has a good collection of worm/virus stories and their respective impacts. It's strange reading a blurb like this. People have long made predictions about worms, computer security et cetera, but seeing it outlined in such a way is surreal.
This thing is nasty.
Small firms and security
A disturbing report from the Register on small companies ignoring security. We work with a lot of small businesses and they tend to be all or nothing.
Despite large numbers of computer systems being struck down with deadly viruses over the past weeks, almost one-third of small firms do not think anti-virus or firewall protections is important to their business.
My mail servers are getting pounded by the new SoBig virus. I am getting several messages (100k in size) a minute. This is almost certainly clogging and crashing servers all over the world.
MSNBC article outlining the events of the massive blackout this weekend. A very interesting excerpt below:
In fact, federal investigators ruled terrorism out within the first 45 minutes—perhaps prematurely. True, there was no detectable physical intrusion; nor had terrorist hackers left the usual cyber footprints. But despite the initial reassuring signals to the public, during an emergency conference call with senior officials at 5:30 p.m., the CIA “put on the radar” the possibility that there might have been some terrorist tampering. Informants and interrogations of terror suspects have led the CIA to believe that Al Qaeda is seeking to target power grids to produce just the widespread chaos witnessed Thursday afternoon, a senior administration official told NEWSWEEK. Last year the FBI concluded that terrorists are eagerly surveying weaknesses in power grids through Internet connections in Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and Pakistan. Even if they had no role in this episode, many worry that the Blackout of 2003 provided them with a perfect case study.
There's not much public information, rightfully so, explaining how the power grid is networked. But you have to wonder how sophisticated, or successful, such probes really are? Utilities and air traffic control are usually the main targets in far fetched cyberterror scenarios, full of FUD. But given the chaos of this past weekend, it's a scary thought. Definitely something which needs to be thoroughly investigated.