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BlueSecurity Fall-Out Reveals Larger Problem 366

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the continuing-sagas dept.
mdrebelx writes "For anyone following the BlueSecurity story, sadly the anti-spam crusader has raised the white flag. Brian Krebs with the Washington Post is reporting that after BlueSecurity's announcement, Prolexic and UltraDNS, which were both linked with BlueSecurity through business relations came under a DNS amplification attack that brought down thousands of sites. While much of the focus about the BlueSecurity story has been centered on the question of what can be done about spam, I think a bigger question has been raised - is the Internet really that fragile? What has been going on is essentially cyber-terrorism and from what has been reported so far the terrorist clearly have the upper hand."
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BlueSecurity Fall-Out Reveals Larger Problem

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  • by yagu (721525) * <yayagu@@@gmail...com> on Thursday May 18, 2006 @06:16PM (#15361765) Journal

    There have been other outages, major, which have had significant impact. It's a good question: is the internet that fragile?

    In many ways it probably is. At the same time, the infrastructure seems resilient enough. The world so far hasn't laced up life-and-death critical systems to the internet such that a failure could cause loss of life. Well, that is, if you don't include:

    Oh, wait, I guess people have started doing that.

    What mechanisms exist for more than resiliency, i.e., instant self-healing? Could terrorists with a little knowledge and a few well-placed EMP generators disable major segments of the internet?

    Unlike phones and the phone networks which were built with lots of oversight and regulation (Universal Service was a big driver for this (aside: now that everything is profit driven, don't expect phone service at that farm house at the end of that long country road anymore... noone HAS to provide it)), I'm not aware of what safeguards back up the internet. In my entire lifetime, I've not one time experienced a phone outage, not once! Power outages, etc., the phone companies have backups to backups to ensure service (though there is the occasional and hard to manage for ditch digging incident).

    While large pieces of the internet are built upon the phone companies' infrastructure, other pieces aren't, and there are significant additional layers of complexity not in the phone companies' purview (switches, routers, coax cable from cable companies).

    That question, "is the internet that fragile?", is probably the biggest reason I've never opted to switch my phone service to VOIP yet. I'd hate to be the one (tiny chance, I know) who needs to make that one 911 call and not be able to do so because the internet is unavailable (which happens occasionally here, which is also too often).

  • motivation (Score:2, Insightful)

    by OffTheLip (636691) on Thursday May 18, 2006 @06:20PM (#15361790)
    As much as Slashdot and other white hat leaning movements fight the good fight the motivation of the 'ememy', perceived as terrorists, spammers, greedy bastards or script kiddies test driving internet mayhem will continue to have the upper hand. The wild west metaphor often describing the lawlessness of the internet is real. As much as we hate the NSA and other invasive orginizations they impose structure and laws. Chaos is the alternative.
  • Of Course (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Shadow Wrought (586631) * <shadow.wroughtNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday May 18, 2006 @06:22PM (#15361804) Homepage Journal
    It is far easier to tear something down than it is to build something up. Regardless of the Internet, that's just the way things work.
  • by muhgcee (188154) * <stu@fourmajor.com> on Thursday May 18, 2006 @06:23PM (#15361811) Homepage
    I don't think this quite falls into terrorism:
    The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons. (http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=terroris m [reference.com])

  • weakest link (Score:5, Insightful)

    by brenddie (897982) on Thursday May 18, 2006 @06:24PM (#15361820)
    well the internet is as strong as the weakest link, and guess what OS that link is..
    None of those attacks (DOS) could have been done without the use of thousands of zombie machines.
    I guess the only way of stoping the attakers is by taking their weapons (zombies) from them and thats left as an excersise for the survivors.
  • Doesn't being a terrorist imply terrorizing people?

    The only kind of people a terrorist would terrorize by taking down the internet temporarily are people on slashdot.

    Terrorists are interested in killing people to get their message across, not inconveniencing them.

  • by Joe U (443617) on Thursday May 18, 2006 @06:29PM (#15361842) Homepage Journal
    It's a little strong, but it does fall into the definition.

    The use of force (taking down servers) by a group (spammers) against people/property (blue & others) with the intention of intimidating socieities (blues users) for ideological (financial too) reasons.
  • To get in front.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CashCarSTAR (548853) on Thursday May 18, 2006 @06:30PM (#15361847)
    Of all the common comments...

    #1. Don't blame Windows. Most botnets spread through software downloaded installs. 99.999% of computer installs today are vulnurable. The exception, of course, is the LiveCD type OS run directly from a CD in a read-only format. Your choice of OS is no protection. If you run malicious software, your computer is a zombie. Period.

    #2. The problem is E-mail. Don't want spam? Don't use e-mail. That seems harsh, but it's true. E-mail is an open protocol, and as such, is ripe for such abuses. It's about time to come up with a new type of server based messaging. I'm not saying let the spammers win. What I'm saying is remove their audience.
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Thursday May 18, 2006 @06:30PM (#15361852)
    It's the direct link to more governmental control over something under the premise that it "has to be" so the "terrorists" can be stopped.

    While I do agree that this definitly shows the threat spammers really pose to the internet, I fear at least as much handing government the card blanche to monitoring all and any internet traffic for the sake of "saving us from spam".

    No, I'm aware that this won't help a single bit in an attempt to quench spam. But did any anti-terror activity actually work against the alleged threat?

    So bring this problem to the attention of your senators, your governors, your congressmen or whoever has some power in your country. This is a very, very serious problem, the criminals are getting the upper hand in this turf, and the internet is a resource I don't want to see depending on the goodwill of the spam mafia.

    But for all that we hold dear, avoid the word terrorism. Legislators have been using that word before as the excuse for every kind of restrictive laws that did JACK to solve the problem and only created more. Try to find a word that makes them actually realize the problem and realize that this problem is serious. Not only to the worthless humans using it, but also to precious commerce.
  • by Todd Knarr (15451) on Thursday May 18, 2006 @06:32PM (#15361860) Homepage

    No, the Internet isn't that fragile. It's suprisingly robust, in fact. About the only thing that can really do any significant damage is sheer volume, enough traffic from enough distinct sources to overwhelm the target server or swamp it's network connections. No matter what, anything is always going to be vulnerable to that. You can only have finite bandwidth and server horsepower, and if an opponent's willing and able to throw enough resources at you he can simply overwhelm you. It's often referred to as "the Slashdot effect".

    The only thing that's happened is that, because of the inherent insecurity of Windows machines and the increasing number of them with broadband connections, the bad guys now have access to orders of magnitude more bandwidth and horsepower than any single server can have. In military terms it's like facing an enemy who outnumbers you by ten thousand to one. Distributing your DNS won't help, redundant pipes won't help, distributing your servers won't help, if you can deal with 99% of his assault he's still got a hundred times what you can absorb left.

    The only thing that can help is cutting off the supply of ownable machines the bad guys can take over and use in their attacks. If they're limited to their own machines they can't do much harm.

  • Meh ... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Sonic McTails (700139) on Thursday May 18, 2006 @06:39PM (#15361909)
    You know, BlueSecurity was working. Had they survived, it might have shutdown the spammers. This is going to become a massive bubble issue. Someone just needs to pick up the torch BlueSecurity dropped, and be willing to fight the fight.
  • by PatTheGreat (956344) on Thursday May 18, 2006 @06:39PM (#15361910) Homepage
    Isn't the whole point of the internet that if one node goes down, you can still communicate through other nodes? Isn't that what made the internet useful?
  • by AuMatar (183847) on Thursday May 18, 2006 @06:47PM (#15361953)
    To do #2, you lose one or more of the things that makes email valuable

    1)Its free- you only pay for bandwidth

    2)Its universal, anyone can get an account

    3)Its open, no company can block a user from email

    4)Its possible to send email to anyone, even someone you don't know, if you have their email address.

    All of these are extremely important and make email the useful tool it is today. Take any away, and the usefulness plummets. Spam is annoying, but the benefits of the four above points far outweigh it.
  • by Musteval (817324) on Thursday May 18, 2006 @06:48PM (#15361956)
    With regard to #1, Windows is partially at fault, for two reasons:

    1) The incredibly nondiverse OS environment environment at the moment means that only Windows executables are distributed, by and large, and affect something like 95% of computers. If the OS market were split evenly between, let's say, OSX, Linux, Windows, and, um, BeOS, any given executable would only run on one platform, so people would be vulnerable to only 1/4 as many attacks (assuming that 1/4 of attacks are targeted at Windows, 1/4 at OSX, etc). The lack of diversity is Microsoft's fault to a degree - although they aren't to blame for being dominant per se, their unethical techniques with regard to OEMs and leveraging their monopoly to make it as hard as possible to switch away from Windows (not to mention the whole stabbing-IBM-in-the-back thing) have contributed greatly to the current state of affairs.

    2) Windows' security, as of right now, works under the "the user wouldn't run anything they didn't want ot have full admin privileges" model, as opposed to the far more secure "make sure the user wants to install a rootkit and delete all their files" model that other OSes do. Under Vista, it seems that it will be replaced by a "pester them with popups often enough that they are ignored and it ends up the same as doing anything the executable wants" model.
  • Terrurizem (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mikiN (75494) on Thursday May 18, 2006 @06:51PM (#15361976)
    Fanatics flying airplanes into buildings killing thousands : Terrorists.

    Haxors commanding botnets to DDOS servers : Cyber-terrorists.

    Big corporations doing aggressive take-overs : Corporate terrorists.

    Mass producers dumping products below cost overseas : Market terrorists.

    Politicians sketching doom scenarios during campaigns to woo scared voters over to their party : Political (party) terrorists.

    C'mon cut it out will ya, soon they will brand humans multiplying without limits sucking up resources and scaring other animals away and out of existence : Biosphere terrorists?

    You know, according to some theory, black holes will eventually suck up most of the available matter in the universe, leaving it a dark cold desolate place with only some Hawking radiation to warm your soul. Should we call those : Universal Terrorists then?
  • by vux984 (928602) on Thursday May 18, 2006 @06:56PM (#15362005)
    It's a specific group against another specific group to intimidate the first group into not doing something they believe in.

    Gotcha - of course by that definition:

    al quaeda = terrorists
    pro-life protestors = terrorists
    school bullies = terrorists
    NSA = terrorists
    George W. Bush = terrorist
    FBI = terrorists
    PETA = terrorists
    Greenpeace = terrorists
    Patent trolls = terrorists
    China = terrorists
    Microsoft = terrorists
    UN = terrorists
    MPAA/RIAA = terrorists

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 18, 2006 @07:01PM (#15362034)
    I dunno, it would probably be faster, cheaper, and ultimately more satisfying if we could just assassinate spamming assholes like PharmaMaster/Eran Reshef.

    According to the Wired article you linked, Eran Reshef is Blue Security's CEO. I guess you could argue he was spamming PharmaMaster. ;-)
  • by Mattness (636060) on Thursday May 18, 2006 @07:05PM (#15362055) Homepage
    The internet is so not fragile it isn't even funny. Can people make it hickup and sneeze along minor portions of it? Yes. Is it fragile? Hell no! It's been running for 20 years across the globe. It has been hammered by viruses, trojans, organized DDOS attacks and world-wide calamities and their corresponding data-storms and still the internet as a whole has functioned. It may simply be that the internet is not enough of a singular entity to be susceptible to a singular vulnerability. Computers are fragile, software can be fragile, but the aggregation of those two into an organism made up of millions perhaps even billions of machines is not fragile. The DDOS attack on Blue Security, when compared to the totality of the internet is practically meaningless. The only thing that might make the entirety of the internet fragile would be a universal vulnerability which has no workaround and cripples the main traffic routes of the internet itself. Maybe this will happen, but I think even then, the internet will continue to function but perhaps just along it's backroads and private secure networks.
  • by Sinus0idal (546109) on Thursday May 18, 2006 @07:12PM (#15362090)
    Yup and with BGP routes would swap over eventually if a link was broken. Unfortunately though, we rely too much on DNS which is a fairly fragile infrastructure to say the least.
  • Re:motivation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Thursday May 18, 2006 @07:13PM (#15362099)
    As much as we hate the NSA and other invasive orginizations they impose structure and laws. Chaos is the alternative.

    I don't know where you got the idea that NSA's activities have done anything to "impose structure and law" on the Internet.

    If anything, the NSA has been actively participating in the chaos by going ahead and doing their own thing with no regard to the law.
  • Phone outages (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mangu (126918) on Thursday May 18, 2006 @07:22PM (#15362138)
    In my entire lifetime, I've not one time experienced a phone outage, not once!


    You are lucky! I've had several phone outages. I had a few outages caused by water in the cable ducts in my street after heavy rains. I had one in the old days (~25 years ago) of analog hardware that took them several days to fix. I've had an outage caused by a truck hitting a utility pole, in a neighborhood where the cables were overhead.


    Although telephone stations are more robust than the internet, because they are very specialized and have lots of redundancy, the last mile is susceptibel to outages. Of course, internet connections use the same last mile, so they are also vulnerable. I agree, the phone service is more reliable than the internet, but this does not mean it cannot fail.

  • by MightyYar (622222) on Thursday May 18, 2006 @07:24PM (#15362148)
    Whether or not it could fall into that definition, there is a better word to use: extortion. This is just an electronic version of what the mafia does. Most people don't watch "The Godfather" and think, "Terrorists!".
  • by Vancorps (746090) on Thursday May 18, 2006 @07:35PM (#15362195)
    The answer is Yes [zdnet.com] Linux machines are often turned into zombies.

    As the parent poster stated "if you run malicious software, then your computer is a zombie." I won't hazard to state the proportions but last I checked the number of Apache servers hacked in a given year outnumber IIS hacks. Of course there are far more Apache servers out there so that's really not saying that much.

    As for email, I don't think it is near as broken as people seem to think. It's amazing how people just want to throw the whole thing out when something as simple as DKIM and SPF can stop it all pretty much cold. Of course both are depending on DNS so that will need to be secured before the email issue can be put to rest. A further move towards secure updates needs to be pushed for DNS and amplifications attacks need to be stopped. It seems as though we need a DNS server registration process much like that of domain names with the exception that you actually do need to verify your identity before your server it declared a valid DNS server. That seems a lot more likely than replacing DNS with something completely new.
  • by vanyel (28049) * on Thursday May 18, 2006 @07:37PM (#15362202) Journal
    American Idol was a DDOS attack on the phone system in the early days. It's not limited to the Internet, it's just easier to implement attacks there. Even so, it's conceivable that someone could create a virus that would cause pc's to dial phone numbers somewhere to disrupt the phone system, and could have even been done back in the haydays of bbses. In fact in a minor local incident, I once had the sheriff show up at my door once many years ago when I misconfigured a uucp connection to dial a lawyer's home phone before the other end was ready for testing (thus masking the fact of the wrong phone number). I corrected it while he watched and that was the last I heard of it fortunately ;-)
  • by MrNougat (927651) <ckratsch@@@gmail...com> on Thursday May 18, 2006 @07:43PM (#15362218)
    What is fragile are the tens of thousands of pwn3d Windows PC's that are being used without their owners' knowledge to perpetrate these massive DDOS attacks. If I were a lawyer for Blue Security, Yahoo, or anyone else who has been hit recently, I would be seriously looking in to the merits of a lawsuit against MS for gross negligence or something similar.

    You're right on the first part, wrong on the second.

    It's true that if there weren't zombie machines out there to take part in botnets, that DDoSing would be much less of an issue, if one at all.

    However, suggesting that Microsoft could be legally liable is right out. Just because I leave all of my car doors open and the keys in the ignition doesn't mean someone has the right to steal my car. I may be stupid, yes, but I am not legally liable for the crime, and I'd be able to make the insurance claim, too (unless there's a clause in my policy that says I need to adhere to certain standards of vigilance in order to qualify for reimbursement).

    Suggesting that Microsoft is at fault for the botnets is the same as suggesting that BlueSecurity is at fault for the 'collateral damage' outages.

    The people responsible for the mayhem - at least in a legal sense - are those who have perpetrated it.

    (Oh yeah, IANAL, but I watch Cops on TV all the time. Cops set out 'bait' to catch thieves all the time. Expensive mountain bike unguarded and unlocked; someone walks off with it, cops swoop in and make the arrest. Same concept here.)
  • Re:weakest link (Score:4, Insightful)

    by saleenS281 (859657) on Thursday May 18, 2006 @08:03PM (#15362321) Homepage
    that would be your favorite flavor of *nix then. The attack was carried out by misconfigured BIND servers. Last time I checked, BIND isn't the primary nameserver used by Windows, which is what I assume you were insinuating. These weren't windows zombies, this was drdos via *nix machines. Back to the drawing board on that one my good man.
  • by Fatchap (752787) on Thursday May 18, 2006 @08:07PM (#15362342)
    If you did that nobody would be able to email from home unless they passed. As having a system turned into a bot could happen anytime this would have to be an ongoing process. I can't see how that would work in reality
  • by karlto (883425) on Thursday May 18, 2006 @08:13PM (#15362366) Homepage
    Who would they peddle their viagra to if there was no-one else on the Internet?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 18, 2006 @08:29PM (#15362446)
    Restrict 25 to their own mail servers. Require SMTP_AUTH. And tag all outgoing email with the real email address (sender field) based on SMTP AUTH.

    That way if a home user is compromised, there's no guesswork to track them down.
  • by nomad63 (686331) on Thursday May 18, 2006 @09:41PM (#15362748)
    The #%^^@$! spammer jerk has thousands of computers in his bot network and leashed them on BlueSecurity. So far so good. These zombies are mostly on broadband connections, served by a cable or DSL provider.

    Isn't it in the TOS of the ISPs to require the end user to keep his/her computer safe from viruses and malware, crippling the provider's network ? If so, why the ISPs shut those zombie machines' network connectivity down ? Yeah, there will be few bystanders who may get nabbed but most of these bystanders will be the geeks who are pushing their broadband connections to the limit and they will contact the ISP and get their connections re-instated. The clueless users, whoch have been own3d by the hacker will have to find someone to clean up their pc's caoghing up some dough which will make them a little more carefull about listening to people when they were told not to open attachments to see the cute dog pictures or accept free product offers from inscrupulous websites.

    If you do not hold the ignorant users' feet to the fire, this zombie issue will not come to an end. Yes, we al know that, Redmond's finest operating system is no more than a joke when it comes to security, but if one is buying this crap, they should be ready to keep it safe and secure or find some other platform, let it be mac or linux or what have you.

    I for one, am sick and tired of seeing the spammers to go unnoticed while the solution, regardless how brutal it is to the end user, goes unnoticed. Enough is enough !
  • by DavidTC (10147) <slas45dxsvadiv.vadiv@neverb o x . com> on Thursday May 18, 2006 @09:50PM (#15362808) Homepage
    It's only extortion if they demand money to stop, or not start it.

    Terrorism, however, is when you commit apparently random illegal acts against 'supporters' of something, in hopes they will influence it to stop. The key is that you cannot possibly harm everyone, or even enough people to change anything...instead, you are hoping they will become so afraid of you in that they will demand the changes you request are made, or at the very least stop supporting the entities you dislike.

    Attacking a single antispammer can't and won't do anything. However, it will make people hesitant to support them, it will make hosting companies hestitant to host them, and it has the undertones 'And maybe if you oppose us, we'll come after you next'.

    This is the defination of terrorism. This is the lynching of one black man who voted, this is the beating of one man who didn't pay off his bookie, this is trashing one store that refused to pay protection money, this is the blowing up of one building, this is the sniper picking off one collaberator. The act alone is almost completely negligable, but the intent is to scare people into not doing or supporting what that entity did. Terrorism.

  • by DavidTC (10147) <slas45dxsvadiv.vadiv@neverb o x . com> on Thursday May 18, 2006 @09:54PM (#15362839) Homepage
    Actually, government are terrorists when they 'make an example' out of a criminal. That's kinda the whole point.

    Terrorism's gotten a rather bad rap these days. It's just a tactic. It's used 'legitimately' against occupying armies, for example.(1) Don't try to wipe them out...just scare people into not supporting them by killing a few people who do. And don't go after the soldiers...go after the policy makers and leaders. They can always get more soldiers, but if you kill every single person who occupies a certain position, soon no one will want to do that.

    1) Depending, of course, on whether or not you think the occupying is legitimate or not.

  • Re:motivation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ScrewMaster (602015) on Thursday May 18, 2006 @09:55PM (#15362841)
    You're wrong. Lawmakers impose laws, not government agencies, and when they're doing their job properly they pass laws that keep dangerous organizations like the NSA in check. They've been rather lax in their duties lately ... certainly Congress has largely fallen down on the job. The problem is that too much of our current government has been infected by the disease of unaccountability. They do whatever the Hell they please in the name of "homeland security" or "antiterrorism", and there's nobody left to tell them to stop.

    I would further submit that America was far less chaotic in the good old days when big government wasn't so big, wasn't so invasive and tended to leave its citizens alone. It isn't necessary to have a government that restricts and monitors its citizens to the degree that ours is doing for the purpose of achieving a stable society. In fact, the imposition of excessive control, coupled with erratic enforcement, creates instability! This is variously called "political unrest" or "social protest" or, when carried to the logical extreme, "rebellion". Furthermore, it is the kind of thing Americans do when they're pushed too far. At least, I hope it's still the kind of thing we do. It's about the only hope we have left. The way things are in D.C. nowadays, it's pretty obvious that while the lights are still on there's nobody home.

    The Wild West aspect of the Internet, which seems to disturb you to some degree, is precisely what makes the Internet the greatest advance since the invention of fire, the wheel and air conditioning! The economic, scientific and cultural benefits of the Internet, as it is today, far far outweigh the dark side. Reducing the Internet experienced by ordinary people to a bland, "civilized" mix of email and heavily-filtered browsing would take away the power, freedom and utility so many people have come to expect and enjoy. It would also largely eliminate innovation and the development of new technologies, as no-one would be allowed to do anything not approved by the powers-that-be. Huh ... I think I just described AOL.
  • by jd (1658) <imipak@nOSPam.yahoo.com> on Friday May 19, 2006 @12:16AM (#15363441) Homepage Journal
    With the move away from US Government-funded infrastructure towards a purely profit-making attitude, virtually any redundancy in the Internet has been eroded at best, eliminated at worst. Redundancy costs hard cash and earns nothing extra. The days of the backbone being able to survive a full-scale nuclear attack are over. These kinds of attacks will persist - and worsen - because an individual is quite capable of summoning a cyber-army of zombies that can easily take out any one of a number of single points of failure.


    The backbone providers are unlikely to care that much - it impacts a little business, but most make money off their inter-corporate and inter-Governmental lines. The more the Internet degrades, the more high-priced services the major vendors can sell and the more copper/fiber the telecos can charge for. I don't see much of a motive to fix things here.


    The vendors further up the chain don't need to care much, either. The companies on the Internet can't gain by switching ISP, because it's the backbone that's broken and they'll have to go through it to reach the peasents - err, home users anyway. The corporations that sell over the Internet don't lose any sales, as a person who is going to buy from an online store is likely to be doing other stuff and won't go out to the stores, so they'll be back. Home users, for the most part, are ignorant enough to think AOL and MSN are really neat ideas, have no clue what the Internet involves, what needs fixing or why, and is likely to pass it off as someone else's problem anyway. And those who ARE smart enough are Libertarian enough that they won't Unionize and DEMAND the fixes that damn well should be made.


    (IT users and IT professionals should stop with the "unions are evil" crap - no organization is any more evil than the people in it - and collectively insist that the defects be fixed. No ifs, no buts, no maybes, no excuses, no delays - these kinds of attacks SHOULD be impossible and COULD - very cheaply - be made impossible. But nobody is going to even take the cheap option without a fight, if there's an even cheaper option of apathy open to them.)

  • by Eivind (15695) <eivindorama@gmail.com> on Friday May 19, 2006 @01:52AM (#15363721) Homepage
    according to the Dept. of Defense terroism is "the unlawful use of -- or threatened use of -- force or violence against individuals or property to coerce or intimidate governments or societies, often to achieve political, religious, or ideological objectives."

    But that "definition" is useless. If you use that then pretty much all violent crime is "terrorism". If I threaten to hit you on the nose unless you hand over your wallet, I'm clearly trying to coerce you by threathening use of unlawful force.

    That's not congruent with the common use of the word. That definition of "terrorism" migth be convenient to the dept of defence, because it means that they can label pretty much anyone who oppose them a "terrorist".

    I would argue that a necesary condition for labeling something terrorism, is that the action is intended to and suitable for inducing terror in groups of people. Dumping plutonium in the water-supply qualifies. Crashing a jet into a skyscraper qualifies. Smuggling a nuke into the superbowl qualifies.

    Threathening to hit you on the nose, however, does qualify as a mugging. But not as terrorism.

  • by giafly (926567) on Friday May 19, 2006 @04:49AM (#15364186)
    Not everyone has a static IP. Some (most?) of these "additional 30,000 never before seen IPs every day" could be the same PCs every time, which reduces the total.
  • by MikeB0Lton (962403) on Friday May 19, 2006 @07:42AM (#15364668)
    Do we need safer cars, or safer drivers? I'm convinced that if the crappy drivers get off the road, we wouldn't need safer cars to protect us!
  • Unfortunately though, we rely too much on DNS which is a fairly fragile infrastructure to say the least.

    DNS is only fragile if the people running the authoratative servers are lacking in the clue department.

    There are a lot of root nameservers and many of them are anycast addresses (so there are actually a lot more than there appear to be at first glance) - so the root nameservers are pretty robust, you'd struggle to take all of them out.

    So then we come down to the TLD nameservers (e.g. the ones authoratative for .com, .co.uk, .org, etc.) - if the organisations responsible for running these put plenty of servers at a reasonable number of geographic locations then they are pretty safe.

    The bigger problem is the people running the nameservers for the individual domains - too many people only have the mandatory minimum number of nameservers (2), and in many cases both of these servers are connected to the same piece of ethernet cable so it's not a great stretch of the imagination to imagine them both becoming unreachable. This problem is solvable - simply put in more, geographically spaced name servers. DNS was designed to allow this. Of course it costs a bit more money, but resilliance always does.
  • Re:motivation (Score:3, Insightful)

    by IAmTheDave (746256) <basenamedave-sd.yahoo@com> on Friday May 19, 2006 @08:58AM (#15365134) Homepage Journal
    The wild west metaphor often describing the lawlessness of the internet is real.

    Not entirely. Back in the "lawlessness of the wild west" anyone caught doing anything like this would be strung up by the neck. Now when someone tries to do something about these sorts of attacks (like Lyco's screensaver) there is an uproar about stooping to the same low and "maybe" breaking some laws while doing so.

    If years and years and years of war have taught us nothing, it is that nothing is free and fire must be fought with fire. Unless we go after those attacking us with the same tactics, we're powerless against them and BlueSecurity like closings will continue as cyber-terrorism continues unabated.

    The fact that these guys won this battle will only embolden them to continue along the same path, and we all suffer.

    It's anagolous to if we had sat on our hands and not declared war on Japan after Pearl Harbor. Stop bowing down and declare war already. They have, why won't we?

  • by Rohan427 (521859) on Friday May 19, 2006 @10:40AM (#15365889)
    IMEO, there is a way to fix or at least mitigate the problem. Make ISPs more responsible. The ISPs control the connections of every computer on the Internet. The technology is available (many of us have it on our own PCs and routers in the UNIX world) to block things such as e-mail with spoofed headers, port scans, repeated attempts by crackers to break into our systems, etc. The ISPs can head off most of the attacks virtually at the source. In the overall scheme of things, is trivial to disable the account of an offender. In the case of someone with a compromised system, the ISP can disable their account until they secure their system (I've had ISPs do this to people that have cause me problems on my networks). When people start losing their accounts due to their irresponsible attitude or naivete toward computer and network security, they will quickly become more responsible and knowledgeable.

    If someone abuses the telephone service, it's not real difficult to have the phone company take action (and depending upon the abuse, have the offender arrested). ISPs must be forced to take the same responsibility.

    The only way to stem the tide of cyber-terrorism (or whatever you'd like to call it), is to make ISPs take the responsibility to mitigate it.

    PGA
  • by SaberTaylor (150915) on Friday May 19, 2006 @08:49PM (#15370239) Homepage Journal
    I don't see 'egress' on this page, so I'll just throw the usual advice out there. ISPs should filter traffic coming out of customer computers to only allow i,p. addresses that the ISP has assigned. This is ok since if the customer computers are using other i.p. addresses, then they have no network functionality other than to do denial of service attacks.

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