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Submission + - Ask Slashdot: How to deal with persistent and incessant port scanner

jetkins writes: What would you do if your firewall was being persistently targeted by port scans from a specific group of machines from one particular company?

I run a Sophos UTM9 software firewall appliance on my home network. Works great, and the free Home Use license provides a bunch of really nice features normally only found on commercial-grade gear. One of those is the ability to detect, block, and report port scans, and under normal circumstances I only get the occasional alert when some script kiddie comes a-knocking at my door.

But in recent months I have been getting flooded with alerts of scans from one particular company. I initially reported it to my own ISP's (RoadRunner's) abuse desk, on the assumption that if they're scanning me then they're probably scanning a bunch of my neighbors as well, and any responsible ISP would probably want to block this BS, but all I ever got back was an automated acknowledgement and zero action.

So I used DNS lookup and WHOIS to find their phone number, and spoke with someone there; it appears that they're a small outfit, and I was assured that they had a good idea where it was coming from and that they would make it stop. Indeed, it did stop a few days later but then it was back again, unabated, after another week or so. So last week I called them again, and was once again assured of a resolution. No dice, the scans continue to pour in.

I've already blocked their subnet at my firewall, but the UTM apparently does attack detection before filtering, so that didn't stop the alerts. And although I *could* disable port scan alerts, it's an all-or-nothing thing and I'm not prepared to turn them off completely.

This afternoon I forwarded the twenty-something alerts that I've received so far today, to their abuse@ address with an appeal for a Christmas Miracle, but frankly I'm not holding out much hope that it will have any effect.

So, Slashdotters, what should I do if this continues into the new year? Start automatically bouncing every report to their abuse address? Sic Anonymous on them? Start calling them every time? I'm open to suggestions.
Slashdot.org

Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda Resigns From Slashdot 1521

After 14 years and over 15,000 stories posted, it's finally time for me to say Good-Bye to Slashdot. I created this place with my best friends in a run down house while still in college. Since then it has grown to be read by more than a million people, and has served Billions and Billions of Pages (yes, in my head I hear the voice). During my tenure I have done my best to keep Slashdot firmly grounded in its origins, but now it's time for someone else to come aboard and find the *future*. Personally I don't have any plans, but if you need to get ahold of me for any reason, you can find me as @cmdrtaco on twitter or Rob Malda on Google+. You could also update my mail address to be malda at cmdrtaco dot net. Hit the link below if you want to read some nostalgic saccharine crap that I need to get out of my system before I sign off for the last time.
NASA

NASA Discovers 7th Closest Star 137

Thorfinn.au says "Scientists using data from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) have discovered the coldest class of star-like bodies, with temperatures as cool as the human body. Astronomers hunted these dark orbs, termed Y dwarfs, for more than a decade without success. When viewed with a visible-light telescope, they are nearly impossible to see. WISE's infrared vision allowed the telescope to finally spot the faint glow of six Y dwarfs relatively close to our sun, within a distance of about 40 light-years. 'WISE scanned the entire sky for these and other objects, and was able to spot their feeble light with its highly sensitive infrared vision,' said Jon Morse, Astrophysics Division director at NASA Headquarters in Washington. 'They are 5,000 times brighter at the longer infrared wavelengths WISE observed from space than those observable from the ground.'"
Real Time Strategy (Games)

Sports Bars Changing Channels For Video Gamers 351

dtmos wrote in to say that "This summer, StarCraft II has become the newest bar room spectator sport. Fans organize so-called Barcraft events, taking over pubs and bistros from Honolulu to Florida and switching big-screen TV sets to Internet broadcasts of professional game matches. As they root for their on-screen superstars, StarCraft enthusiasts can sow confusion among regular patrons... But for sports-bar owners, StarCraft viewers represent a key new source of revenue from a demographic—self-described geeks—they hadn't attracted before."
Security

Researchers Report Spike In Boot Time Malware 132

wiredmikey writes "In their most recent intelligence report, Symantec researchers pointed out a massive increase in the amount of boot time malware striking users, noting there have already been as many new boot time malware threats detected in the first seven months of 2011 as there were in the previous three years. Also known as MBR (master boot record) threats, the malware infect an area of the hard disk that makes them one of the first things to be read and executed when a computer is turned on. This enables the threats to effectively dodge many security defenses."
Businesses

MakerBot Gets $10 Million Investment 160

First time accepted submitter chrisl456 writes "MakerBot Industries, makers (hah!) of 3D printers / personal fabrication devices, just got a big boost in the form of $10 million from an 'all-star lineup.' Replicators, here we come!"

Submission + - Facebook Data Collection Under Fire Again (computerworld.com)

JohnBert writes: "A German privacy protection authority is calling on organizations there to close their Facebook fan pages and remove the social networking site's "Like" button from their websites, arguing that Facebook harvests data in violation of German and European Union law.

The Independent Centre for Privacy Protection (ULD), the privacy protection agency for the German state of Schleswig-Holstein, issued a news release on Friday saying Facebook builds a broad, individualized profile for people who view Facebook content on third-party websites.

Data is sent back to Facebook's servers in the U.S., which the agency alleges violates the German Telemedia Act, the German Federal Data Protection Act and the Data Protection Act of Schleswig-Holstein. The agency alleges the data is held by Facebook for two years, and wants website owners in the state to remove links to Facebook by the end of next month or possibly face a fine."

NASA

Humanoid Robot Wakes In Space, Tweets 91

DeviceGuru writes to note that "Robonaut 2 (aka R2), the first humanoid robot to become a permanent resident of the International Space Station (ISS), was awakened from stasis this week after six months in orbit. R2s first words? 'Those electrons feel GOOD!' The success of R2's activation on the ISS paves the way for putting R2 through its first movements in orbit on Sept. 1, when R2 will be sent commands for moving its arms and hands. Assuming these and other tests proceed without a hitch, R2 will start assisting the ISS crew with simple tasks in 2012. Coffee? Tea? Cigarettes?"
Robotics

Submission + - SD cards: the cheap way to boost laptop storage (pcpro.co.uk)

Barence writes: "Many modern laptops come with only a limited capacity SSD that cost hundreds of pounds to upgrade. PC Pro has investigated whether SD cards make a cheaper alternative to upgrading your SSD. The biggest problem is that SD cards have limited number of guaranteed write cycles before the card risks failing, so they’re best considered for storing files you don’t update often – a media collection, for example. Read and write speeds are also much slower than those available from SSDs. Nevertheless, "if you’re after only a quick boost in capacity for non-critical files, the sheer convenience of being able to leave an SD card in the laptop at all times makes it a great way to save money," PC Pro concludes."
Patents

Interview With 'Idiot' Behind Key Software Patent 223

An anonymous reader writes "Last week, an appeals court ruling opened the door to making it easier to kill software patents. It turns out that the guy whose name was on the actual patent didn't even realize it was at the center of the debate, and doesn't like software patents very much. 'So I was thinking — great they invalidated software patents, lets see what crappy patent written by an idiot they picked to do it — then I realized the idiot in question was me.'"
Microsoft

Submission + - Windows 8: estimated transfer time is no more (extremetech.com) 1

MrSeb writes: "Ahh, the Windows Explorer progress dialog. For years it has been struggling to figure out how to calculate how long our copy and delete operations would take, sliding the progress bar back and forth in a seemingly random, haphazard way, the laws of time all but ceasing to exist — five seconds remaining one moment and 13 minutes the next. That’s (almost) all going to change, with the arrival of a greatly improved file management experience in Windows 8. Copy, move, delete, rename, and conflict resolution are all being overhauled for Windows 8 — and it's about time!"
Security

Submission + - Researchers Report Spike in Boot Time Malware (securityweek.com)

wiredmikey writes: In its most recent intelligence report, Symantec researchers reported a massive increase in the amount of boot time malware striking users, noting there have already been as many new boot time malware threats detected in the first seven months of 2011 as there were in the previous three years.

Also known as MBR (master boot record) threats, the malware infect an area of the hard disk that makes them one of the first things to be read and executed when a computer is turned on. This enables the threats to effectively dodge many security defenses.

In June, Microsoft warned Windows users about a bootkit Trojan known as Popureb, touching off discussions about whether or not infected users were better off completely re-installing Windows.

Infecting the MBR is not a new technique per se; many of the old boot sector viruses from over a decade ago did something similar, the report notes. The difference is modern MBR malware do so much more than just infecting the MBR. It certainly looks as if MBR malware is making a comeback in 2011.

Submission + - Has cellular technology advanced in 10 years?

An anonymous reader writes: Yesterday's earthquake in Virginia brought back some clear memories from 9-11 when I was unable to call my wife to check on her from either of my cellular or my landline phones. With all of the money spent on emergency communications infrastructure post 9-11, I was very disappointed and I'm left thoroughly disturbed about the potential of not being able to call 911 or reach my loved ones in the event of an actual emergency. So I'm left with two questions — 1) when are the cellular providers going to step up and provide more reliable networks, and 2) what is a reliable, affordable means of contacting emergency services that doesn't involve a landline or cellular telephone?

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