Distributed Denial of Service Attacks

You could be caught up in the next wave as Windows DoS software comes on line.

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Recent Distributed Denial of Service attacks, such as those that brought down Yahoo, eBay and other prominent eCommerce, sites have depended on software packages laboriously uploaded by hackers to Linux and Unix servers pre-identified as unsecured. This will not be necessary for the next round as self installing Windows software is now spreading to thousands of unprotected PCs attached to cable modems and DSL lines.

How it Works: Software is uploaded to a number of servers who's administrators have not properly secured them. These programs run in the server's memory and watch for a signal from the Internet. When the signal is detected, they all start sending a flood of messages to the target, which receives too many to handle and is effectively cut off from the world.

Windows computers are particularly attractive for this use because they are almost always wide open, have no built in security features, and their owners rarely have a clue how to secure them or even that no security is a problem. What was preventing use of Windows PCs was deficiencies in the services offered by Windows, but apparently this has been solved.

So, if it does no damage to your computer, why the heck should you care? Well, since the perpetrator is extremely difficult to identify, the mood is to lynch the dumb futz administrators who didn't properly secure their systems. You might find your ISP has cut off your Internet access and you are being harassed (or even sued) by the target of the attack.

What can you do?

  • Connect with a modem. Slow, but pretty secure if you re-dial a couple times a day.
  • Run OS/2 or a Mac
  • Run Linux (but only if you know how to secure it).
  • Run a monitoring program or anti-virus program that is kept scrupulously up-to-date.
  • Place a firewall between your DSL/cable line and your computers. Costs range from $50 to $900 for a small business (depending on your skills and needs), $3000 and up for larger businesses.

©:Andrew Grygus - Automation Access - www.aaxnet.com - aax@aaxnet.com
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