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Hackers are like ants

Week of March 26, 2002
Poor Mr Misra. He reported to an ISP that one of their DSL customers had Nimda.

Dear Mr. Misra,

We understand your concern regarding the hack attempts made against 
your machine however we would like to make the nature of these 
hackers clear to you so that you will have a broader perspective 
with this issue.

Hackers are like ants, chasing one away from the picnic table will 
not protect you from the thousands and thousands in the local ant 
hill that are still hungry. As soon as you rid yourself of one, you 
will still have an infinite risk available to you to get scanned or 
probed again.

What makes policing hackers so difficult is a good hacker knows how 
to do their hacking, and use somebody else's identity and liability 
as well. They hack somebody elses computer, install remote control 
software on their machine, and then use that controlled machine to 
do the hacking. The purpose to remote hacking is it conceals the 
identity of the hacker by using somebody elses identity.  Firewall 
logs such as yours will often show the paper trail of the framed 
computer rather than the hacker itself. The real hacker hasn't been 
and normally cannot be detected during those circumstances. We're 
looking into the situation but we get dozens, if not hundreds of 
these a week. Its extremely difficult to police the Internet for the 
reasons above.

Keeping yourself abreast of the hackers or wannabe-hackers that your 
firewall recently picked up on, won't protect you from the next wave 
of intruders to do the same thing that they did. The truth is, your 
machine has been port scanned, hack attempted and probed possibly 
dozens to hundreds of times since you've been on the Internet. It is 
such a common occurence thats been amazingly transparent as to how 
many times this has happened to our Customers when they didn't have 
a firewall. Dial-up or Cable Modem will not differ in how easy it is 
to be probed.

The point of the above statements are, as soon as you've had one 
hacker prosecuted and/or addressed, you've only swatted one gnat on 
a hot & humid summer afternoon. A few seconds to a min later, you 
will start feeling itchy again because there's another one biting 

What you should focus on is not trying to kill every gnat, but 
rather wear invisible bug spray so that no matter how many of them 
there are, they cannot find you therefore there is no war. You 
cannot win the war, all you can do is stay out of it.  The better 
the firewall you use, the more likely you will remain invisible.

We apologize for any inconvenience but just bear in mind the broader 
perspective to this.


Nick L
ID# 3510
Optimum Online Technical Support

Optimum Online
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