Fighting Fire With Fire Won't Douse The FireWritten by Stephen Brennan
In last few weeks, I have noticed an increase in tools or methods devised exclusively to fight Spam fight. I applaud originators ideals and their ingenuity, but I must voice my concern about way in which such concepts can often backfire, sometimes in nastiest of ways.
I abhor spam. I hate it with a vengeance and would do ALMOST anything to rid Internet of it entirely. The worldwide financial consequences alone run into billions of dollars annually.It is comparable to disruption that propagation of viruses causes and is responsible for creating a completely independent niche market for sale of tools and software programs designed simply to combat it. Although, I would imagine that even those engaged in this area of marketing would also welcome it's demise, however unlikely it might seem at moment.
The latest is a web page that we are all being asked to link to which, as I understand it, will result in email addresses listed on that page, which are 'known' spam originating addresses, being inundated with so much spam, generated by their own 'spiders' (entities which crawl Net looking for email addresses) that their data will be effectively useless due to spider being effectively sent on an endless 'loop'. A simple but brilliant little idea - But is it safe?
What if an innocent email address should find it's way onto that web page? What if one is maliciously placed there? Does that email address get caught up in vicious circle of unsolicited email? Maybe not, but even if method precludes this particular 'backfire', more to point, is it right to spam 'spammer'? If you rob a thief, doesn't that make YOU a thief too, regardless?
The fact remains also, there hasn't been a means of stopping spammers that has worked yet. Will they be somehow able to turn this idea around and use it against Internet population?
I can understand anger, frustration and sometimes, sheer desperation that some may feel after having been an especially badly 'bashed' spam victim, but doesn't this type of 'payback' solution smack of 'Internet vigilantism' or 'taking law into one's own hands' (something that is wrong and dangerous, no matter how justified and tempting it may seem to be)?
Detect, Protect, Dis-infectWritten by Robert Rogers
Consumers Online Face Wide Choices in Security Products
With new threats to computer security and data integrity a regular feature of evening news, a panoply of products that promise to detect, protect, and dis-infect are being marketed to consumers. Intrusion detection systems, firewalls and anti-virus software are critical to online security, but Federal Trade Commission, nation’s consumer protection agency, says computer users — from grade school kids to grandparents — need to know exactly why they need online security products and what they’re buying.
Why Need Computers “talk” to each other over Internet by sending data through their communications ports. If a port is open, it “listens” for communications from Internet. A computer has thousands of ports: which ones are open depends on software computer is running. Hackers can “eavesdrop” or scan ports to determine which are open and vulnerable to unauthorized access.
Detection An intrusion detection system (IDS) monitors incoming Internet traffic, much like a security camera “watches” your front door to see who might be trying to come in. When IDS detects a suspicious pattern, it sends an alert (and creates a record) that an intruder may be trying to break in to your computer. Some IDS alerts — but not all — show a pop-up message on your screen. An IDS alone cannot prevent an unauthorized entry into your computer; only a firewall can do that.