Viruses: The Code Red Worm

Written by Richard Lowe

Years from now, we will all look back onrepparttar summer of 2001 as one ofrepparttar 132081 strangest summers inrepparttar 132082 history ofrepparttar 132083 internet. We will surely laugh atrepparttar 132084 frantic gyrations of system administrators and security professionals because of a worm called "Code Red". We system administrators will most certainly chuckle as we fondly reminisce onrepparttar 132085 late evenings spent patching server after server atrepparttar 132086 urging of our security professionals. And hey, that blue screen or two that resulted was so much fun to research, andrepparttar 132087 reinstalls that we had to dorepparttar 132088 next day will certainly berepparttar 132089 topic of campfire conversations for years to come! Not!

During late July and early August, Microsoft, CERT (Computer Emergency Response Team) andrepparttar 132090 FBI issued emergency bulletins urging all system administrators to patch their web servers immediately. The press was alerted and asked to help spreadrepparttar 132091 word thatrepparttar 132092 internet itself was in extreme danger. Every security and antivirus company onrepparttar 132093 planet was busy sending out notices to everyone they could find thatrepparttar 132094 problem had to be fixed immediately, or dire consequences would result.

The predictions were that internet speed would be reduced to a crawl for days while billions (trillions?) of meaningless packets were thrown atrepparttar 132095 Whitehouse web site an attempt to knock it offrepparttar 132096 air.

What wasrepparttar 132097 cause of this three-ring circus?

It's very simple really. The same old story. Microsoft had a bug in their web server code. Well, saying they had a bug dramatically understatesrepparttar 132098 magnitude ofrepparttar 132099 problem.

To put it into perspective, let's say you hired a contractor to build a new bank (you arerepparttar 132100 bank manager). Naturally, your bank is outfitted with state ofrepparttar 132101 art technology (so saysrepparttar 132102 brochure), including a shiny, well-publicized security system. The project was expensive, but you're happy because, hey, it'srepparttar 132103 new, improved, extra special XP bank. Besides,repparttar 132104 contractor isrepparttar 132105 biggest one onrepparttar 132106 planet and, frankly, you paid them an exorbitant rate to ensure that you gotrepparttar 132107 best there was.

After your bank is robbed, you find out thatrepparttar 132108 contractor had "accidentally" left an eight foot hole inrepparttar 132109 right wall. This isn't just a small hole, it's a huge, gaping crevice leading directly torepparttar 132110 vault. It's in plain view to everyone, except, seemingly,repparttar 132111 contractor. When you confrontrepparttar 132112 contractor to ask them how they could do such a stupid thing, they politely tell you, after a three hour wait on hold and a $295 charge on your credit card, that it's really your fault because you didn't followrepparttar 132113 instructions in their special security bulletin two months ago. Didn't you send a couple of your employees torepparttar 132114 BSE (Bank Systems Engineer) classes to learn that they need to purchaserepparttar 132115 extra-special, super spectacular BankNet knowledgebase CDs?

Okay, all kidding and sarcasm aside, there is a bug inrepparttar 132116 Indexing service (the component that creates searchable indexes) inrepparttar 132117 Microsoft Internet Information Server (the program which displays web pages on a web server) which is supplied with Windows NT and Windows 2000. This bug allows allows anyone who can send a special string of characters to a web server to "take control" and, basically, causerepparttar 132118 web server to do anything thatrepparttar 132119 attacker desires.

Backing Up Your Stuff Part 2: A Solution

Written by Richard Lowe

So what do you do when you have so much stuff on your computer that it becomes difficult, if not impossible, to back uprepparttar whole thing on a regular basis? You know that you must perform backups (the world is full of dangers to your computer and it's valuable data), but it's just become technically impracticable simply due torepparttar 132080 volume of data.

Don't believe for a second that this problem is unique torepparttar 132081 home user. At work I manage a staff of computer people which is responsible for about 500 gigabytes of data. In fact, we expect our data size to exceed a terabyte (1,000 gigabytes) before too long! Some of my peers now manage sites which exceed 60 terabytes! Imagine how difficult it is to come up with a backup solution to databases of those sizes!

What I decided to do for my home computer system is simple. I separated my backup tasks into small, manageable pieces. These include: being prepared to recoverrepparttar 132082 entire system inrepparttar 132083 event of a catastrophic failure.

- being able to restore each individual application (program), which is useful not only inrepparttar 132084 event of a system failure, but also ifrepparttar 132085 application itself becomes unusable.

- backing up my own personal data files on a regular basis.

- understandingrepparttar 132086 location of special data such as desktop themes, outlook stationary and ICQ skins so that I can back them up regularly.

- Ensuring that all ofrepparttar 132087 websites that I manage are backed up to my own hard drive regularly.

- keeping copies of this data in a second location inrepparttar 132088 event of a complete loss (such as fire or earthquake).

Before you can start any of these backup procedures, however, you must figure out what device are you going to use as a backup media. You have several choices.

Floppy disks - In days long past, we all used floppy disks as our backup media. This was in ancient times (5 to 20 years ago), whenrepparttar 132089 volume of data was much less. Floppy disks are not a good choice for backups forrepparttar 132090 following reasons:

- They are expensive (when figured on dollars per megabyte)

- They are small (slightly over 1 megabyte)

- They don't last long (I've found five years is aboutrepparttar 132091 maximum amount of time).

ZIP or Jazz disks - You can use a device known as a zip drive to perform your backups. Zip disks were originally 100 megabytes in size, and have since been upgraded to 250 megabytes. Jazz drives went from 1 gigabyte to 2 gigabytes. I am sure that larger sizes will be released asrepparttar 132092 years go by.

At first glance, this seems like a real solution torepparttar 132093 media problem. However, I have found several problems which make it less than desirable.

- I have found thatrepparttar 132094 zip and jazz disks do not last for a long time. I have attempted to restore data from zip disks which are over 2 years old and have discovered an alarming number of data errors.

- There have been may reports inrepparttar 132095 news of problems with these products. In fact, Iomega has beenrepparttar 132096 target of at least one class action suit for drive failures.

- Zip and Jazz drives are extremely slow.

- The media (disks) are extraordinarily expensive.

Personally, I have had so many problems with these products that I would not recommend them to anyone - even my worst enemy. You must be able to depend upon your backups - otherwise, why do them at all?

Magnetic Tape - One ofrepparttar 132097 most difficult choices. Magnetic tape certainly hasrepparttar 132098 ability to back up large amount of data, but it tends to be slow and requires specialized software to access. Out of all ofrepparttar 132099 formats, I would be least likely to recommend magnetic tape.

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