Saturday, September 23, 2006

Internet technology ---- Hackers

Researchers uncovered a serious flaw in the underlying technology for nearly all Internet traffic, a discovery that led to an urgent and secretive international effort to prevent global disruptions of web surfing, e-mails and instant messages. Already the British government announced the vulnerability in core Internet technology. Left unaddressed, it could allow hackers to knock computers offline and broadly disrupt vital traffic-directing devices, called routers, that coordinate the flow of data among distant groups of computers.“Exploitation of this vulnerability could have affected the glue that holds the Internet together,’’ The Homeland Security Department issued its own cyberalert hours later that attacks “could affect a large segment of the Internet community.’’ It said normal Internet operations probably would resume after such attacks stopped. Experts said there were no reports of attacks using this technique. The risk was similar to Internet users “running naked through the jungle, which didn’t matter until somebody released some tigers,’’

It’s a significant risk, The larger Internet providers are jumping on this big time. It’s really important this just gets fixed before the bad guys start exploiting it for fun and recognition. The flaw affecting the Internet’s “transmission control protocol,’’ or TCP, was discovered late last year by a computer researcher in Milwaukee. He identified a method to reliably trick personal computers and routers into shutting down electronic conversations by resetting the machines remotely.

Experts previously said such attacks could take between four years and 142 years to succeed because they require guessing a rotating number from roughly four billion possible combinations. But he can guess the proper number with as few as four attempts, which can be accomplished within seconds. Routers continually exchange important updates about the most efficient traffic routes between large networks. Continued successful attacks against routers can cause them to go into a standby mode, known as “dampening,’’ that can persist for hours. Cisco Systems Inc., which acknowledged its popular routers were among those vulnerable, distributed software repairs and tips to otherwise protect large corporate customers
posted by Joby on 6:53 PM | Permalink | 0 comments