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Reader Comments on Aardvark Daily 30 August 2001

Note: the comments below are the unabridged submissions of readers and do
not necessarily reflect the opinions of the publisher.


From: Christopher Cookson
For : The Editor (for publication)
Subj: Is the government in the pay of the Taliban? ;-)

Apparently if being in the possesion of any software that could
POTENTIALLY be used for hacking is outlawed, basically that means owning a
PC of any description will more or less become an illegal act. Add to that
the ownership of Floppy disks, CDROMs, or any other removable storage
media, as they coud POTENTIALLY be used to boot a computer and install
malicious code. Any development software is obviously clearly illegal, as
you can write programs with it, and these could POSSIBLY be used for
'hacking'. You may still be legally allowed to use your ZX-Spectrum or
Commodore 64, as trying to find a modem for one of theme these days should
be virtually impossible, and they're so fiendishly slow, and limited in
memory capacity that you probably won't be able to do much that
constitutes 'hacking'. Wait! I recall many moons ago when I was at
secondary school, it was popular to 'hack' around and break copy
protection schemes on popular games of the time. Seeing as recent events
in the US indicate that The US government has legal jurisdiction over the
*WHOLE WORLD*, (at least where the DCMA is concerned), then probably
Commodore 64s are illegal too. Of Course the Internet must be illegal,
because how else can you gain access to such a wide array of other
computers, many hopelessly vulnerable and ready to be POTENTIALLY used to
lauch your hack attack to Kill The President! President of where, or how
on earth you'd kill him by hacking, but apparently Hollywood believes such
things are possible, and since at least one former US President got his
early training as a Hollywood actor, then it's pretty obvious that that's
where the US government gets their technology advice from. So, get ready
to switch off, go offline, and enjoy our new 'Knowledge Economy'. You
might still be allowed to read books, although as someone could
conceivably write one on techniques for breaking and entering, they're
probably illegal too. You can probably forget sex too, as lawmakers
probably can't distinguish between a computer virus and a biological
pathogen, after all, a biological virus is simply a bit of malicious
genetic code. Afghanistan is starting to looking more and more like a
modern, liberated country every day!

From: Matt Ledgerwood
For : The Editor (for publication)
Subj: Personal Firewall

Get Smoothwall (http://www.smoothwall.org/). This is a cut
down version of linux specifically created to turn a
machine into a firewall. This amazing piece of software
requires a computer of it's own, but will run quite happily
on an old 486 and even a 386 with enough memory. Works
brilliantly for a home or office network and supports
Modem, ISDN, Cable, ADSL, USB ADSL and Ethernet internet
connections. It will connect any OS (Windows, Mac, Linux,
Unix) and is easy to configure (web interface).

Best of all it is completely free, requires no knowledge of
linux to set up and is very, very secure.

From: Mudrat
For : The Editor (for publication)
Subj: Personal Firewalls

I run e-safe from Aladin systems. E-safe is a personal
firewall and anti-vandal package.

E-safe can be set to restrict applications from writing to
specified files and directories as well as the registry.

As a regular surfer, e-safe has prevented many scripted
nasties from changing my settings.

From: Phord
For : The Editor (for publication)
Subj: LT Winmodems & Firewalls

A lagre proportion of new internal modems use the LT win
modem chipsets. These chipsets are unique in that they use
the main CPU clock cycles for their processing power through
the LTMODEM.VXD driver, which means less componants on the
board. I was able to upgrade my modem to v.92 by
simply downloading the latest version of the VXD file, this
file along with others seem to contain all the AT commands
etc. (thus it won't work if booted into DOS). This modem
would probably be ideal to have inbuilt firewall routines as
no hardware modifications may be nessesary. It would only
requre someone to rewrite and compile the VXDs.

From: Darren
For : The Editor (for publication)
Subj: Modem firewalls

I use something similar to a modem firewall on my home
network - a Zyxel Router.  It plugs into the 56k modem and
then my lan hooks into that.  Perfect bit of hardware with
no complicated setup.  Protects against a lot of things,
but not trojans, etc, but works with all OS's and provides
DHCP among other things.  But a lot easier than setting up
a dedicated linux box.
Cost was about $450 3 years ago, and I've never had a
single problem or hack.

From: Allister Jenks
For : The Editor (for publication)
Subj: Linux vs MS

While reading this story...

...I came up with an idea.

It is quite likely that any user picking up on Linux is an
ex Microsoft user.  Equally likely is that, perhaps after a
while, said user will no longer have any use for the MS
software (OS, apps etc.)

Let's all send them back to Microsoft!  Include a note
along the lines of "Thanks, but I've moved on to better

Then they won't have to worry about knowing how many users
are ditching them - they'll know!  And of course, because
MS are environmentally friendly, I am sure they'll be able
to recycle the CDs somehow.  Perhaps they'll corner the
market in coasters some day soon.

Perhaps Aardvark can be the rallying point for such a noble

From: Tony Allwood
For : The Editor (for publication)
Subj: Hacking Software

If it is illegal to have any software that *might* be used
for hacking, do I have to delete ping? ;-)

Now Have Your Say

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