Aardvark Daily aardvark (ard'-vark) a controversial animal with a long probing nose used for sniffing out the facts and stimulating thought and discussion.

NZ's leading source of Net-Industry news and commentary since 1995
Australasia's "New Economy" News And Commentary Site
Headlines | XML feed | Contact | New Sites | Press Bin | Job Centre | News Search | For Sale
Note: This column represents the opinions of the writer and as such, is not represented as fact
How Vulnerable Are We? 11 October 2001 Edition
Previous Edition

Million $ Ideas
At last, the contents of Aardvark's "million-dollar ideas" notebook are revealed for all to see!
Click To See
The US has warned that concerted and effective cyber-attacks could cause major disruption to the nation's infrastructure services of a scale that would make the September 11 attacks look like kids' play.

There's talk of vulnerabilities in critical systems such as water supplies, electricity grids and telecommunications.

The impression is given that perhaps key control systems for these critical networks are publicly available -- perhaps even through the Internet.

This would not be surprising -- after all, it's only a year or so ago that a hacker managed to get into some of NASA's mission critical systems by way of the Internet -- duh!

Need Cutting-Edge Copy?
As NZ's longest-running online commentator, I'm looking for extra syndication opportunities for this daily publication -- or I'm happy to write casual or regular material specifically to order for print or Net-based publications. If you're interested, drop me a line

While there may be some great benefits associated with providing Internet gateways to other mission-critical computer networks -- one must also consider the risks that this produces.

Even in peace-time, the evil crackers amongst us have proven their ability to defeat even the most bullet-proof of defenses. The list of those who have been embarrassed is long and illuminating: The FBI, the US military, various US government departments, NASA, etc, etc.

Now that the USA is at war, surely they have to respond to the warnings recently issued by pulling the plug on interconnections between mission-critical systems and public networks.

Or perhaps it's time to create a highly secure alternative to the Internet for just this type of application.

Readers Say
(updated hourly)
Nothing Yet
Have Your Say

Okay, we all know that it's possible to run relatively secure Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) over the Internet which provide a significant barrier to crackers -- but they're not invulnerable. So long as they use the same physical network as the Internet then the crackers can keep chipping away at their defenses and, given enough time (and human foibles), they'll eventually get through.

Maybe what's needed, in the USA anyway, is a physically separate network that shares none of the current Internet's infrastructure.

This network could be made multiply redundant and use a number of different techniques (strong encryption, spread-spectrum, random routing, etc) to improve its overall security and reliability by an order of magnitude over that which the Internet can provide.

The first, and possibly hardest task confronting a would-be cracker trying to compromise such a network, would be to actually find how and where the data is being transferred. Then they'd have to tap into it in an undetectable manner -- not an easy thing to do.

Script-kiddies would be way out of their depth here.

But what about here in New Zealand? How many of our critical infrastructure services are using the Internet as a part of their telecommunications network?

Should we be worried that a smart cracker could black out our major cities or plunge our air-traffic control system into chaos at a critical moment?

Save The Aardvark Fund
Yes, I have had several donations to the Aardvark fund and I thank those who put their money where their mouse is :-)

If guilt is gnawing away inside you then there's still time to donate.

Just drop by and hand over your loot.


Free News Syndicated From 7amNews.com
Add it to your own site
Net/Tech

MP3/Net-Music


Add Aardvark To Your Own Website!
Got a moment? Want a little extra fresh content for your own website or page?

Just add a couple of lines of JavaScript to your pages and you can get a free summary of Aardvark's daily commentary -- automatically updated each and every week-day.

Aardvark also makes a summary of this daily column available via XML using the RSS format. More details can be found here.

Contact me if you decide to use either of these feeds and have any problems.

Did you tell someone else about Aardvark today? If not then do it now!

There are new Vacancies Last added 2 Oct In The Job Centre

There are 14 Domain Names for sale

Latest
Security Alerts
Microsoft tightens software security (CNet - 16/08/2001t)

Code Red Worm A 'Runaway Success' (7amNews - 20/07/2001)

Solaris bug gives hackers free rein (ZDNet - 22/06/2001)

Microsoft Admits Another 'Serious Vunerability' In IIS 7amNews - 19/06/2001)

Latest
Virus Alerts
Tripple-threat Worm Strikes (Aardvark - 19/09/2001)

New worm spreading slowly (CNet - 4/09/2001)

Trojan horse breaks Windows PCs (ZDNet - 24/08/2001)

Bookmark This Page Now!

 

MORE NEWS
NZL Sites
IDG.Net.nz
NZ Netguide
NZ Herald Tech
PC World NZ
Scoop
NZ.Internet.com
NZOOM Technology

AUS Sites
Fairfax IT
Australian IT
AFR Tech
AUS Netguide
NineMSN Tech
APC Magazine

USA Sites
Wired.com
CNet
CNNfn Tech
TechWeb
Yahoo Tech
ZDNet Tech
USA Today Tech
7am.com SciTech

UK Sites
The Register
BBC SciTech

 

The Day's Top News
Open in New Window = open in new window
New Zealand

Open in New Window Gov't shows broadband hand at last
Government's initial contribution to the provision of rural broadband communications has at last been revealed. It will amount to $300,000, from the Ministry of Economic Development's budget to facilitate up to six pilot schemes...
IDG

Open in New Window Bill change challenged
ACT NZ leader Richard Prebble says Prime Minister Helen Clark instructed a change to the Telecommunications Bill to include mandatory roaming between compatible mobile networks, paving the way for a third mobile phone operator, Econet....
Stuff

Other

Open in New Window Computer Experts Warn of Cyber Terror
Computer experts asked Congress Wednesday to imagine a terrorist assault that combines the massive destruction of Sept. 11 with a simultaneous cyber-attack...
AP

Open in New Window Ad filters may spring leaks
Publishers have been promised a new weapon to combat software that wipes advertisements off the Web, bringing a potential challenge to ad-free surfing...
CNet

Open in New Window Online Usage in U.S Dips in September - Nielsen
The number of online users in the United States fell slightly in September after climbing a bit in August, Nielsen/NetRatings said on Wednesday, citing the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon...
yahoo

Open in New Window EU Says MS Obstructed Probe
Microsoft deliberately misled European Commission investigators as its business practices were being probed, according to a published report...
Wired

Open in New Window Mad Rush on Web for Anthrax Drug
As soon as the anthrax scare began, online pharmacies began receiving a rush of orders for the only FDA-approved antibiotic. And it's not cheap...
Wired

Australia

Open in New Window Local Web server attacks double in number: survey
Web server attacks have doubled in number since last year, according to a survey carried out by security company TruSecure...
ZDNet

Open in New Window First wave crashes at Optus
UP to 350 workers will lose their jobs in the first wave of redundancies at Optus with more cuts likely within weeks, it was revealed today...
Australian IT

Other

Open in New Window Apply here to screw Java: Microsoft recruits more J# developers
Both Sun and Microsoft have given us on the record responses to the Beast's latest Java provocation, Visual J#...
The Register

Open in New Window MS confirms Xbox disk downgrade
Microsoft has confirmed that it has shaved a couple of gigabytes off the hard drive built into its Xbox games console. The machine, due to go on sale next month will ship with an 8GB hard drive, rather than 10GB...
The Register

Open in New Window Ballmer dismisses Sun's Passport rival
Microsoft's outspoken chief executive dismisses rival Sun Microsystems' efforts to compete with his company's Passport identity service as "craziness."...
CNet

Open in New Window Microsoft Invests $51M in Groove
Microsoft Corp. is investing $51 million in Groove Networks Inc., whose software allows for collaboration over different corporate networks...
AP

Open in New Window Will Internet Advertising Business Ever Recover?
A huge surge in traffic to Internet news sites beginning with the Sept. 11 attacks on America showed once again that the Web plays a big role along with television and newspapers in supplying news....
Yahoo


Looking For More News or Information?

Google
Search WWW Search Aardvark
Try the Aardvark News Search page or look here.co.nz

Privacy Policy | Copyright © 2001, Bruce Simpson, free republication rights available on request

jet engine page