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Reader Comments on Aardvark Daily 18 October 2001

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


From: Mike Smith
For : The Editor (for publication)
Subj: Understanding Business

> It takes me just a few seconds to fire off all the
> details required in an email but it takes much longer to
> fill out some dumb form.

 Once again Bruce exhibits his inability to understand how
real world business operates, and the fact that Telecom
don't pay for these investigations-based-on-email he
apparently enjoys alerting Xtra about. The customers pay
for the time and effort involved in any investigation in
the end - and the more (structured/useful) information is
provided - the less time needed to investigate, and the
less end-cost to the cosumer.

 If you've got the energy to report all those evil people
pinging you or heaven forbid - running a portscan - then
you've got the energy to do it in an efficent manner that
is usable by the people you are reporting too.

 However, all this being said, I would surmise the total
effectiveness of all Bruces reports todate would be - zip -
zero - nada - not a bean of difference to anyone - much
less to the 12 year old who probably originally ran the
port-scan against you in the first place.

 So almost certainly your new choice of not reporting them
at all will have entirely the same result - and save some
poor helpdesk technician the pain of having to deal with
something that is essentially 'your own lookout' anyway.

From: Ian
For : The Editor (for publication)
Subj: The internet is not just the www...

Just suppose I was an internet user from way back and did
not access the world-wide-web, using such arcane things as
email, usenet, gopher, ftp and so forth. (Yes, such people
still exist.)

I would still be at risk from hackers, even the ones using
Xtra dial-up accounts. How could I even start to report
these people? Bear in mind that these complaints are only
to be accepted from a form on the web.

Even if I was prepared to use the world wide web for such
things, would I really want to use a computer that was
potentially under unsolicited review to access a complaint
reporting form with a URL beginning with http:// rather
than https:// ?

From: David Annett
For : The Editor (for publication)
Subj: Telecom can't communicate

For a communications company Telecom are hard to contact.  I
need a static IP address for my ADSL connection at home so I
can't change from Jetstream to Jetstart, yet.  During the
recent peak in the Microsoft virus season I got though 1.7GB
on my Jetstream 600 account and ended up with a domestic
phone bill of over $500.  So I thought I would ask Telecom
the simple question why it cost 20c MB for my data to get
from home to my ISP, given that cost $20 a month for the
data to get the rest of the way to anywhere in the world ?

I got no response from them at jetstream@telecom.co.nz so I
thought that I may have guess the email wrong.  As there
appears to be no email address on any of Telecom's web pages
I tried the ever faithful postmaster and it bounced with the

The message that you sent was undeliverable to the following:
postmaster@telecom.co.nz (user not found)

It was clear that Telecom made a simple mistake in the set
up of their mail server so I emailed all the other addresses
to help them out and got this reply:

The message that you sent was undeliverable to the following:
support@telecom.co.nz (user not found)
service@telecom.co.nz (user not found)
sales@telecom.co.nz (user not found)
root@telecom.co.nz (user not found)
help@telecom.co.nz (user not found)

Oh dear... I figured that since my orginal emailed didn't
bounce I would try again and got a human reply at last:


sorry,  not sure why you have not had a reply.  Also not
sure why you
are asking the question as the 20 cent fee per Megabyte is
simply what
we choose to charge.  whether it is international traffic or
traffic that is the set charge.

Terry McIntyre
Telecom Jetstream

>>> "David Annett"  01-10-2001 16:44 >>>
I haven't had an answer back yet.  Can you tell me how soon
you will be
able to answer my original question ?

----- Original Message -----
From: David Annett
To: jetstream@telecom.co.nz
Sent: Thursday, September 27, 2001 12:25 PM
Subject: Pricing

Why does it cost 20 cents per MB for excess data on
Jetstream 600 to
get from my house a few km to my ISP ?

David Annett.
Annett Computer Company Limited

So I guess that is their way of saying that they are a
monoply so tough luck.  Personaly I think it sucks big time
and I am reseaching dynamic DNS and other things so I can
move to Jetstart.  It was that kind of attidute that in part
made me go for GPRS over CDMA.

From: Chris
For : The Editor (for publication)
Subj: Reporting hackers

Having once had the opportunity to experience first-hand
the thrill of working in an ISP's security department, I
can say that I wish I'd had the option to direct users to a
webform at the time.  The typical communication from a
customer was a firewall log file attachment containing
THOUSANDS of portscans and pings dating back weeks or
months and a vague request to 'do something about them'.
Instead, we adopted a policy of quietly forgetting all
about a customer's problems after the third time we had to
reply to ask them for another detail they'd forgotten.

Better yet were customers running firewalls which could be
configured to automatically fire off a message containing
the details to the helpdesk EVERY SINGLE TIME a ping came
in on an unexpected port, and god help us if were bold
enough to suggest to the customer that maybe they should
only report those incidents that originated from one of our
company's IP addresses to us...

From: Simon Lyall
For : The Editor (for publication)
Subj: Xtra abuse

Expecting Xtra to close the account of everybody who is
complained about is not realistic.

The majority of complaints are either stolen accounts, false
complaints (to get someone in trouble), complaints made in
error (ie tipped of by napster) or incidents where there
persons computer is being controlled remotely (by subseven
or similar programs).

What is worse it's is usually impossible for the abuse dept
to tell which sort of complaint it is just off a plain "this
ip connected to this port at this time" report. As such Xtra
is doing what most ISPs do in warning the person first
rather than deleting their account on minimal evidence.

Half the problem this days is idiots who install a personal
firewall that automaticly sends an email warning every time
it sees a packet it doesn't like. Users of these programs
have no idea what the errors mean and assume they are being
constantly hacked. I would expect Xtra gets hundreds of
complaints per day from these sort of programs usually with
the the demand that the person's account be closed.

Now Have Your Say

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