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Security Issues with the US government

Some people, I have noticed, have been skeptical about the amount of care taken by the US government and agencies in the last few years. Companies are also catching up. The security measures change every year, when not every semester, every month and for some, probably every day.

For sure, making sure that the most wanted information remains top-secret, you need top level security features on your network. I do not know how much data is of interest, but I found out today that there are hackers attacking the federal websites quite a bit…

“The Pentagon last month acknowledged at a closed House Intelligence committee meeting that its vast computer network is scanned or attacked by outsiders more than 300 million times each day.” — Ted Bridis and Laurie Kellman (published on Yahoo! News)

If this isn’t scary news to you, then I guess you are not to worried about your network. Now whether it is commissioned by the Chinese government or some other countries using an Internet hub in China, difficult to know. It could also just be some individual that wants something to happen…

Now, some people complain that they do not have much traffic on their website. I got plenty the last couple of months. Bad Spiders that really do not work properly. Our server went from a mere 10,000 hits a month to over 1 million per week; but these 1 million are all errors.

Looking at these numbers, the 300 million a day is totally believable. Made to Order Software Corp. is till a rather small company, and getting over 1 million hits in a week, that’s hard to believe. And we do also receive a lot of packets that we do not invite.

In a single day, I got 164 non-publicly advertised accesses on my home server (accesses to ports that aren’t open). Imagine running a Win98 box on the Internet. How long before I get infected? If the 164 accesses were sent equally apart, then that’s 10 minutes with a clean system. After these 10 minutes, someone knows they can access and take over your computer. Luckily, most people have all the services turned off and thus no one will be able to connect to such computers from the outside (the majority now.)

On our company’s server, we got 38,990 in 32 days. That’s over 1,000 a day (1,218). Again, without a proper firewall, that would be even worth than my server… attacked within less than 2 minutes!

The other day, I had to reboot my machine. Once rebooted, it took me about 10 minutes to fix a small problem with Apache and get it to start again. Just the time it took me to do that, I lost 80 connections (i.e. 80 connections went unserved; not counting the lost connections while rebooting.)

The Internet is really fast now. Attacks are increasing, and many are extremely well targeted. If you have any type of data that needs to be secure, think twice before putting it on a computer that’s accessible through the Internet. This includes credit card information, names and addresses or phone numbers, social security numbers, and other personal information. An email address is much less a problem.