What Can Individuals and

By Larry Seltzer  |  Posted 2004-01-30 Print this article Print

Companies Do?"> Strictly speaking, the attack will actually begin, if it hasnt already, some time before February 1, since many computers have misconfigured or erroneous system clocks. For the same reason, some computers may never finish their attacks. But the vast bulk of the attack will happen on schedule.

As the Bath, England-based security analysis and consulting firm Netcraft Ltd. pointed out, Microsoft has had some success in the past deflecting such DDoS attacks, such as the Blaster worm last August.
In that case, part of Microsofts strategy was to shift the front-end handling of requests to their Web sites onto Akamai Technologies Inc., a Cambridge, Mass. content-distribution network (CDN) that runs its services on Linux. Microsoft was pragmatic enough to accept the minor embarrassment of having the companys servers appear to be running on Linux. The message boards at Netcrafts Web site pointed out that such a recourse would be a bitter pill indeed for SCO to swallow, given its legal campaign against Linux and open-source software products.

So what will individual Internet users see on Sunday? It will depend on their location and if their computers are infected with MyDoom.A. If a computer is infected, theres a good chance that its performance will seem sluggish and the Internet connection congested, depending on the speed of the computer and its configuration. If a particular system is uninfected, its still possible that other infected machines on the local network could use enough bandwidth to slow the networks Internet connection. If a serious attack occurs Tuesday against Microsofts Web site, more people could be affected because Microsofts site is commonly used by its customers for information and software downloads. Analysts said that infected systems remaining in corporate installations will betray themselves quickly on Sunday, and IT administrators should be able to locate them easily by tracing back the requests to www.sco.com in their log files. A wave of these requests will also occur on Monday morning when computer users return to work and turn on their systems.

Larry Seltzer has been writing software for and English about computers ever since—,much to his own amazement—,he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1983.

He was one of the authors of NPL and NPL-R, fourth-generation languages for microcomputers by the now-defunct DeskTop Software Corporation. (Larry is sad to find absolutely no hits on any of these +products on Google.) His work at Desktop Software included programming the UCSD p-System, a virtual machine-based operating system with portable binaries that pre-dated Java by more than 10 years.

For several years, he wrote corporate software for Mathematica Policy Research (they're still in business!) and Chase Econometrics (not so lucky) before being forcibly thrown into the consulting market. He bummed around the Philadelphia consulting and contract-programming scenes for a year or two before taking a job at NSTL (National Software Testing Labs) developing product tests and managing contract testing for the computer industry, governments and publication.

In 1991 Larry moved to Massachusetts to become Technical Director of PC Week Labs (now eWeek Labs). He moved within Ziff Davis to New York in 1994 to run testing at Windows Sources. In 1995, he became Technical Director for Internet product testing at PC Magazine and stayed there till 1998.

Since then, he has been writing for numerous other publications, including Fortune Small Business, Windows 2000 Magazine (now Windows and .NET Magazine), ZDNet and Sam Whitmore's Media Survey.

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