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It's evolutionary Darwinism at its finest! Personal Internet security that is. You either have it or you don't. In my case, I've seen five attempts to compromise my home PC this weekend alone. Since I started preaching the message over a year ago, I put in Zone Alarm and now Symantec's 'Personal Firewall', which picks up the attempts to place sneaky cookies on my PC and blocks attempts like those below, still only an hour old!

Date: 24/02/2002 Time: 18:06:00
Intrusion attempt detected from address 213.120.39.69 by rule "Default Block Backdoor/SubSeven Trojan horse".
Blocked further access for 30 minutes.

Date: 24/02/2002 Time: 17:16:35
Intrusion attempt detected from address 213.118.255.5 by rule "Default Block Hack 'A' Tack Trojan horse".
Blocked further access for 30 minutes.

The most interesting attempt in the last hour was an attempt to access the SmartPass program on my PC, which is the link to my office Server. The how and why part I can't quite grasp and it's quite probably a random sweep of some kind through my ISP but the evidence can be seen below.

Date: 24/02/2002 Time: 18:54:42
This one time, the user has chosen to "block" communications. Details:
Inbound TCP connection
Local address,service is (hp(213.122.166.209),ftp(21))
Remote address,service is (128.131.167.130,4722)
Process name is "C:\PROGRAM FILES\V-ONE\SMARTPASS 4.1.2\SMARTPASS.EXE"

For more information on this kind of exploit, I might use Tiger Surf to try and work out where this particular imp of Satan is coming from but with so many on a weekly basis, it's hardly worth the effort.

It does make you think though. If I wasn't using a personal firewall on my home PC, would the photographs I took of my daughter in Richmond Park this morning be stolen and find their way into some hacker's digital photo collection?

It gets worse of course, so for heaven's sake, if you don't have a personal firewall do get one, particularly if you are ever tempted to click on one of those tempting little spam links to Nadia with her unusual collection of rubber toys and her personal 24*7 webcam in Prague. If you do, it's just asking for trouble and at least the firewall wraps your connection in the computing equivalent of a digital condom. If you don't, you may well catch something nasty and find that someone else, maybe one of Nadia's friends, happens to be using your connection for some other purpose, long after her fuzzy image has faded from your memory!

So be safe and if your PC is not wearing a condom, then at least hide behind a firewall before you turn anything on...!

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