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Denial of Anything

This last week proved more interesting and outrageous than most. Firstly, I picked-up, not one but two Westminster parking tickets on the same spot in twenty four hours. Nothing remarkable there, other than my allegation that I was on private property, and had a “Get Lost” sign prominently displayed on my windscreen. “Your word against his mate”, was the sympathetic response from two other parking wardens who both agreed that I was out of reach but couldn’t prove it. They hadn’t bargained on the combination of my digital camera and my laptop, which between them recorded the scene and had a complaint emailed to Westminster Council, before warden L3065 had finished his shift.

I call it this the real power of .Net, so it remains to be seen whether even Westminster Council can deny full colour digital evidence, which suggests what many of us suspect or have experienced already with so-called parking wardens in London.

More denial of sorts later in the week, which witnessed an orchestrated ‘Denial of Service’ (DDOS) attack on nine of the Internet’s ‘thirteen Root’ DNS Servers, outrage number two of the week, was actually watching myself being hacked or more accurately, my www.arabgov.com site being attacked as I was editing it. On the same day I was ticketed, I had been meeting with the Syrian Ambassador and so on Friday; I was updating the information on website, hosted on Blogger.Com, which deals with egovernment and technology in the Middle-east, when the URL quite suddenly changed to http://pro2.blogger.com/hacx0redbyme and the page I was working on, abruptly disappeared. With it went the entire www.blogger.com site, which hosts hundreds of thousands of personal sites and in its place, recovering minutes later, a page was displayed, informing me that the site was down for “Essential Maintenance”.

I don’t know, whether the attack, was the result of someone ‘piggybacking’ me to get into the Blogger system or whether it was a coincidence. Because of the nature of ArabGov site, one assumes that in the current political climate, there will be hack attempts against it but someone would have to go to a great deal of trouble to use me as a Trojan horse. In any event, I was running Windows XP professional on my laptop and had Symantec’s excellent personal firewall installed, to block the depressingly frequent scans that are a daily experience of working with the Internet these days.

While losing ArabGov.Com and with it, Blogger.Com for a while was an inconvenience, the increasing number of attacks on the Internet’s infrastructure represents a more worrying trend and Mi2G have described last weeks incident as “A reconnaissance experiment to ascertain the strength of weakness of the Internet backbone and ancillary infrastructure”.

What, I wonder comes next? Reconnaissance in force and by whom and with what purpose in mind? Now, perhaps would be a good time for all of us to run a quick review of our information security policy. After all, if I can watch my own site being hacked in front of my eyes, then the problem facing any connected business may be becoming rather larger than we had thought.

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