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Community Comment

Wed., July 9, 2008, 4:53 p.m.

The sky is falling! The Internet is broken!

Good afternoon, Netizens...

BULLETIN: The Internet is broken.

I got you with that one, didn't I? Actually what has happened is that CERT, which is part of the Software Engineering Institute (SEI), a federally funded research and development center at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, yesterday announced a vulnerability in one of the underlying components of the Internet, Domain Name Service. DNS is used by every computer that links to the Internet and works similar to a telephone system routing calls to proper numbers, in this case the online numerical addresses of websites. Every website in the world has a numerical address.

"An attacker with the ability to conduct a successful cache poisoning attack can cause a nameserver's clients to contact the incorrect, and possibly malicious, hosts for particular services," CERT said.
"Consequently, web traffic, email, and other important network data can be redirected to systems under the attacker's control."
I could go on, but in other words, the Internet is broken. However, system administrators around the world are working on patches for the various types of systems, which is a major chore, in case you wanted to know.

Do you want to know how secure you are? Point your browser to Test your ISP's DNS and click the box labeled “Check my DNS”. If your ISP has NOT upgraded their DNS server you are vulnerable, and this web site will tell you so. If your ISP's have recently patched DNS, you might drop them a note and tell them “thank you” for staying current with the latest security changes on the Internet.


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Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.