ISP Call Dropout news report "inaccurate"

A recent news article (Prime TV, 27-June-2001) reporting Internet users "call dropouts were the results of hackers", and that "ping floods" were the likely cause, were labeled "Inaccurate" by industry sources.

The news article, which went on to describe how the number of "ping packets" sent to a dial-up user could overwhelm a users computer, and cause it to slow down or disconnect, is quite inaccurate. While it could certainly cause performance problems due to congestion, the "dropout" problem is much more likely to be caused by specially crafted "ping packets" which contain an escape sequence instructing a users modem to hang up.

These packets are completely unrelated to the number of packets sent to the users computer, and rely on a design or configuration flaw in the users own modem. Modems without a delay in the "escape sequence" need to have their "lead-in" character changed or disabled. Most "good quality" modems are immune to the problem as the ping packets cannot insert a delay into the datastream.

That not withstanding, the use of firewall software is a good idea, as computers running the Windows operating system are inherently not very secure to start with, and such firewalls may protect the users from a variety of other attacks as well.

(Published on 28-Jun-2001 12:12 by RossW, read 719 times)
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