[Dshield] Cut Off China

Mike Wydra mwydra1 at comcast.net
Sat Jun 25 21:32:53 GMT 2005


This is going to get lengthy, but I hope you'll bear with me because it might explain to the "seasoned pro's" how the "newbie" (like me) mind works. I totally agree with jayjwa and Ken Coney concerning the blocking of junk traffic from China, and other Countries that don't play by the rules. In fact - I'd go so far as to block ALL traffic from these Countries. I'll explain, but first - a little about myself so you know where I'm coming from.

I'm a retired 30 year veteran of AT&T. I was forced to retire at age 48 due to a bad heart. I'm currently being kept alive on a heart pump (known as an LVAD), and while keeping me alive, I'm very limited as to what I can do. If and when I get a new heart, I can go back to work - but for now I'm stuck. However, I can still play on the Internet...

DShield offers me both the abilities to keep up to date with my professional life, as well as giving me lots of fun. Despite what some people think, AT&T is VERY committed to customer service (no I'm not running a commercial here). Customer service was beat into my head from when I first signed on, until the day they carried me out. This is where my professional life comes in. AL GORE did not invent the Internet - we did. Well maybe we (AT&T) didn't invent it, but we sure as hell built it, and I was at Bell Labs when a few of our scientists came up with "packet switching," and a lot of other neat stuff that's taken for granted. Yup - with the help of Microsoft, we probably put a few of the bugs in the works too. But like Microsoft, we thought we were doing good things. We didn't know about the "dark side of the force." Sure - we thought we were going to make lots of money off the Internet, as well as giving our customers something they would really want. Oh boy....

We sent out invitations to all of our customers for free seminars on the Internet. Loads of older folks showed up, and I personally told them about "on line banking," and "buying your Christmas gifts with your credit card." What I didn't tell them (because I didn't know) was that "organized crime" was going to try and rob them blind. These people were AT&T customers. They were MY customers - and they still are my customers. I AM AT&T, I draw a pension check from AT&T - and I will still do what I can to take care of my customers. Of course, I don't know all the names of people that I didn't give the full story to. But thanks to DShield, I can help fight the bad guys who are after MY customers.

Now for the fun part (and this is where China comes in). I "get off" on tracking down bad guys. I look at it as a very challenging game. I started by trying to track down spammers. I was getting tons of spam from an off shore pharmaceutical company based in Cyprus, and getting nowhere. The trail always stopped in China. I reported every scrap of spam to the Chinese ISP's - but it soon became clear to me that THEY DON'T CARE. They are making MONEY by being a "safe harbor" for spammers, and other a--holes. Anyway, after weeks of trying to nail these guys, I decided to place a phony order for "Vicodine." Bingo! The fools dropped a cookie on my machine from their processing site, which happened to be in Washington,DC. I reported them, and all my logs, to the FBI. Soon after - the spam stopped. Hey - I won that game, but I lost a lot more - and most of the losses were due to the fact that the trail went cold in China, or Russia, or Taiwan... So what do I think we should do? FOLLOW THE MONEY. There is NO business case (that can be made) to make AT&T (and lesser companies) cut off their main pipes to the Far East. The fact is - there are legitimate companies doing business around the world, so the big boys are going to keep their lines open. BUT - what if EVERY American ISP and in-house IE security group, blocked access to all known ranges of nasty IP addresses. At first, the list of blocked ranges would grow as the bad guys switched routes. Eventually - we might wind up blocking an entire country, but that's when things would change. When you keep China (and other countries) from economical growth, and hurt them in the wallet - they will be forced to clean up their act. It might take some time - but it would happen. And we wouldn't have to wait on Congress to pass new laws (that would be ignored anyway).

As far as in-house business is concerned, some people would be cut off from accessing blocked country web-sites. If any complained, you could easily pay them a visit and find out why they wanted access. If it turns out to be legit, give them access, but if it's some joker looking to download pictures of Japanese school girls - FIRE THEM.

This is simple stuff - and maybe time consuming. But we could clean up a lot of the Internet, if everyone plays ball. So I agree with jayjwa and Ken - and I hope I made my point. This newbie is signing off...

End of Soapbox,
Mike Wydra
Retired AT&T

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