[Dshield] Cut Off China
Webmaster at Commerco.Net
Thu Jun 30 11:26:38 GMT 2005
Your message reminds me of an experience I had back in the 1980s with
a group of students from China who came to the bay area for a series
of class lectures I gave. I was asked to do instructor duty for a
large measurement and computation company in the US I worked for at
the time, presenting a series of business computing System Management
/ System Administration courses to those students.
8:30 AM Greeted guests - I got the impression they might not
understand English - I started to panic and got a Chinese speaking
engineer from my company to gently confirm they could understand
me. They did. Whoops, I thought, perhaps I had made a bad first
impression and I started to fear they might not like me. Bad news,
if a student does not like their teacher, they probably won't learn
much from the teacher.
9:00 AM Started class. Got through first module, no
questions. Started second module... still no questions.
10:15 AM Early break for sugar pills and coffee. I asked my Chinese
engineer what she thought might be wrong, because in all other
classes I had ever given I had always received questions from the
students. I really enjoy an interactive class environment because it
keeps everyone engaged and conscious. It is far easier to pump
information into conscious folks. In any case, she explained that it
was culturally very important to never shame an
instructor. Apparently, if they were to ask questions of me, they
felt it would indicate they were pointing out a failing on the
instructor's part in getting the information across, which would
shame the instructor and would thus be considered very bad form for
the student to do, shaming them as well. If this is true, I thought,
it must be very hard to be an effective teacher and frustrating to be
a student in China.
10:30 AM Class resumes. I explained to students that I would be far
more shamed if they returned to China after a week of very boring one
sided lectures without my having done the job of teaching them
properly. I tried to convince them that questions are a great way to
trigger exploring areas of the materials in greater depth. Thus, I
explained that questions were welcome and never considered insulting
or shameful for me. That seemed to loosen them up and they began
smiling and seemed relieved to learn they could ask what they wanted
without fear of committing any social errors. Lots of questions
started to roll in and things became a whole lot more productive and
learning actually took place. I know I was a whole lot happier and
based on feedback, they seemed very happy with the experience as well.
Keep in mind that the folks I was responsible for teaching
represented the best of the best from their country, so I could
certainly understand how they were concerned for not bringing shame
on themselves, the rest of the group or me. These were good and
honorable group of people whom I had the privilege to teach and learn from.
I don't know if the seemingly general lack of communication by ISPs
in China is a cultural thing, but closing communications to an entire
country or section of the world for business seems an over the top
My simple minded thinking as regards the subject of this message:
Block China (or any nation)? Probably a very bad idea if you want to
engage in international business and possibly not so good if you want
to get to a site that might have made your hardware to get driver
updates or find lost documentation or some other resource in the
nation you might have blocked.
Block troublesome CIDR blocks? Sure, it might make some sense but
remember to unblock them if they clean up their act and hope the
powers that be stop allocating more free IP space to those who
don't. After all, to reward bad behavior is in itself a most shameful thing.
Restrict port access? These days, I think you would be almost
suicidal if you did not.
Bad folks (or especially their handiwork) can come from any
IP. Blocking a nation or geographic region is never going to secure
any network, though it might create a false sense of security for
some (e.g., "once I block nation x I am safe because we all _know_
that bad people live in nation x" - an attitude that seems both
socially bigoted and naive where it comes to networking - think
botnet). Even so, blocking IPs won't ever replace good network and
system administration as well as promoting best practices and
continuing internal education within your own network's user community.
WebMaster at Commerco.Net
The Commerce Company - Making Commerce Simple(sm)
At 11:41 AM 6/29/2005, you wrote:
>I have heard that many ISP's in Asia don't respond to complaints,
>because it is a loss of face to them if they do - they bring
>dishonor on their employer for admitting something is wrong. And,
>loss of face is a serious matter in parts of Asia.
>However, the lack a response does not mean (necessarily) that they
>are ignoring you. It is quite possible they are "dealing with" the
>spammer ('do you wnat the bullet in your left ear or your right?')
>while just never telling you.
>-E D Truitt
>Sent via my BlackBerry from Cingular Wireless
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