PACKET RAT

PACKET RAT

Rat aims secret weapon at the kewl doodz who hacked his agency's site

R. Fink

The Rat has viewed with wonder the recent hacker defacements of government Web sites belonging to the FBI and the Army, among others. Federal law enforcement efforts seem to be provoking new waves of electronic attacks, just like spreading chum for sharks. And the act went international when Serbian hackers defaced the White House Web page during the Kosovo bombing campaign.

Problem is, the federal government is too big to cover its assets. The Defense Department has some of the best computer security in the world and some of the worst. That was why even the Army could get a black eye on the Web; there just weren't enough pairs of security eyeballs and keyboard-entry organs.

The cyberrodent himself has some low-priority systems that could be vulnerable to hacker attack, and he long ago determined to lock them down tight as soon as he could. He knew it would take real work to get all his agency's sites in shape'and some support from his managers.

The Rat's managers have recently been giving him a lot more face time since one of their sites got hosed by a bunch of kewl doodz looking for a place to exercise their newly downloaded hack scripts. A regional agency server running Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 and hosting a citizen feedback site became, for a few hours, yet another Web den of iniquity complete with a stream of insults directed at the system administrators.

Don't make him mad


The Rat took the affronts personally. The hacker shenanigans had caused him to lose face. His department head had screamed, 'What's wrong with you? Why can't we defend ourselves against brainless adolescent sharks?'

The whiskered one knew the time had come to unleash the most fearsome hacking tool known to the biped world: his offspring.

At the end of a nominally normal working day, the Rat brought the ratlings a copy of his system logs. It wasn't long before the little packet sniffers located their quarry. Ironically, the hackers went by the handle of Web Sharkz.

'What newbies,' opined Ratling No. 1. 'They even post a copy of their hacks on their Web site.' In moments, the curlytails had breached the hacker site's security.

'Those lame-os,' Ratling No. 2 moaned. 'Geez, Dad, didn't your site have any security? This code couldn't hack through a wet paper bag. It's all Windoze stuff.'

'Look,' said No. 1 after a few keystrokes. 'They left their own IP addresses in
their own audit trail. Whoever last edited the site logged in from ' '

The younger ratling squinted at the terminal screen, then quietly edged away. He and his bro fled, not wanting to witness their elder's full fury.

The furry one sat down and read the IP address of his own department head's desktop system. And the log showed that the site had been modified to include the Rat's server before the hack had even occurred.

'The fur,' spat the Rat, 'is about to fly.'



The Packet Rat once managed networks but now spends his time ferreting out bad packets in cyberspace. E-mail him at rat@gcn.com.

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