Sunday, May 16, 2004

Sasser's effect on the 'net

By now everyone has heard of the latest 'worm' making it's way around the world. For the technologically-challenged of you out there (and I know there are a few of you...), I'll show you how this has an effect on your use of the Internet, even if you aren't infected.

The Sasser worm doesn't do any real damage, but it does greatly effect the performance of the machine it has infested. Basically it's sole purpose is to exploit a recent vulnerability discovered in the Windows operating system, and continue on to it's next victim. The thing that makes this one unique is that no real user participation is required. It has a built in SMTP Server, so it can simply mail itself to the people it finds in your address book...

Basically, whether you're infected or not, you're EFFECTED by the added traffic on the Internet. The overall effect is felt by all of us, as I noticed from my Internet Traffic Report link the other day. Here's a screenshot of what I saw:

This may not mean much to you, but when you look at these:

The picture on the left shows the average response time of servers around the world. The picture on the right shows the "traffic index" as measured by the people at Internet Traffic Report by "pinging" servers in different areas around the globe simultaneously. They take average "ping" times and response times to get the traffic index that you see near the bottom of the menu at the left. As you can see from these screenshots, there was a major "something" happening between the hours of 0600 and 1000 on 5/7 (which is also the same day I started this post... to tell you how long I've been putting this off).

I haven't seen anything that blames this 4-hour spike on Sasser, and it could have been a lot of things, including a problem with the data gathering. But when I saw it, it just gave me an idea of something to post, that maybe some of you weren't aware of the effects in your own corner of the world.

Protecting yourself is fairly easy, and it's something everyone should be doing anyway. Browse to Microsoft's Windows Update page and let Microsoft scan your computer to check for any updates you may be lacking. Those of you who are not sure if you're version of windows is "legit" and are concerned... well, you should be. Pirated versions of Windows XP that are patched have been known to just stop working.

I added a few new pictures to the Kuwait folder. The entire area was just blanketed today in haze and dust. It really does feel like I'm living on a different planet sometimes:

Click here to see the Kuwait Album. I haven't found an easy way to have the latest photos at the beginning of the album, so you'll have to scroll down to see the latest ones. I'm also uploading an 8 second video for you to see. It's from the same spot as the pictures, but you have the added thrill of SOUND.... of course, it's just wind blowing... but you might get a bit of a different perspective.

Shelley posted on the family 'blog the other day for Ryan's 3 month birthday. She should be getting us some new pictures soon, so we'll have those online too.

My address here has changed, in case anyone was planning on sending anything... Not that there's anything I'm expecting... other than new videos from Shelley! We got a camcorder so she could catch things on real video for me... now if I could JUST get her to use the darn thing... ANYway, new address is on the left.

Ok, that's all I've got for now! Love to all!

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