The Risks Digest

The RISKS Digest

Forum on Risks to the Public in Computers and Related Systems

ACM Committee on Computers and Public Policy, Peter G. Neumann, moderator

Volume 21 Issue 75

Monday 19 November 2001


Feds make record counterfeit software seizure
Google freely giving out your phone number and home address
Derek Ziglar
Researchers probe Net's 'dark address space'
Kevin Poulsen via Dewayne Hendricks and David Farber
A large risk of national ID cards
Adam Shostack
Re: Programming error scrambles election results
Hamish Marson
Phil Kos
Re: DoS attack on Mac OS9
Erann Gat
IP: Announcing URIICA - For the Sake of Internet Users Everywhere
REVIEW: "Internet and Computer Ethics for Kids", Winn Schwartau
Rob Slade
Info on RISKS (comp.risks)

Feds make record counterfeit software seizure

<"NewsScan" <>>
Mon, 19 Nov 2001 08:04:38 -0700

California law enforcement officials made the largest seizure of counterfeit
software in U.S. history, estimated to be worth about $100 million. The
products, which originated in Taiwan, included about 31,000 high-quality
copies of Microsoft's Windows Millennium Edition and 2000 Professional
operating systems and tens of thousands of copies of Symantec security
software. "They look so good that the purchaser would not know it was
counterfeit," said Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca. Some of the bogus
discs even carried the "Do not make illegal copies of this disc" warning.
Authorities have arrested three people on bribery conspiracy and smuggling
charges, and another has been charged with state violations of
counterfeiting a registered trademark. [AP 16 Nov 2001; NewsScan Daily, 19
Nov 2001]

Google freely giving out your phone number and home address

<"Derek Ziglar" <>>
Tue, 13 Nov 2001 09:24:58 -0500

If you are in the USA, try searching in Google for your name, followed
by your city, state or zip code--such as: Bob Smith Alaska. The first
results you get may well be your home phone number, home address, and a
link to a map (in some cases with a satellite photo of your house, too).

The RISKS are staggering that this type of personal information is being
automatically given out to people that weren't even asking for it. Sure,
they were looking for some information about you. But cross linking data
across purposes (web search versus telephone lookup) is one of the biggest
privacy risks of the modern connected database age. It rapidly becomes
one-stop shopping for everything anyone would want to know about
you--whether they were asking for all that detail or not!

In addition, Google does not provide any obvious mechanism to request
removal from this telephone listing.

Derek Ziglar (city and state withheld for obvious reasons)

Researchers probe Net's 'dark address space' (From Dave's IP)

<David Farber <>>
Thu, 15 Nov 2001 15:53:54 -0500

>From: Dewayne Hendricks <>

Researchers probe Net's 'dark address space'
By Kevin Poulsen
Posted: 15/11/2001 at 02:30 GMT

Broadband customers and US military systems are the most common victims of
an online phenomenon researchers have dubbed "dark address space," which
leaves some 100 million hosts completely unreachable from portions of the

For a variety of reasons ranging from contract disputes among network
operators to simple router mis-configuration, over five percent of the
Internet's routable address space lacks global connectivity, according to
the results of a three-year study by researchers at Massachusetts-based
Arbor Networks, to be released Tuesday.

"Popular belief holds that the Internet represents a completely connected
graph," says Craig Labovitz, Arbor Networks' director of network
architecture. "It turns out that's just not true."

Anecdotal evidence has long hinted at the existence of dark address space,
but the researchers shed light on the subject by continuously gathering and
analyzing core routing tables for three years. In the end, they found that
for much of the Internet, the shortest path between two points doesn't

The most common factors contributing to dark address space: aggressive
route filtering by network operators seeking to ease the load on
equipment, and accidental mis-configuration. US military sites frequently
fall into the shadow zone because they often occupy neglected 'Milnet'
address blocks dating back to the Internet's stone age. Why cable modem
customers also top the list remains one of the unsolved mysteries in the
project, says Labovitz, who describes the research findings as preliminary.

Murky Crime
Despite the large number of hosts that fall into the partitioned space,
the phenomenon is generally not noticeable to average Internet users
because most Netizens only use a tiny portion of the Net. "Most people
access five or ten web sites," Labovitz says.

The study was conducted by Labovitz, Michael Bailey and Abha Ahuja.  [...]

  [For IP archives see:]

A large risk of national ID cards

<Adam Shostack <>>
Mon, 12 Nov 2001 09:58:12 -0500

  (In response to

I believe that there is an important risk, that of reliance, that will
accompany a high-tech national ID card.  Every terrorist commits their first
act of terrorism at some time in their life, and before that time, they
cannot be any database of known terrorists.

Once you start issuing cards, people will start relying on 'identity
verification' rather than threat management.  We'll see people relying on
background checks [1] rather than xrays.  We'll see special lines for
frequent fliers, who are 'known trustworthy.'  They differ from pilots and
flight crew in that they don't run into co-workers who can notice and react
to strange behavior before the flight.  If you want to keep knives and guns
off of planes, the answer lies in xrays, magnetometers, and other searching
technology, not in believing that you know who's who.  Many of the national
id card risks come from a layer of indirection from the real problem, which
is not "Is Alice trusted," but, "Is the person in front of me trusted?"
National ID cards not only do nothing to solve this problem, they distract
us from attempting to solve it.

[1] See the last para of

Re: Programming error scrambles election results (RISKS-21.74)

<Hamish Marson <>>
Mon, 12 Nov 2001 14:37:21 +0000

The question remains. why oh why do companies insist on believing that the
programmer is the best person to check, test and validate a piece of
software that THEY have written.

Not withstanding blatant bugs in the implementation of the logic, a tester
will only test (Baring bugs in their testing of course :) what they
anticipate the inputs to be. If the same people do the testing that did the
programming, you are potentially missing out on whole swathes of input,
because the same person doesn't realise they should be testing something
they never thought of in the first place...

Personally I like to think that anything I written isn't ready for prime
time until at least one other person who UNDERSTANDS THE PROBLEM BEING
SOLVED has had a chance to throw their data at it & verify if valid data
comes out the other end.

Re: Programming error scrambles election results (RISKS-21.74)

<Phil Kos <>>
Fri, 16 Nov 2001 18:20:02 -0800

> .... a veteran county employee claimed to have tested his code, but
> apparently had not actually done so.

Is it just me, or has anyone else noted that the two primary RISKs here are
developers "testing" their own code and managers who think that software
development is that trivial? I don't care how experienced a developer is,
nobody (not even I! ;) can be relied on to find their own bugs. I would have
certainly chastised the developer for not doing his job well enough, but I
wouldn't had fired him. Instead I would have fired the people above him in
the county bureaucracy who feel that critical software doesn't need to be
tested--they're the truly dangerous ones here, and they're presumably still
conducting business as usual now that they've sacrificed their scapegoat.

  [Testing by other folks is of course not sufficient.  But even more
  critical, design and code reviews are also useful in trying to detect
  Trojan horses, trapdoors, etc., placed intentionally by developers with
  the expectation that they would facilitate rigging elections.  PGN]

Re: DoS attack on Mac OS9 (RISKS-21.73-74)

<Erann Gat <>>
Mon, 12 Nov 2001 14:14:53 -0800 (PST)

Another masterful display of editorial subtlety from our esteemed moderator:

From: "William Kucharski" <>

> The risk in MacOS 9 is not surprising, and not really a RISK.  Not
> unless you're expecting the Multiple Users feature of MacOS 9 to provide
> anything more than rudimentary security.

From: Carl Maniscalco <>

> In my opinion, anyone who leaves a computer unattended in that state in
> an insecure environment probably deserves whatever he gets.

So on the one hand the security is so weak that the only risk is that users
might be foolish enough to think that the feature is something more than a
simple facade, but on the other hand the security is so strong that we are
justified in blaming the victims of maliciousness or, more to the point,
typos, for not being able to log in to their own machines any more.

I really don't want to belabor this, but both of these respondents seem to
have missed the point: I never meant to suggest that the OS9 multiple users
feature should be taken seriously as a security measure.  That's why the
subject of my post was "DoS attack on Mac OS9" and not "Security weakness in
Mac OS9". The problem is not that security is weak (well, that's a problem
too, but not the one I was talking about) but that the password can be
changed without knowing the old password and without confirming the new
password (which is, of course, not echoed on the screen). I'll grant that in
reality attacks from malicious users are probably not a major concern, but
if there's only one account on your machine and you decide to change its
password then you had better type it in very, very carefully.

Erann Gat <>

IP: Announcing URIICA - For the Sake of Internet Users Everywhere

<"Peter G. Neumann" <>>
Wed, 14 Nov 2001 07:55:43 -0500

Announcing "URIICA" - Union for Representative International Internet
	              Cooperation and Analysis

					Lauren Weinstein
					Peter G. Neumann
					David J. Farber

					November 13, 2001

An Open Letter to the Global Internet Community

     == Executive Summary ==

The Internet has become too important for its development, management,
security, and other critical aspects to continue largely on an ad hoc
basis.  Internet-related issues, which now impact our world and lives in a
vast number of ways, are usually approached in isolation from one another by
existing organizations, and often in parochial and non-representative ways.

We submit that a new organization is needed, created specifically to provide
guidance relating to Internet functions and issues on an international and
truly representative basis.  Such an organization could also help establish
confidence that the Internet exists to benefit people everywhere, not merely
commercial and other special interests.  We offer URIICA — Union for
Representative International Internet Cooperation and Analysis — as a
possible first step towards building such a future.


URIICA - Union for Representative International Internet Cooperation
          and Analysis -

In the more than thirty years since its genesis, the technology of the
Internet has evolved from a little-known experiment to a major part of the
world's infrastructures, with massive impacts throughout nearly every aspect
of our cultures and lives — from government to commerce, and from education
to entertainment.  Over the decades, innumerable individuals and informal
groups have labored to make the Internet what it is today.  Formal
organizations have also played crucial roles, including ISOC, IETF, and
ICANN, to name only three among many.

But while the technical evolution of the Internet has been extraordinary in
many respects, the ways in which the Internet is "managed" appear to be
increasingly ill-suited in terms of overall planning, coordination,
security, reliability, privacy, and numerous other key attributes.  Of equal
concern is the perception that Internet development has become largely
hostage to well-heeled, vested interests.  There are few and ever-decreasing
opportunities for meaningful input on Internet issues from nonprofit
organizations or ordinary Internet users without significant financial

These problems have been exacerbated by the historically isolated nature of
many organizations working on Internet issues.  There is a tendency for each
such group to concentrate mainly on their own interests, with little
coordination with other groups or persons who may have different points of
view.  There are also indications that some organizations have moved to
extend their influence beyond their true competencies, and that those who
have come to wield de facto power over controversial Internet-related issues
may do so without a due consideration of international concerns, true
representation, or even ordinary fairness.

In the People For Internet Responsibility (PFIR) "Statement on Internet
Policies, Regulations, and Control" [1], and "PFIR Proposal for a
Representative Global Internet Policy Organization" [2], it has been
suggested that the creation of a new international organization specifically
to address these issues is a necessary step to successfully bring the
Internet out of the age of turf wars and amateur theatrics into its
appropriate role as a critical resource for the *entire* world and *all* of
its peoples.  Of course, moving from theory to practice is often difficult,
particularly when dealing with the founding of organizations that must
tackle controversial issues.

However, the rising importance of the Internet and the continuing decline in
public confidence regarding its operations suggest that action is urgently
needed now.  It is with this in mind that we offer "URIICA" - Union for
Representative International Internet Cooperation and Analysis
(  The name may be long, but its premise and goal is
basically simple:

     The Internet should be dedicated to the needs and well-being of
     people all over the world, in a truly representative and fair manner.

We offer URIICA as a forum for discussion, planning, and for building a
framework towards accomplishing this goal, by bringing together in a
*representative* manner an *international* group of diverse persons,
organizations, and other groups who have commitments to the future of an
open Internet.  These participants will not only encompass commercial
interests, but also a wide range of nonprofit organizations, educational
institutions, government agencies, individual Internet users, and anyone
else who is willing to sit down and work for the common good.  We visualize
URIICA as being a very big tent indeed, with a structure created from the
ground up to encompass both domestic and international concerns, based upon
balanced, fair representation for everyone involved.

We do not present URIICA as a fait accompli.  There are innumerable details
to be considered.  But we hope URIICA will be a useful vehicle to bring
together many persons and organizations for the work, debate, and serious
long-term planning that is desperately needed.  The Internet needs vision
and dedication to be a beacon of hope for the future, and not merely a
hi-tech mediocrity.

If you're interested in helping, or have other comments, we'd very
much appreciate hearing from you.  General comments and questions
can be e-mailed to:

Please also feel free to call Lauren Weinstein on +1 (818) 225-2800
(M-F 9:30 AM - 5:30 PM Pacific Time) if you wish to discuss this effort.

If you'd like to join a (low-volume) e-mail list dedicated to URIICA and
these issues, please send the message text:


as the first text in the body of a message (the "Subject" field doesn't
matter) to:

Over two millennia ago, the Greek mathematician Archimedes exclaimed "Eureka!"
("I have found it!") when he solved a vexing mathematical problem.  We hope
that URIICA can be of value in helping us all move towards solving many of
the important problems of the Internet that we face both today and
tomorrow.  Thank you, and our best wishes to you all.

     [1] PFIR Statement on Internet Policies, Regulations, and Control

     [2] PFIR Proposal for a Representative Global Internet Policy Organization


Lauren Weinstein or or
    Tel: +1 (818) 225-2800
    Co-Founder, PFIR - People For Internet Responsibility -
    Co-Founder, Fact Squad -
    Co-Founder, URIICA - Union for Representative International Internet
                         Cooperation and Analysis -
    Moderator, PRIVACY Forum -
    Member, ACM Committee on Computers and Public Policy

Peter G. Neumann or or
    Tel: +1 (650) 859-2375
    Co-Founder, PFIR - People For Internet Responsibility -
    Co-Founder, Fact Squad -
    Co-Founder, URIICA - Union for Representative International Internet
                         Cooperation and Analysis -
    Moderator, RISKS Forum -
    Chairman, ACM Committee on Computers and Public Policy

David J. Farber
    Tel: +1 (610) 304-9127
    Member of the Board of Trustees EFF -
    Member of the Advisory Board — EPIC -
    Member of the Advisory Board — CDT -
    Member of Board of Directors — PFIR -
    Co-Founder, URIICA - Union for Representative International Internet
                         Cooperation and Analysis -
    Member of the Executive Committee USACM

(Affiliations shown for identification only.)

REVIEW: "Internet and Computer Ethics for Kids", Winn Schwartau

<Rob Slade <>>
Thu, 15 Nov 2001 08:03:15 -0800

BKINCMEK.RVW   20010815

"Internet and Computer Ethics for Kids", Winn Schwartau, 2001,
0-9628700-5-6, U$15.95/C$24.95
%A   Winn Schwartau
%C   11511 Pine St. N., Seminole, FL   33772
%D   2001
%G   0-9628700-5-6
%I   Inter.Pact Press
%O   U$15.95/C$24.95 727-393-6600 fax: 727-393-6361
%P   ~150 p.
%T   "Internet and Computer Ethics for Kids"

Computer ethics can be a very frustrating field.  Professional organizations
appear to have abandoned the area: they seem to have given up on the idea of
"codes of ethics" and now prefer to write "codes of conduct."  "Values
education" has progressed very little in the last thirty years.  All of us
seem to be the disciples of Kohlberg, and assume that by sitting around
discussing ethics, moral dilemmas, and scenarios, we will all somehow become
moral individuals.

And that's for the adults.

For kids, the task is even more important, and much more difficult.  Maybe
it's impossible.  But it is good to see that someone has at least given it a
try.  I don't agree with everything Winn has done, but he has produced a
valuable and helpful tool.  I hope that a great many people try it out, and,
if it needs tuning, feed ideas back to improve it.

This volume is a tool, and must be seen as such to be valued.  Schwartau
has, probably wisely, not attempted to provide a full examination of ethical
theories or systems.  The chapters are all very short: they are
introductions, not expositions.  (As Blaise Pascal famously noted, it takes
much longer, and much more work, to write a short piece than a long one.)
The text is generally possible for the sixth grade reader, and is backed up
with a short section on relevant ideas from the law, topics to think about
and discuss, and resources for further study and research.

Unfortunately, the work starts out weakly.  The introduction is vague.
Seemingly the book is addressed to everyone.  The preface also states that
the book has questions, but no answers.  A second introduction is more
personal, but no clearer as to the intent of the text.

Chapter one states that there are no rules, and then lays out some rules.
Aside from the contradiction, which may be too subtle for the younger end of
the audience, but which will probably be picked up by the later teens,
relativism makes it difficult to discuss ethics at all.  To the question of
what ethics are, chapter two has little explanation except to say that they
are the "little voices."  A brief Internet history is probably supposed to
point out that the Internet has grown too fast for formal regulation, in
chapter three.  Chapter four starts out by raging against stereotypes of all
kinds, and then stereotypes the media.  The text also tersely outlines
various types of hackers.  Chapter five is a scenario, a rather simplistic
story of a young person who is very clearly dealt with unfairly by "the
Establishment," whose only possible recourse is to make unauthorized
alteration of data on a computer.

The material starts to get stronger as it becomes more specific.  Passwords,
and the needs for strong ones, are discussed in chapter six.  Graffiti is
equated with web page defacement in chapter seven.  Phone phreaking, war
dialing, and anonymity are defined in eight to ten.  Malware, viruses and
trojan horse programs, are covered in chapters eleven and twelve.  Chapters
thirteen and fourteen deal with spoofing and spam.  Chapter fifteen points
out that you have no idea whether what is said on the net is true, which
leads to discussions of scams, online business, and rumours in sixteen to
eighteen.  Stealing, in chapter nineteen, leads to examinations of software
piracy and plagiarism.

Chapters twenty two to twenty five look at the more ambiguous topics of
social engineering, flaming, meeting people, and stalking.  Technical
subjects, digital special effects and eavesdropping, get a brief look in
chapters twenty six and twenty seven.

The topics get harder as chapter twenty eight deals with pornography, then
two chapters on privacy, another on monitoring, and ratting on others.

Although the topics could be presented in various sequences, it might have
been better to place chapter thirty three, discussing ethics and the law,
closer to chapter two.  But it is also a good lead-in to civil disobedience
and hacktivism, in chapter thirty four.

The review of personal responsibility, in chapter thirty five, is very good.
"Computer Police," in thirty six, deals mostly with law enforcement
concerns, with a brief mention of vigilantism.  An interesting juxtaposition
with chapter thirty seven, on getting caught.

Chapter thirty eight, asks who makes the rules, but deals primarily with the
home and who is in charge.  Again, making ethical decisions, in thirty nine,
is good, but should be related to two and thirty three.

Although it finishes off the book, chapter forty, and cyber-parenting, is
the introduction for parents and teachers.  It is quite realistic and

A final set of pages is probably an important part of the book.  A set of
lined pages, they are important exercises for self-examination, headed with
"My Personal CyberEthics," "My Family's CyberRules," "My Friends'
CyberEthics," "CyberRules at My Friends' House," "CyberRules at School,"
"What My Parents Need to Learn," "What My Teachers Need to Learn," "My
Company's CyberEthics and Rules," and "What I think I Need to Learn."

I won't give this book to my grandchildren, even though the oldest would
probably be able to read a good part of it.  But I will give it to their

Not being a marketroid, I will not say that this book is a "must have" for
anyone with kids.  Unlike many other books, and like many computer
technologies, it must be used to be of any value.  Parents can't simply
present it to their children and forget it: to do so would be to teach that
ethics are not important.  If you want to get anything out of this work, you
will have to read it with your kids, or give it to them to read, and discuss
it with them.  It can be read in an afternoon, but shouldn't be.  The
material should be taken a chapter at a time, perhaps once a week, perhaps
at even longer intervals.  It may take years to finish this slim volume (by
which time all the URLs may be 404).  As the adult you will have to be
patient, and accept that the discussions may not proceed in straight lines,
as you think they should.

The end result, though, should be worth it.  You'll have ethical kids.

copyright Robert M. Slade, 2001   BKINCMEK.RVW   20010815    or

Please report problems with the web pages to the maintainer