Wed, Nov. 26, 2003

Transatlantic Denial of Service Attacks

CK - Washington.   An American software product that forms a valuable line of defense against hackers is the reported cause of an unintended denial of service attack in Germany. A Zonelabs auto-update appears to have caused massive damage to ISPs in Germany after it failed to acknowledge a missing DNS server, assumed against more cautious internet design practices the existence of a properly set DNS router and kept pinging by the millions servers for a non-existing or unavailable address.

Similar incidents, also some involving German software used in the United States, caused distress among network administrators when software buggily pinged servers at high rates or its designers failed to realize that users might modify the software so that it could accidentally or maliciously ping certain targets in a harmful manner. In some cases, demands from were made on the software makers for vast amounts of damages.

Perhaps there is a need to absolve protective software from product liability claims in the same manner that government procurement rules exempt government-specified products from such claims or Homeland Security exemptions cover goods for the defense against terrorism.

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