I’m in Redmond for a couple of days teaching a class and hanging out with John and Jeffrey, who are also teaching classes this week. Saturday morning I fly to Ft. Lauderdale to board a ship for next week’s Geek Cruise. Brent Rector’s going to be there, as is Peter DeBetta. We’ll be teaching a lot of classes next week, and Brent and I are going to try out his new scuba certification by getting wet in the British Virgin Islands and St. Maarten. I have no fear of sharks when Brent’s around because I don’t have to outswim the sharks; I just have to outswim Brent.
On the plane to Seattle yesterday, I flipped through an airline copy of PC World. My old friend (from PC Magazine days) Steve Manes writes for PC World, and I always enjoy reading his column. In his latest missive, Steve warns about the dangers of surfing the Web using public wireless hotspots. I’ve been warning people for a while not to do e-commerce at Starbucks unless the wireless traffic is encrypted, because it’s so easy to steal authentication cookies, passwords, etc. if WEP isn’t enabled. Now there are tools such as WEPCrack and AirSnort that can crack WEP given a sufficient volume of data. Seems no public access point is safe these days.
A hacker took a shot at Wintellect’s Web server this weekend. The attack was pretty interesting: it used a fairly sophisticated form of SQL injection to create and execute an FTP script designed to download a malicious EXE (disguised as a WMV file) from an overseas server to our Web server and execute it. The attack didn’t work because we have multiple defenses in place to thwart such attacks. But it was interesting to view the request log and analyze the technique that the hacker used. I wonder what that EXE would have done to our server had it been downloaded and executed. Nothing good, I’m sure.
Back to the Geek Cruise: I hope to have Internet access on the ship, and if I do, I’ll be sure to post some blog entries from the Caribbean. Meanwhile, last year’s cruise blog is still online. I reread it the other day to get mentally prepared for next week. It’s a tough life, but hey…somebody’s gotta do it. 🙂