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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Massive Cyberattack or No?

Earlier this week, we learned that we were undergoing "the biggest cyberattack in history" but that was later downgraded and even debunked. Now comes the news that there was a cyberattack and that the attackers used cable boxes to facilitate it.

I have been computing for 20 years now but I admit that I left the computing side behind several years ago. Once plug and play became a real thing, I'm happy to report that I haven't needed to do much more than insert a modem here and a stick of RAM there in years. In that time, things have changed quite a bit. I also cut the cord years ago and haven't had a cable/satellite receiver in all that time. I have DSL and have had it for years now.

I had basically forgotten that the coaxial delivers the signal to cable users - that is, that cable boxes are part of the Internet. In fact, until this story came about, I have to admit that, while I knew this, I never gave it much thought.

However, the story has changed so much since it was first reported that I'm not sure what to think. I only know this: The article I read describing the whole thing suggested cable users call their providers and ask if their box is an "open recursive server" then tell the company they do not want to have one. Even then, it may not matter much according to some experts, and large cable companies seem unwilling to adopt new technologies that would help protect end-users from the problem.

I have no idea how much of this story to believe anymore, though it appears that there is little end-users can do to protect ourselves other than contact our local companies and learn more about the signal coming into our homes. Even then, there is little protection.

© C Harris Lynn, 2013

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