July 7, 2000
3:31 PM   Subscribe

Well, here's an interesting one. Slashdot reports that a company called Quova is pinging the entire Internet, and pissing lots of folks off -- partially because they won't say why.

But I'm on the North American Network Operators Group mailing list, populated by the people who run those networks, and I ain't heard squat about it. Whassup widdat?
posted by baylink (8 comments total)
"Re:Now what the .. (Score:5, Interesting)
by FFFish on Friday July 07, @01:01PM EDT (#291)
(User Info)
Based on the senior engineer job posting that someone else mentioned, some of the discussion here and a bit of creative thinking, here's what I believe they are doing:

They are developing localized web advertising. They are working to resolve IP addresses to physical locations: cities and neighbourhoods.

Once they've built a map that translates virtual space to realspace, they can sell advertising services that are far more effective.

Your local retailers, for instance, can advertise to you. Just like they do in your newspaper, only in banner format.

Further, they will be able to target your demographic specifically. Some neighbourhoods are richer than others. No point in selling you McDonald's advertising if you're of La Maison Rouge quality.

The traceroute information is a useful tool in narrowing the location. Plot a traceroute on a map, and you'll intuitively start guessing what part of the country it's going to end up in. At some point it resolves to your local ISP, which gives them your county or city.

Where ping fits in, I dunno, other than perhaps it provides the IP addresses for traceroute to digest. And there is useful information in being able to ping a machine and identify that it's still online in the dead of night: that implies it's a full-time connection, which means you're a cut above the average dial-up user.

What we'd all better hope is that there's no way for them to patent the map. Doing so would be the equivalent of having the patent for the map of all the roads in the country.

ooooh... and tie the IP addresses to DoubleClick's personal database, and they'll be able to do targeted snailmail advertising. If you've got a fulltime connect, your IP is as good as your street address. If you're dialup, the number is shared with others in your locale... but all of you are a distinctly different demographic than the population that doesn't access the Internet.

And, tied to the DC's database, they can really get into the psychographic stuff. "This IP reads a lot of pr0n; this one is a snowboarding junkie; here's one that's been researching home decorating..."

I'm more and more positive that this is their goal!"
posted by tiaka at 3:41 PM on July 7, 2000

Wasn't Cam (maybe someone else) complaining about some sort of portscan/probe a couple of weeks ago? (Couldn't find at his site.) Is this the same thing?
posted by dhartung at 4:26 PM on July 7, 2000

My firewall tells me about all sorts of random connection attempts I get (a few pings, a lot of NetBIOS attemps -- I wonder why mattl.com NetBIOS's me, Matt won't say -- and lots of connections on random ports.) I imagine I've gotten something from these people...
posted by CrayDrygu at 5:05 PM on July 7, 2000

Dan, it was a conversation we had on the CamList, which isn't archived on the web. My site gets lots of weird hits from all kinds of bots. The majority of them are spambots scraping email addresses. F*ckers.
posted by camworld at 5:34 PM on July 7, 2000

Sounds like this is a blatant invasion of privacy, but it's also impossible to police, isn't it? I mean don't people do this all the time? Couldn't a wannabe hacker kid with just enough knowledge to be dangerous set up a series of computers which pinged the world systematically? And then he could scan through what his computers find and go back to IPs that look interesting later, to do more damage or just lurk? I mean, am I wrong in saying this is nothing new?

A friend of mine gave me a firewall proggie awhile back and recommended I used it, but when I researched it, looked like the thing was just very primitive, and anyone who really wanted to could zap past it. It also 'warned' me EVERY time I would bring up ICQ, or try to access an mp3 from a site I hadn't used before. It got very annoying, but is some protection better than no protection at all?

I mean just because I'm paranoid, that doesn't mean they aren't trying to ping me, eh?
posted by ZachsMind at 10:12 PM on July 7, 2000

It's interesting, whether some protection is better than none.

Off-hand, I'd say yes. It prevents your computer from being part of a mass blitz on your ISP's IPs.

At the same time, if there's software out there (and I don't doubt there is, I just don't feel like searching for it) that'll poll an array of computers and return which ports are closed and open, by having some security on your system you're flagging it as being interesting.

Coming from a mild script-kiddie past, I'd say seeing a partially closed box is more alluring then one that's wide open...

I'm a fan of locking down a home network, especially one connected 24/7, completely, but at the same time I want to be able to pipe streaming media, ftp in and out, and host http and mail from home too.

It's a trade off. For every port you leave open, there's N backdoors, so as long as you're aware of where you're vulnerable, partial security is better than none.

I greatly dislike packages that promise a locked-down box, lulling Average User into a false sense of security, that's breached the next time they open a .vbs attachment.

posted by cCranium at 7:16 AM on July 8, 2000

Hey, Cray? The Netbios thing is likely because he's running NT, and it's DNS tries to do WINS queries back out over the internet to people doing DNS lookups. Or something like that; I forget the details...

If he's *not* running NT, I have no idea...
posted by baylink at 3:22 PM on July 8, 2000

I'm just running Windows 98, and generally think I'd look very uninteresting to any hacker. At best they'd get hold of my mp3s, or my personal collection of what I consider to be tasteful yet kinky porn from what I find occasionally on the 'Net. Mostly lesbians doing it. Nothing that would impress people. I have comparatively tame tastes to what I've seen out there.

..Hey! I'm divorced and live alone. What'd you expect? =P Besides it's cheaper than calling phonesex numbers. [if your comment will cause topic drift. Please just email me or start a new thread and link it to this one.]

I think I'll probably go with Cranium's statement that if I put up a firewall, I might risk flagging someone who thinks that a lock on the door is a hint that something valuable might be on the other side. If my computer was up all the time, like if I had a server running, maybe that would make the difference. I am on a DSL, but it's a dynamic IP. I can be connected 24/7 if I want, but I rarely leave the computer on when I leave the house anyway. And windows forces me to reboot enough as it is.

Although maybe that explains why I occasionally get the blue screen of death at times when I'm doing absolutely nothing intensive to the system. Maybe someone just blasts me with a Stupid Hacker Trick just for grins? Would someone be able to do that? Or is the computer freaking out on me just cuz Windows is a piece of crap? Probably the latter.
posted by ZachsMind at 10:16 PM on July 8, 2000

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