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by Tom Berry (trust him - he's older now)

From Russia
Without love

We had a customer call trying to get an important email from an associate in Russia. For some reason the emails incoming were repeatedly blocked. Why? It turns out that the Spam filter that guards the network from Spam and hackers was stopping all traffic from Russia.

Why? Russia has acquired a very bad worldwide reputation for hacking. It may be less true now, but ‘leery’ lives on once trust has been exuberantly broken. Russians really tried hard to do 'the nasty' initially and their government seemed to turn its back on the problem. So, Russia gets blocked.

But not all was lost for our customer. Sure, we could have just opened up traffic to a former Spam Kingdom of Evil but it wasn’t worth jeopardizing the network’s safety. Instead, we white-listed the customer’s Russian e-mail sender so that particular address could come through. This can be done for anyone who needs to receive e-mail from areas of the world that are known to have, let's just say, exhibited different values and ethics.

Most of the good citizens of Russia and other regions known for hacking, need their internet just like we do. And, in time, the governing bodies of those nations get programs in place to illegalize hacking attempts and begin to prosecute. Just like our network, other good networks also protecting themselves from overflow hacker/spam regions: internet commerce to those regions eventually stops and that makes government officials in the troublesome regions take note and do something.

Sad to say that bad hackers, once considered nuisances - maybe troublesome kids building their egos - have long since moved to the realm of professional crime.

The story of mal-hacking practices, starting in the 1990’s, is the story of human nature and humanity. The will of man to take advantage of their fellow man does not seem to wane. That’s not a moral judgment but rather just a look at the broader scope of what happens when you rattle the lock hasp on Pandora's Box to get attention. Some folks just can't avoid the chance to open that box.

The Internet has offered that chance. Grand riches have been made illegally, but we will eventually figure out how to make the internet completely safe. It's a great challenge and one that should be welcomed. You may as well welcome it because we'll deal with it one way or the other.

In the meantime, deal with those you trust. It's business as usual.