Monday, June 28, 2004

Off Topic

This past weekend, I spent sometime pursuing my other diversion: LAN Parties. For those not in the know, LAN parties are where the participants bring their computer(s) to a common location, set up a local area network (LAN) and proceed to slaughter each other in the virtual world of computer games. This past weekend's game of choice was Unreal Tournament 2004.

I am usually responsible for server duties as it is most efficient to have a dedicated machine acting as game server while the other PC's can focus solely on playing the game itself. These games are very CPU/Videocard intensive, so you really don't want any unnecessary processes running which could impact your game experience.

This weekend, there were people who wanted to play but couldn't attend. The normal solution is to open up the required ports on the firewalled internet connection and allow these players to play. However, the person in charge of the network decided to put my server in what's known as a demilitarized zone or DMZ. This zone is basically outside the protection of the firewall and is effectively directly connected to the internet. This is generally a bad idea.

My server machine was one I threw together at the last minute, so I admittedly didn't have all the required Windows XP security patches installed. Had I known this PC would be placed in a DMZ, I'd have never allowed it. My machine was "owned" in less than 2 hours.

Trojans, viruses galore ran rampant through my server machine. I effectively became a spam generator and flooded our LAN with bogus packets causing everyone's experience to be less than ideal. Upon realizing the terrorizing my server suffered through, I took it offline and basically had to reformat and do a fresh install.

So lesson to those who are directly connected to the internet: Run a firewall and keep your machine fully patched!! Can't say this enough as it is many home users who are indirectly responsible for much of the spam that gets generated these days.

Ok, next post will be back on the topic of poker.

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