Re: "Nimda"?

From: Greg Williamson (
Date: 02/28/02

Date: Fri, 1 Mar 2002 08:28:16 +1100 (EST)
From: Greg Williamson <>

>Finally, I note that Greg seems to work for (or be in some way
>affiliated with) the National Bank of Australia. If so, perhaps he
>should brush up on his employer's privacy policy, as linked from its
>home page:
>Although that document is clearly aimed at reassuring the bank's
>customers that any personal information about them held by the bank
>will be properly guarded and "respected", it is clear that the bank
>wishes to be seen to not only uphold the letter of the Australian
>law relating to such issues, but to be seen to be exemplary in the
>way it does so. In light of this, I wonder how the bank can have an
>internal policy for IT staff that clearly shows little, if any,
>respect for Australian computer law. If the bank does not have such
>a double standard, does that mean Greg should now (or may soon) be
>facing disciplinary action within the bank?

A long bow here...I'm a little confused how a privacy policy relates to this,
given that the basic precepts of the privacy laws in Australia have not been
broached in any way by any of this - I haven't recorded or published any
personal information on a visitor to my website or one of my customers, but
responded (in a non-destructive a fairly polite manner) to an attempt to
compromise one of my systems. And, although I'm not a lawyer, and particularly
not an IT lawyer, I'd be surprised to see a conviction obtained under Australian
law for any actions I undertook in response to this.

>Let's be generous and assume that when Greg said "With CodeRed, I
>cobbled together ... but also used the root.exe hole to put a
>WinPopup box on the infected machine" he was talking about something
>he did outside the bank and that did not in any way involve bank
>time, computers or network resources. Can the National Bank of
>Australia afford to be publicly seen to be associated with someone
>freely admitting to what almost surely was a criminal act in at least
>one country where at least one machine Greg "notified" resided?

Yes, as it has been suggested, this work was performed on my personal system at
home, routed through my personal ISP, in my own time. Had the attacks been
those received at work, the Bank's normal channels (mainly legal-type ones)
would have kicked in. I'd personally be happier to have a popup or email advise
me of this instead a lawyer or a policeman. It's worth pointing out here that
the NAB was attacked "successfully" by Nimda, and although my systems weren't
affected I spent more than a couple of days working on nothing else. If as it
has been suggested, what I did was considered a criminal act in at least one
country (probably not, given the way CR spread across netblocks) then surely the
argument of self-defence would equally apply. Use of sufficient force to defend
myself without increasing the level of violence or aggression levels is a viable
defence in just about every jurisdiction.

Finally, and this is a tiny little point at the end but ties into the Nimda
reference above, one of the warning messages I sent warned of the ability of a
malicious user to use the CR holes to do much nastier things than I did. Along
came nimda, and the rest is history.


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