Monthly Archives: May 2017

The {{{ping}}} of DEATH

An anecdote from the debris strewn shoulder of the information highway.

Well, maybe from the roadcrew who works on the info hightway. Either way, this will be a tale of digirati that those of you versed in the use of command line tools, open ports, internet access and hackers et al may well identify with.

For those of you not so versed, I will put things into laymens terms as only I can.

‘Ping’, in the computer world, is a utility (tool, command) that checks to see if another computer is online and responding. You can equate it to shouting “Hey!” at someone down the hallway and them saying “Yo!” in reply. It always struck me as sort of an echo-like term, sort of an electronic equivalent of that sound the sonar makes in submarine movies. {{{ping}}}

Also, understand that connecting a computer to the internet these days is a lot safer and easier than it was, even a few years ago. Today, your Internet Service Provider (ISP, Comcast, cablevision, Sprint, AT&T, etc.) provide some level of security and monitoring to prevent malicious folk from running amok (roughshod) about the place and causing mahem, chaos, discontent, aggrivation, irreveerance, indigestion, agita, hair loss, irritable bowel syndrome… you get the picture.

But back when I was under the tutilage of the Dingo, things were still fairly unprotected. Not unlike a drunken hot tub party in the 80’s and we all know where that went.

The Dingo and I were fast getting a new office online, when our network monitoring application notified us that someone was scanning our ports. (Intruder Alert!) A port scan is an application the gropes the router in all of its errogenous zones looking for a way inside the network. That is to say, trying the doors and windows to see if anything was unlocked so that the malferous could enter and cause mahem, chaos, discontent, aggrivation…you get it, right?

Our first inclination was to shut down the router and force this jamoke to find other, easier fish to fry. But that would also blow all of our people in the office off the wire and that would create more people who would be experiencing the aforementioned bodily discomfort, which would then result in them projectile vomiting those ills upon us.

No bueno.

But me, being the Birdwell and all, thought differently. What could we do in the way of a counter-attack, I queried.

Well, reply-eth the Dingo, we don’t have any contra-attack applications readily available, but if we did we could simply send him a ‘ping-storm’.

“Ping-storm, eh?” I retorted. “Like if we just kept pinging him until his machine was overwhelmed?”

“Precisely. We call it…the Ping of Death.”








I liked the sound of that.

“And what if we were to just do that very thing ‘long-hand’, like from a few different computers in-house?”

I was met with a perculiar look that conveyed to me that I might be on to something.

Dingo obtained the IP address of the attacker as I went about garnering all of the available pc’s that were not being used. I came up with 3 – mine, Dingo’s and a spare. Then I went about opening a command line (DOS prompt) multiple times and pinged the offending address – 27 separate instances on each machine. We knew we had driven off our attacker when his response times slowed to a crawl, then died all together.

You lose, thanks for trying.








It would be the same as you walking into a room with 81 people in it and saying “Hello, I’m the Birdwell’s minion, how are you?”, waiting for a reply, shaking that person’s hand and then saying, “Nice to meet you, talk to you again soon” to each person as quickly as possible all the while sampling hors d’ovres, sipping champagne, watching the clock and keeping a hacky-sack aloft (because that is what your pc is doing, or something like that). Your head would esplode and you would likely need to wash you hands.

What we had done was overwhelmed this bongo player’s machine to the point where it could not process – anything – anymore. At least until he performed a hard reboot. And by ‘hard’ I mean pull the plug. The three finger salute (Ctrl+Alt+Fark You) would not work because the computer could no longer process imput from the keyboard, it was way too busy responding to pings.  But by that time we had notified the ISP of the offending address this chucklehead was coming from and had him black listed.

Black listed. It’s as bad as it sounds. It means that the ISP knows you are up to no good and then trains a watchful eye on your digital ass.

I took a great deal of satisfaction in it, to be honest. It is not often one gets to stick an electronic boot up some deserved netizen’s porthole.

I am the Birdwell, Network Mutha, and you, whoever the fark you were, are not.





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