The good, the bad, and the ugly
Although I haven't recorded a blog entry for every ride and every experience, I decided to jot down a few one-liners that summarize many of them.
As the wheel turns…
I've been doing a lot of riding, reading about riding, thinking about riding, but very little writing about riding.
Jenny has been my constant riding companion this year. It's been a lot of fun. The guys at the office surely don't read my weblog. If they do, my admission that I'm still as much in love with my wife as I was the day we were married will shatter the image I've created. But it's true. There's nobody I'd rather ride with.
Last Saturday, Jenny took a spill. Her first
– ever – as far as I
know. We were leaving the
at the Flora Road access. There is a short but very steep climb from
the trail to the road. I charged up the short rise. Behind me, I heard
what sounded like a cleat coming out of a pedal, only much louder.
Looking back, I didn't see Jenny's green helmet coming into view as I
expected, so I spun around and charged back.
There she was, standing on the trail, bike in hand, seat pointing sideways, with fire in her eyes. She was furious with her bike and herself. The chain had jammed then come off at the steepest part of the short rise. She immediately rolled backwards and went down, unable to disengage her feet from the pedals quickly enough.
Back on the bike, she did a Lance Armstrong: she surged ahead so fast I thought I wouldn't see her again until I finally made it home.
Sunday, we discovered the real problem. A pin had worked its way loose and was occasionally getting jammed between the chain rings. We made a 35 mile ride to Rockford and back. Just a few miles into the return trip, Jenny's chain jammed hard. Examining it at the side of the road I finally realized what had caused her fall on Saturday.
We were stuck. I didn't have a chain tool and we were many long miles from home.
With my head down, I didn't even see the cyclists approaching from the
other direction. When the pair of riders was directly across the road
from us, one of them shouted,
Do you need any help? Her unexpected
call startled me.
You wouldn't happen to have a chain tool, would you? I replied.
I just bought this neat tool kit, she said. "I don't know what's in
They circled around to our side of the road and pulled up behind us. She handed me her tool kit, which did, indeed, have a chain tool. Two minutes later, with barely an interruption in our ride, we were back in business and headed home.
To our fellow cyclists, whose names we failed to ask, THANK YOU!
Sobig.F Worm Attack
Yesterday, I had an extremely frustrating experience with the W32.Sobig.F worm. Even though, as a Linux user, I was not susceptible to an infection, this ugly worm inflicted quite a bit of pain.
Between 7:27 AM an 12:05 PM, I received 125 e-mail messages addressed to my Bigfoot.com forwarding address, each containing the worm.
All the messages came from the same, infected machine at a university in
Sweden. If the messages had been sent directly to my personal e-mail
address, hosted on a system I manage, it would have been trivial to
stop the attack
– I could have simply blocked all traffic from the
offending IP address at the firewall, or added it to the
RBL I use to block known spammers and mail
But this attack was hitting my Bigfoot.com address. Bigfoot.com is a forwarding service, so all the worm laden messages were coming from Bigfoot.com's mail server. Blocking that address would have blocked all legitimate messages sent to my Bigfoot.com address as well as those containing the worm.
Worse, Bigfoot.com has a daily message limit. I'm a paid subscriber, which entitles me to 150 messages per day. Even with the amount of spam I receive, that limit has always been more than adequate to handle my needs. Had the Sobig.F attack continued much longer, however, I might have had my mail account temporarily suspended due to the volume. I was expecting a very important e-mail message and having it delayed or lost would have been painful.
Bigfoot.com has an
emergency help desk address. I fired off a message
with attached headers from one of the worm laden e-mails and asked them
to please block the offending address.
I tracked the offending, originating IP address to a Swedish university and sent a message with appropriate details to their abuse address.
I did receive a reply from the university. Bigfoot never responded. At 12:05 PM, 4 hours and 38 minutes after the attack began, 1 hour and 39 minutes after I contacted the university, the worm storm stopped.
In addition to the messages with worm payloads, I received several
undeliverable messages. Sobig.F forges
from addresses from the same
pool of addresses it targets. I also received some automated replies
from auto-responder addresses that had been targeted by the worm and
where my address had been forged as the source address.
I narrowly escaped exceeding my daily message limit at Bigfoot.com and, thankfully, I got the important e-mail message I was expecting.
Without any feedback from Bigfoot.com, and with only the acknowledgement that my message had been received and was being investigated at the university in Sweden, I don't know where to give credit for stopping the attack. It is, of course, possible that neither was directly responsible. The user of the infected machine may have found and fixed the problem.
In any case, the Sobig.F attack demonstrated that worms can have devastating effects even to systems that are properly protected and not vulnerable to direct infections.
This site is the personal weblog of Marc Mims. You can contact Marc
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Marc writes here about cycling, programming, Linux, and other items of personal interest.
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CSS stolen from Tom Coates who didn't even complain.