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A blog worth visiting

Sep 11, 20033 mins

* Review of Dave Piscitello’s Weblog

I recently received some digests from Dave Piscitello’s Weblog and visited his site. I am delighted to report that Dave has put together a valuable and entertaining site that readers will much appreciate, not only for its pointers to interesting articles and Dave’s intelligent commentary, but also – especially – for his off-the-wall humor.

The site can be found at:

Dave is a highly respected computer scientist and president of Core Competence. His bio tells us:

“Dave has been involved in internetworking technology for over 25 years. Prior to founding Core Competence, Inc., David won a Bellcore President’s Recognition Award for his contributions to SMDS, ATM and customer network management for switched data services. Dave has authored books on internetworking and remote access, and publishes articles regularly on a variety of subjects, including switched internetworking, ATM and Gigabit Ethernet, Internet security, and virtual private networking. He is also chairman of NetWorld+Interop and TISC Program Committees.”

In his commentary on one article, Dave writes, “The term deep packet inspection firewall has a Star Ship Enterprise connotation. It suggests that this radically new security system goes where no firewall has never gone before, into the brave new world of application headers and data.” He adds ironically, “Deep. Deeper. Deepest! Ooooooh, it must be better.”

In the following report, remember that the descriptions apply to what I saw when I visited; contents change several times a week.

The Anecdotes section has some interesting “Risks Forum Digest”-like entries and also some goofy stuff that’s just fun.

The Articles page links to Dave’s recent articles; for example, there were some fundamentals papers on TCP, a link to “The Sad and Increasingly Deplorable State of Internet Security, a BCR Article,” and “Blocking Public Instant Messaging,” among others.

The Books page had a link to “Foreword to Network Analysis, Architecture, and Design” Dave wrote for “the 2nd Edition of Jim McCabe’s book, Network Analysis, Architecture, and Design.”

The Firewalls section started with an interesting entry from July 12, 2003:

“Design Rule #1: ‘When you pretend to sell a firewall, ensure that it blocks traffic which it is not able to inspect’… If there ever were a definitive list of firewall design rules, you’d have to conclude that if this isn’t design rule number one, it’s got to be in the top five.”

The Hacking section had a entry on SNP-based attacks and another on developing and publishing outlandish attack methodologies. The latter ends with, “Go review some code. Find a buffer overflow. Be useful, not clever.”

The Personal section had an interesting comment about free speech for corporations and a criticism of the widespread, abusive practice of claiming that every corporation is “the industry leader” in whatever they do.

“Rant” is a selection of recent critical commentary on news items; for example, when I visited there was an interesting analysis of Microsoft’s claim to be providing free downloads of eBooks. Turns out the Microsoft site provides many links to eBooks that are readily available elsewhere.

I’ll stop at this point to let readers explore the rest of the site. There’s plenty more: sections on Recent Decent Reading, Security, Speaking, Useful URLs, VPNs, Viruses and Worms, WLANs, Web Security and “Window$.”

Good work, Dave!