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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Internet Needs Patching to Make It Secure

Since a secret emergency meeting of computer security experts at Microsoft’s headquarters in March, Dan Kaminsky has been urging companies around the world to fix a potentially dangerous flaw in the basic plumbing of the Internet.

The flaw that Mr. Kaminsky discovered is in the Domain Name System, a kind of automated phone book that converts human-friendly addresses like into machine-friendly numeric counterparts.

The potential consequences of the flaw are significant. It could allow a criminal to redirect Web traffic secretly, so that a person typing a bank’s actual Web address would be sent to an impostor site set up to steal the user’s name and password. The user might have no clue about the misdirection, and unconfirmed reports in the Web community indicate that attempted attacks are already under way.

Individuals and small companies with some technical skills can protect themselves by changing the network preferences of their computer settings so that they use the domain name servers of a Web service called OpenDNS (

With Security at Risk, a Push to Patch the Web

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