Chapter 20 Page 7 of 8


“OK, gimme your IP address. I’ll go in and pull them off myself. Is the tape in the drive?”


“You there?” Lorenzo asked impatiently. “Just tell me your IP address. Come on, hurry.”


“OK, leave the tape in the drive,” he said. “I should be able to get in and pull the files out directly.”

“Uh… Lorenzo? I have a firewall here too,” I said.

He chuckled. “Well, we’ll just have to see how good it is won’t we?”

He hung up the phone before I had a chance to say anything more. I turned to Lisa. “He’s going to try to break in. I don’t know how long that is going to take, or if he can even do it.”

“We don’t have much time,” she said. “We should start taking down the firewall.”

We immediately went to work. Lisa had already walked into the bedroom to the bastion host and was sitting at the keyboard. I leaned over her shoulder and typed in the root password at the login prompt and we went to work. There was no time for careful flushing of logs and a proper shutdown. The important thing to do was disable all the packet filtering rules. My router is set up so that in the absence of any filters it denies all packets; it would not be easy to configure it to accept everything. Editing filter rules is always a time-consuming and aggravating task, not quite as bad as working with sendmail config files, but almost. Lisa dumped the rules to the screen and the two of us leaned forward, craning our necks, to study the screen. How could we open up the flood-gates with minimal changes? The easiest thing to do was drop all the rules and then add a single rule that explicitly permits all incoming and outgoing packets on all ports. We had to be careful though because presumably Lorenzo would be trying to get in soon; if we deleted all of the rules first and then worked on adding the new rule, the router would not permit any packets during the interem.

I glanced at the clock icon in the upper right corner of the screen; it was 3:12. I grabbed a pen and began to compose the rule we would need. It would have to permit connections on any port and from any Internet host.

Just then the tape drive pulled itself out of power-saver mode. No sooner had the fan reached full power than the tape itself began to rewind.

Whhirrr… klunk, whheee… klunk, whhirrr…

The tape was advancing a short distance, then rewinding, and then repeating.

“Is that you?” I asked Lisa.

She just stared at it, her mouth drooped open, her hands no longer moving across the keyboard. Neither of us said anything for a moment as we both looked at the small cream-colored box of the tape drive, with the green status light blinking.

“Lorenzo…” whispered Lisa, in a hushed tone.