A solution for DDOS packet flooding attacks

This article summarizes a proposed solution to thwart DDOS attacks on the internet based on PEIP (Path Enhanced IP), an extension to the IP protocol.

On Friday, October 21, 2016, a major DDOS attack crippled access to major Web sites, including Amazon and Netflix.

PEIP and Fair Service are proposals by Don Cohen that may have been able to mitigate this attack. PEIP extends the IP protocol (the Internet Protocol, the basis of the internet) to provide information that allows determining the router-to-router path of packets sent over the internet. Currently, when an IP packet is received by a router, there is no information stored with the packet to indicate the sequence of routers the packet traversed on its way to the destination (DDOS target). This enables hackers to get away with setting up zombie processes on a multitude of hosts that send packets to attack a destination IP address by forging the source address and simply flooding the destination with those packets. Since the IP packets that arrive at the target host do not contain information about the actual sequence of routers that the packet traversed on its way to the targeted host and since the source IP address is forged, it is very difficult to determine which packets are real and which ones are part of the attack.

PEIP and Fair Service could be a game changer if adopted by enough ISPs and router manufacturers. Using PEIP, it becomes possible to determine, for each packet arriving at a target host being attacked, what path of routers was used to deliver the packet. It then becomes possible to thwart DDOS attacks not by denying packets but, rather, by ONLY allowing each incoming path of routers to receive their “fair share” of service. I.e., rather than attempting to figure out which packets are attack packets, which is not possible due to forged source IP addresses, instead, the solution is to allow in the forged packets but ONLY GIVE THEM A SMALL PERCENTAGE OF THE ALLOWED TRAFFIC ARRIVING AT THE TARGETED HOST. The idea is that packets arriving via routing paths that are not compromised by the attack will receive service. The attacking path still receives service but only a small fraction and no more than all of the uncompromised paths, rendering the DDOS attack ineffective in most cases. Hence the term Fair Service to describe this approach to DDOS mitigation.

Fair Service and PEIP are have been implemented in test networks and are described in detail in A Fair Service Approach to Defending Against Packet Flooding Attacks and Changing IP
to Eliminate Source Forgery
(proposals dates back to 2001).

I know Don Cohen and K. Narayanswamy personally and vouch for the veracity of what is claimed and documented in this paper. DDOS is a sufficiently important problem that an infrastructure-wide solution such as PEIP and Fair Service should be considered by Cisco and other router manufacturers and ISPs as a way to greatly lessen the threat of DDOS. Don and Swamy contacted Cisco (and some ISPs) over ten years ago to make them aware of this solution to the DDOS problem but, among other things, Cisco did not want to modify its routers, which would be necessary to properly implement PEIP. The recent DDOS attack of October 21, 2016 is a reminder that we still need to improve the infrastructure (if not via PEIP then in some way) in order to properly deal with DDOS. Don Cohen would still be happy to hear from Cisco, other router manufacturers and major ISPs to answer any questions they have as to why PEIP and Fair Service is a viable approach to mitigating DDOS attacks. Contacts: Don Cohen <don@isis.cs3-inc.com> and K. Narayanaswamy <swamy@cs3-inc.com>.

Dennis G. Allard
Santa Monica
October 22, 2016

Supreme court continues evil immigration policy

Hard working immigrants had hope that parents who are undocumented but who have children born in the United States would be able to receive a permit to work lawfully and a social security number and officially contribute to the economy just as they now do unofficially and often in fear of deportation.

In the Nineteenth century the Supreme Court would rule against native Americans because those savages did not make productive use of the land so allowed the white man to take that land away from those who had so long honored it.

In 1997, President Bill Clinton made a “compromise” deal to get NAFTA passed by drastically modifying immigration policy to make it much harder for undocumented workers to obtain a path to citizenship, requiring them to demonstrate “extreme hardship” in order to legally stay in this country. It is not considered extreme hardship to force a father or mother to be removed from their children or force the children to leave the only country they have known and go to a distant land where hardship is what prompted their parents to come to the United States to begin with.

So this Supreme Court is just following in that long march of those who dominate over those who often do the hardest and least paid work in our economy. Shame on the Supreme Court justices who voted to once again stymie human progress.

An article at Politico covers the story in some detail

Dennis G. Allard
Santa Monica, CA
June 23, 2016

8. My brother still believes he was victimized by mind control

Chapter 8 in a series on mental illness.

This post includes recent updates and will be updated from time to time since my brother’s recent relapse.

[latest update]

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After my brother was released from the California Department of Corrections back to free society, I asked the question Is my brother cured of mental illness?

That question is naive and simplistic. And, as you can see for yourself from my brother’s own post here in this blog Am I Really Mentally Ill? , he is as convinced as ever that he was subject to mind control by nefarious forces operated by Masons, he remains anti-jewish, and his beliefs that certain scientifically impossible phenomenon are possible (such as beaming thoughts into his brain or reading his thoughts) remain an entrenched part of his belief system.

So, I am letting him have that last word in these pages. You may judge for yourself if “cure” applies to my bother.

I am at a point in my life where even for my own brother I prefer to distance myself from spending time with people who have egregiously irrational prejudices against jews and who believe in nefarious forces governing the world with simplistic explanations such as masonic cults. I will try to be there for my brother as a friend when I can be.

But, using my prerogative as editor and publisher of these pages, for now at least, this will be the last post in this section of the OP Column on the subject of Mental Health. I am making the editorial decision to provide my brother with his last word on this subject but not to enable these pages to become a forum for vitriolic ravings against jews, masons, mind control conspiracies, etc.

If Tony chooses to make such posts on some other blog site I will provide a link here to that site.

If a time comes where my brother Tony is amenable to republishing an edited version of our original YouTube interview and doing a follow up conversation with me, both of those videos will be published here.

I hope some of the writing here by both me and by my brother are instructive for those who have relatives who have these kinds of thoughts.

UPDATE of June 5, 2016: Unfortunately, a few days ago I got a call from my other brother saying that the police had taken my brother to a medical center for psychiatric observation, a 72 hour hold which has since been changed to be a two week hold. I don’t know the details. It appears my brother has decompensated or is in the process of so doing. I will not continue chronicling my brother’s history any more. If he manages to regain stability I will ask him to write another post in this blog at some time in the future.

Up until a few weeks ago, my brother was doing pretty good. He had made it through a six month program at a half-way house and had been renting a room at a fairly low rent that he could afford. He seemed stable and was not going around threatening people or damaging property, so that’s all good. But then he decided to leave his room rental situation and move to a hotel room in Hollywood and now I get this call from our other brother that Tony has been taken in again for psychiatric evaluation. Oh my.

UPDATE of December 8, 2016: Tony’s relapse in June lasted a couple of weeks but then he began taking his meds again and was able to continue living in a room he had rented in Lancaster. He was not happy with his situation there and changed to renting a room in Palmdale. I thought it fortunate that he was able to find landlords who would rent him space since he was up front with them about his recent incarcerations and treatments. Partly, he was accepted because his landlords had themselves been in treatment programs. But after another three months all of that came to naught. He gambled away the last $3000 he had in savings. For reasons I cannot myself remember, I made the mistake of agreeing to let him live in a spare room in my house starting in September. The situation at first was stable. Tony helped me do some repairs and seemed stable. He helped my fix up our little house out in the desert, very competently designing and installing an interior cover for our swamp cooler vent. He also designed and built a fiber-glass extension to my fence. It was very good work. I was being a “nice brother” letting him live rent free as he would hopefully save enough money to go visit a friend in Brussels who he claimed would provide a room for a very reasonable rent and permit Tony to do some writing. But around mid November things degenerated again. Looking back on messages I exchanged with him it all happened so fast. One day he’s normal Tony, within a week or two he’s a different person. The pattern of the past was repeating. Tony began talking very quickly having rampant fight of ideas. He became paranoid about some young French friends who had been visiting me, became very agitated, falling back to expressing anti-semitic views, and then moved out and stayed in hotels because he “did not like” my young French guests, one of whom was the daughter of friends of mine in France. These young adults would not harm a fly. Tony has already been obsessing about politics again and was for the first time I recall becoming a right wing bigot. It was confusing and frustrating. Tony was becoming delusional again and I told him I did not want him to live with me and to please find another place to live (as he had proven he could do in Lancaster and Palmdale). The situation worsened. I was going through my own issues and this was an additional concern for me that was hard to cope with. Tony left by bus to go North, his belief being he could visit a friend in Santa Barbara and another in Portland. Neither of those friends expected him nor did they wish to nor did they have the ability to house him in his condition.

During that time, my other brother and I received phone calls from Tony after Tony had borrowed someone’s cell phone or asked someone to make a call on his behalf. He told me that his shoes had been stolen and he was barefoot. One night he called me from San Jose so I looked up a homeless shelter near by but he hung up before I could arrange for him to go there. The next night he called me from SFO airport. I refused by buy him a ticket to L.A. but I did arrange for Lyft to take him to the homeless shelter I had found the previous night down in San Jose. That is the Silicon valley, one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the world. I hoped the shelter there might be a good one. The next day he called to say he disliked that shelter, that the bathroom was filthy, and that he only got a couple hours sleep and when he awoke someone was standing over him looking at him. The next night he was in Santa Cruz and called my brother asking him to arrange for a “private ambulance” because he could not walk. He was barefoot and had been barefoot for one or two weeks. Eric told him no but talked to the stranger whose phone Tony has borrowed. The stranger told him they had dialed 911 and an ambulance was on its way. We were able to determine that Tony was taken to a hospital but had no other information. A day later Tony called me again from Santa Cruz. He told me he had stayed in an ER where the ambulance had taken him for a couple of hours but then asked for a bed and was told to leave. They had given him some thick socks but no shoes. He said he just walked around in the early morning air to avoid getting hypothermia. He has a friend there who he had met at Atascadero State Hospital. That friend has housing in Santa Cruz but is not in a position to house Tony. It struck me that his friend’s housing was the kind of thing the Tony could use and that seems to work well for some people who accept that kind of help. Tony never likes being housed ini government subsidized housinig and is what could be termed resistant to treatment. At some level I don’t blame him but in reality, it is the only thing that seems to have enabled him to stay stable for long periods of time.

Continuing with the story, two more days went by.

Yesterday Tony showed up at my door, having taken the bus back to L.A. I had taken the day off from work sick and was trying to rest. But of course I let Tony in. He took a shower and a bath. I gave him some lentil soup I had made and he retrieved some clothing, which I had laundered for him during his absence. But then he left, supposedly to “take a train to Portland” where he has another friend, someone from our neighborhood when we were teenagers. I was numb. I did not wish to house him but had offered to take him to an emergency shelter that I had found via a homeless hotline phone call. He would not accept that. One of his feet was swollen. I gave him my sandals so he had some protection for his feet. I also offered to go to New Balance and buy him some large shoes (he is 6′ 3″ and has size 13+ very wide feet – and the swelling makes it nearly impossible to fit shoes). He refused the shoes idea. I let him go. That’s not even the right way to say it. I did not want him to stay and he was determined to leave. I both have feelings of guilt for somehow not wanting to nor being able to help him while at the same time feelings of annoyance at a society that is unable to provide services for someone like my brother, forcing the family to suffer the results of the mental illness.

Today I got a call from Tony who said he was in San Jose again. I have no idea where he spent the night since the train to Portland did not leave yesterday evening – he had to wait until this morning at 10 AM. I did exchange email with his friend Robert in Portland who had seen Tony briefly in Lancaster a few months ago. They went bowling. Robert bowls over 200 and Tony had made a video of Robert doing so. Robert said that Tony was doing OK at that time. But that was then and now is now. Robert had not know of Tony’s plan to visit him and expressed dismay that Tony was on his way to Portland expecting to “stay one week” with Robert before continuing to Seattle. Tony must imagine he will reunite with his co-video producer friend of his from 35 years ago who now lives in Seattle.

Tony will find that none of his friends will want to house him and, in fact, no one of his friends will be able to house Tony in Tony’s present condition. He needs structure and mandated medication, something he had this past Spring while on parole but now that he is a “free” man, is in a society that will not provide that structure nor require it.

Thanks for reading.

Dennis G. Allard
Santa Monica
May 12, 2016, updated June 5, 2016 and December 8, 2016

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7. Is my brother cured of mental illness?

Chapter 7 in a series on mental illness.

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It has been over five years since I penned the previous chapter in this chronicle. My brother was incarcerated in the California correctional system for most of that time. He was released this past June of 2015 after being convicted on crimes of felony vandalism and criminal threats. He did those acts while off his meds, fully delusional, and in a state of what his friends and I refer to as insanity. Much of that story is recounted in early chapters (see the links above). After five long years, the last of which was spent on parole at Atascadero State Hospital, Tony is finally a free man once again. As Tony puts it, he has spent eleven of the past thirteen years of his life incarcerated in various institutions. That is a story that only he can tell. In time, he will tell it. I know he will and I look forward to hearing the whole story.

For now, I will just say that my brother is doing well, under the circumstances. He is staying on meds, he has housing, and we enjoy spending time together again.

Is my brother cured of his mental illness? My answer to that is no, I don’t think so. I believe that the reason he is rational now is due to him staying on his medications. If he were to go off his meds, as he has done in the past, I think he would “decompensate” as he puts it, and fall back into a pattern of irrationality that I have tried to describe in early chapters of this saga.

I will let Tony tell his own story going forward if he so chooses. Tony asked me to remove the original interview we did from YouTube because it contained some personal information he preferred to not be in the public eye as well as some inaccuracies. Tony once told me that he did not want to make a career out of my his mental illness. Still, he is a good writer. I hope he will write about his experiences in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. It is a fascinating story. And I hope he will allow our original interview, perhaps edited a bit, to be public again and do a follow-up interview.

Until such time as Tony writes about his own life or collaborates with me, this brief note will be the last chapter in the story I’ve had to tell.

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I am still Charlie — Je suis toujours Charlie

January 7, 2016 marks the one year anniversary of the attack by Islamist extremists on the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. I noticed little or no mention in the so-called alternative American press about that horrible event of one year past. Not by Democracy Now nor by KPFK’s Sojourner Truth program. I recall when it happened that the U.S. Left displayed ignorance about Charlie Hebdo, not to the point of justifying the attack on Charlie Hebdo but questioning the magazine’s choice to use blunt satire about Mohammed and in some cases calling the magazine racist.

That ignorance was ignorance by omission, ignoring the simple fact that Charlie Hebdo satirizes all religion. But Charlie Hebdo supports the rights of immigrants including Muslim immigrants. The editor St├ęphane Charbonnier, aka “Charb”, who was killed by the terrorists, was an outspoken atheist but also a strong supporter of immigrant rights. For example he opposed law in France that bans Muslim women from wearing the veil. Here is quote from an interview with Charb: “Of 1058 numbers, there are only three covers on Islam. Every week we defend the undocumented, many of whom are Muslims, we fight against racism and discrimination, it is for the right to vote for immigrants … And as a personal note, I was against the law against wearing the veil. But the media never talk about Charlie Hebdo for these positions, which are more in favor of Muslims.”. Here is the full inteview with Charb (in French).

In some broadcasts by the left after the attack, such as on Lila Garrett’s show Connect the Dots, Charlie Hebdo was referred to as being racist, an ironically false statement. I attempted to educate Lila to that effect in this email exchange

So, on this anniversary of that tragedy, we should honor the unbridled voice of Charlie Hebdo and all brave journalists who satirize all that deserves satire, and that includes all religions.

Here is a sample of images of past front pages of Charlie Hebdo, showing the diversity of sarcasm towards all who deserve sarcasm: (click here to open an enlarged view of these images)
Charlie Hebdo front pages

How to remember what Ex-Dividend date means

In the term Ex-Dividend Date, think of “Ex” as “Excludes”, the first date at which the dividend is excluded.

When buying or selling a stock that pays a dividend, the Ex-Dividend date is the first date on which you will be excluded from receiving the dividend. For example, suppose a stock has an Ex-Dividend date of January 28. That means that if you purchase the stock before the market closes on January 27, you will receive the dividend but if you wait until January 28, you will not receive the dividend. Analogously, if you sell the stock before the market closes on January 27 then you will not receive the dividend but if you sell on or after January 28 you will receive the dividend.

Stolen passwords? Not to worry. Advice about passwords.

The recent theft of a billion user names and passwords by Russian hackers is nothing to worry about as long as you understand a few simple facts and rules.

KNX News Radio Los Angeles (CBS) would have you believe pundits who sell password generator software and other nonsense. KNX is either misreporting or missing the story. They should instead be interviewing qualified representatives at Bank of America, VISA, ETrade and other financial institutions to ask them if passwords can be stolen. The answer is that passwords cannot be stolen because those institutions do not store them.

Sites such as your bank or stock brokerage do not, I repeat, do not, store your password. So no one can steal your password from your bank. What is stored is an encrypted value that is based on your password. That encrypted value could be stolen but, by itself, is useless for logging in. In other words, there is no file at your bank or other reputable financial institution that contains your password so there is nothing to steal.

How, then, is it possible for you to login using your password? The answer is that logging in works by encrypting your password and comparing the result to the stored encrypted value. If they match you get to login, if not your login attempt fails.

The beauty of this scheme, used in UNIX systems since 1969, is that the process is not reversible. Someone could publish the encrypted value on a bill board and that would still not help a hacker login. Only you know your password. The hacker would still have to effectively guess your password in order to get logged in by your bank site.

Don’t store your password on your computer nor in one of those stupid password “vaults” or password generators. Instead, memorize your password. It’s OK to write it down on a piece of paper you tuck away some place.

You should pick a good password that is easy for you to remember but hard to guess. Make it at least 8 or 10 characters long and be something that is not words in a dictionary. One trick I use is to think of a sentence then use the first letter of each word of the sentence as my password. For example “Only you know your password. Don’t store it in a file” would become: oykypdsiiaf. That password is actually fairly easy to type. The phrases I use make my passwords (I have a few) even easier to type. I use phrases about people and things I like so my phrases are almost like rhymes and easy to remember. Mine have more than 10 characters. I usually include a special character (such as a colon or asterisk) although some web sites stupidly refuse to allow special characters.

For sites that are not important (most sites) use a different password than your main passwords you use for important sites. It’s OK to use the same password for all the unimportant sites. I only have about three or four passwords, about three really secure ones (longish, hard to guess) and just one that is shorter and easy to remember that I use for ALL of the sites I just don’t care about that much if someone were to get in.

I hardly ever change my passwords since they are secure to begin with. But when and if I do, I just modify say the first three words of the phrase so it’s easy for me to remember the new password, it being similar to the old one.

There does remain a couple of things to know about as to how hackers can manage to steal passwords and how you can remain confident that you are secure.

One way hackers can steal passwords is by setting up a man-in-the-middle attack that is able to intercept communication between you and your bank. Thankfully, modern protocols use SSL (the same “S”, for “Secure”, as in the little “HTTPS://” prefix you sometimes see in your browser address bar). As long as you communicate with reputable institutions, all login communication is done using SSL which has been engineered to thwart man-in-the-middle attacks. If you ever see a message from your browser that warns you that the Security Certificate of the site you are logging to has not been authenticated, that means you should not connect to that site.

There is also the thorny issue of keystroke snooping. If a hacker can manage to take control of your computer or of the server into which you are logging in (or think you are logging in) at a level where your keystrokes can be recorded, then Houston we have a problem. Such deep attacks are rare but possible. The best way to feel confident one has not been attacked at that level is to keep your computers and devices updated with the latest security updates for your OS and only do important financial transactions with reputable web sites. Personally, I don’t use Norton or McAfee crap. Those things just waste CPU in my view. Instead, I keep my systems up-to-date, I use good passwords as outlined above, and I store important information on reputable sites.

As for LifeLock, see: Amazon not-so-good reviews about LifeLock

Dennis Allard
Santa Monica
August 6, 2014

The Arab Spring has turned into Winter

I feel like a fool when I look back three years to my opinion on the so-called revolution in Libya in 2011. I was somewhat cautious and realistic that the road ahead would not be easy for Arabs who seek “democracy”. But I admit I did not foresee what has happened. Libya has now descended into what amounts to tribal warfare with no new strong man for the U.S. to support.

Yet I shold have foreseen it. It’s what the U.S. always needs. It’s not democracy that helps U.S. interests, it’s power, the power of foreign oligarchies. It’s a strong man.

Like in Iraq where the criminal Maliki was and still is supported by U.S. power and where apparently naive John Kerry, crudely paraphrased, recently stated that he was surprised by how many people don’t like Maliki.

Or in Egypt, where the Egyptian military oligarchy, unhindered and, in fact, supported by the U.S. and amazingly unquestioned by the U.S. main stream media, serves as a recent lesson. The open letter to Obama from leading Arab scholars says it all. The U.S. will ignore this letter and continue to support the Egyptian dictatorship, also supported by Israel, in order to prop up Israel and prevent true democracy from taking place in Egypt. But why?

We’ve had so many lessons. I use “we” tongue in cheek. Whenever you hear someone saying “we”, that is a bad habit of referring to the United States as if it were a unified whole with unified interests. It is not. It is an oligarchy, a plutocracy, controlled by very small numbers of very wealthy people while the masses, including immigrants and foreign labor, do the work to create American wealth that gets distributed to the one per cent.

Back to our lessons of the not so distant past… Mossadegh was assassinated in 1952 with the help of MI6 and the CIA after he committed the sin of nationalizing the oil industry in Iran. We saw what that got “us”, the ruthless shah followed by religious extremists who have become our favorite foes in the region. Democratically elected Arbenz in 1954 Guatemala was ousted with direct assistance of the U.S. Guatemala to this day lives in a legacy of military oligarchy. Similarly, democratically elected Allende had to be removed, and the dictator Pinochet supported, after that socialist bastard Allende and his democratically elected government had the temerity to nationalize our copper mines. I mean just because the copper mines are in Chile does not mean “we” (Anaconda Copper) don’t own them! And after the Vietnam Holocaust where the U.S. killed two million Vietnamese, even after the U.S. lost the war to those valiant Vietnamese, the U.S.-controlled banking system kept a boycott on banking with Vietnam for a couple more decades. Let’s not forget the Sandinistas who wanted to educate the poor and give them land so had to be fought via the illegal support of the Contras, who were in fact terrorists supported by “our” tax dollars. And that list is far from complete. We’re real nice guys, us AMERICANS. We’re so damned right in everything “we” do.

Yet, in the long run, I remain optimistic. Democracies are now emerging in South America thanks to popular revolutions and elections in Bolvia, in Venezuela, in Uruguay, in Ecuador, in Argentina, and even in Chile, which recently cut ties with the apartheid state of Israel.

“They” don’t need “us”. Unlike the advice ofThom Hartmann, a liberal who I do respect, to “give more aid to the governments of Hondurus and El Salvador and Guatemala” [in order to help them help their populace and avoid the need for the recent mass exodus of children to the U.S. border], I have an alternative suggestion. Don’t disrupt the political revolutions that are taking place there. Don’t support the ouster of Zelaya in Honduras. Instead, let the democratic socialist movements alone. Where Mossadegh and Allende and Zelaya would have perhaps succeeded were it not for our interventions against them, if we let the democratic socialist forces prosper, it may end up being they that will show us the way for our own ills here at home.

The Arab Spring was real. That Arab Spring is past, but, as with the cycle of the seasons, the Winter of today will pass and the Spring will return. It is the inevitable march of history and what is right.

Dennis Allard
Santa Moncia
July 28, 2014

Harvest of Empire – the story of Latino immigrants

To understand how European and U.S. empire and imperialism has lead to the immigration of Latinos into the United States, read Harvest of Empire (introduction and excerpts) by Juan Gonzalez .

If you are interested in and concerned by the recent surge in immigrants trying to cross the U.S.-Mexican border, you will be interested in reading this book. And you will find that the true history may not be what you thought it was.

You can hear Juan Gonzalez most days on radio where he co-hosts Democracy Now which airs on many radio and internet stations. Democrary Now airs on the KPFK FM Los Angeles radio stream at 6:00 AM and 9:00 AM each week day morning.

Dennis Allard
Santa Monica
July 25, 2014

U.S. Military contractors engaged in de facto Human Trafficking

I find this latest report of human tafficking by U.S. military contractors in cahoots with local so-called subcontractors to obtain workers for U.S. bases to be so annoying I had to mirror the Democracy Now/Al Jazeera report here as my small part in spreading the truth.

The U.S. military industrial complex has no soul.