Monday, Debtember 13, 2004
It may be illegal to protect your own network
A road less traveled
On July 31, 2001, I began the development of what would eventually become LaBrea. The road that was traveled to its current incarnation is well documented, because it was traveled quite publicly and with the help, encouragement, and feedback of many people.
On February 18, 2003, I released the current stable version of LaBrea (version 2.4). By that time, I had begun work on “the next big thing,” although I still get questions about LaBrea daily.
On April 15, 2003, it was brought to my attention that distributing LaBrea from this site may place me in violation of Illinois Compiled Statutes 720 ILCS 5 (Criminal Offenses / Criminal Code of 1961), specifically, Section 16-18 through 16-21.
The “Super DMCA” vs. LaBrea
This section of the Illinois Criminal Code was added on January 1, 2003 by Public Act 92-728 and defines an “unlawful communication device” as “any communication device which is capable of … facilitating the disruption… of a communication service without the express consent or express authorization of the communication service provider …”
It's a shame really. The concept of a network tarpit is wonderful—basically a computer that accepts network connections and puts it on hold (for the technically inclined, it accepts a TCP connection, then only sends out “keep-alive” responses), indefinitely, which is useful in trapping network scans, exploits and virii. Dan (the network engineer I work with) and I were talking about them today and I was surprised he never heard of LeBrea. He was enthusiastic about the concept, and so am I (but never really had a chance to play around with it alas).
But this … gah! In-bloody-sane. It may be illegal to protect your own network—never mind that NATing may be illegal depending on how you read these laws.