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TechTalk Transcript

Judith Boettcher
Judith Boettcher
Ken Horning
Ken Horning
Mark Bruhn
Mark Bruhn

Privacy, Security and Handling Academic Business
May 27, 1998

Topics covered include:

[Top of Page]

JB: Welcome to the CREN Expert Event Webcast for late spring 1998, and to this session with Mark Bruhn on Privacy, Security and Handling Academic Business. You are here because it is time to discuss the leading core technologies in your future.

This is Judith Boettcher of CREN, one of your hosts for today's session. Our co-host today is Ken Horning, who is filling in for our regular co-host, Greg Marks. Thanks for being here, Ken, and welcome. Thanks for filling in at just the last moment.

KH: It's my pleasure. It's a good thing I was fortunate enough to have done one previously, so it wasn't totally a new thing to me.

JB: That's right, you were all trained, right?

KH: Yes.

JB: Our guest expert today, as I mentioned, is Mark Bruhn from Indiana University. Mark is well-versed in network security and is currently in charge of Technology Policy Development in Education, in the Policy Office of the VP for Information Technology at Indiana University. That is a long title, isn't it, Mark? I never realized.

MB: Even longer with the "acting" part in there.


JB: Thanks for being here to talk about one of the really hot topics. Is there anything of particular interest that has happened recently about privacy and security issues on your campus?

MB: Well, I have to say, business has been really good, and mostly, that's bad. We're winding down now because the spring term is over here, but we still have some technology abuse and security cases pending in various agencies, the Dean of Students office and with the University Police Department. We even have a couple at the local prosecutor's office, in fact, related to outsiders sending illegal material via e-mail to a couple of internal users.

Other than that, this is the time of the year when people kind of relax a little bit. The students head home for break. The ones that are in summer school (since both sessions are a little bit shortened) they don't have much time to do much of anything else. So it is a little quieter here now.

JB: I just remembered, I saw in the paper this is the time of the year, like you say, that young people do weird things, and there was one place where the seniors played a practical joke and let loose a bunch of roaches into the school. Did you all see that one?

Anyway, Ken, would you like to remind everyone how we're going to be handling questions today for our session?

KH: Yes, thanks, Judith.

Before we launch into our discussion today, I'd like to remind everyone as to how we will handle your questions and feed them to Mark and get them into the archive RealAudio event that people can access later.

As opposed to previous expert events where we did try and take live telephone calls as well as e-mail questions, we're now doing it just via e-mail. We invite you to send your questions to Mark during the Webcast this afternoon via e-mail by addressing your e-mails to Mark will respond to many of your questions during this session, but as is usually the case, there's not time to respond and answer all the questions that have come in. But Mark will also be responding to those questions via the website, so you can check in the website later, and as well as finding this archived event, find additional questions and answers that may not have made it into this afternoon's session while we're live on the net.

Let me also remind you that if you or any of your information technology friends may have missed this afternoon's Webcast for some reason, they can pick up the archive session at the CREN website. That's, and the transcripts from the earlier Webcast series are also available up on the site.

JB: Thank you very much, Ken, and thanks, too, for remembering the e-mail that I almost forgot to remind you of. You're really good at thinking on your feet here.

MB: Pardon me if I interrupt, but at least one of you guys are also receiving those e-mails?

KH: Yes, I'm hoping to be the person who accesses the e-mails as soon as they come in and looks for an appropriate place to get them into the discussion.

MB: That'll be just fine because my laptop battery light is blinking in my eyeball as we speak, so I don't know how that's going to last.

KH: Let's hope the battery on your phone is better than that!

JB: That means that you'll be able to really concentrate on what you're saying, Mark, right?


Let's go ahead and start our session on this topic today. I find that it's a topic that more and more people are talking about. Let's perhaps mention that it's often the case when we're talking about privacy and security that we often find that it's really a trade-off between privacy and security. I find that I often give up some of my privacy in return for convenience and speed. And I often find myself giving information on the Web at a site so that site will remember who I am, for example. What comment do you have, Mark, about that particular aspect of our privacy and security systems?

MB: Well, it's actually very simple. This is actually a simple answer to a pretty complicated situation, but simply put -- you just have to be careful. You have to know who you're dealing with on the other end.

I assume, perhaps wrongly, Judith -- I don't know -- that you wouldn't buy something from the trunk of someone's car at the mall. In the same way, you don't interact with some Internet site that you don't know anything about. If you belong to a CD club like BMG or Columbia or any number of those kind of things, you're pretty much aware of the relationship that you've had via mail. You know what they're going to do with the information for the most part, and you've built kind of a trust with that agency and know what they're going to do.

But if you go to a site that you don't know anything about, you need to know what it is that they're going to do with the information that you're going to provide. If it's a secure website -- that's easy to tell because of the little key or the little lock (depending on what you're using) on the bottom of your screen is going to be intact. And that will tell you that you're communicating with that site in a secure manner. The question that people have after that, though, is what happens to the information that those people collect -- that that site collects from you after it leaves that website, after you put it into that Web form?

That's something that you're going to have to be proactive in finding out. Maybe it says it on the webpage. If you can find their policy somewhere on the webpage, make sure that it says that they will only use the information that you provide for the purposes for which you're providing it. They won't sell it, they won't market it, they won't inundate you with unrelated material unless they give you an opportunity to ask for it.

You just have to be proactive about finding out what that site is all about. You want to ask them, if you get an opportunity -- and I guess I'm suggesting you make the opportunity -- what they do with the data. If you're going to give them your credit card number, if you're going to supply them with personal information about yourself, then ask them how they store that information in the background. If they take it off the secure Web server and they put it into a database that's open and visible for the network, that kind of defeats the purpose. So you should know.


Another thing that people worry about are these cookies. There's a lot of concern about the fact that you visit a website and that website virtually writes things to your desktop, to your PC drive. Well, that's okay, because it will be just exactly what you said. The next time you go to that site, you want conveniently for them to know who you are and what your interests are -- especially if you go there often.

If you do go to a music club page, for example, and you're a fan of jazz music, you supply that when you go into their site, and of course, they're going to tailor that site to meet your interests. And next time you don't want to have to say, "I'm interested in jazz again." It'd be really neat if you could go there and they know who you are, and that's okay, because this idea that someone can really invade your privacy via that mechanism isn't really true.

We, I'm sure, don't have time to go into it in detail now, but there's some really good information about cookies, naturally, on the Netscape website. People need to go there, read about what they are, read about how they work, and I think people will be more comfortable with them.


JB: Mark, maybe you could tie that back, then, to some of the questions and some of the areas that we want to evaluate websites on for trust and for privacy and for those kinds of issues. What does that mean, then, for our campuses and our campus websites then, when we start interacting with our students?

MB: Coincidentally, I met yesterday with various people, most importantly representatives of the Indiana University Treasurer's Office, related to departments wanting to -- and they are, some of them -- collecting credit card information for various things on their departmental websites. My task (I always seem to leave meetings with action items) from that meeting is to write a narrative of the circumstances under which it's okay for a department to do that, and then the Treasurer's Office will take that.

They will obviously review what I've said there, and that will become what they hand to departments when those department heads ask them if they can do that on the Web, or if there's a better way to do that on the Web and what-have-you. And the Treasurer's Office will then take that to themselves as a financial policy, so if a department does want to do that, there's going to be a list of things that they're going to have to take a look at: physical security, logical security, encrypting the traffic, placement of the database server, placement of the Web server, all of that stuff. They will have a list of things that they really need to consider.

That will also eventually get into the hands (because it is a University policy at that point, if it gets that far) of the internal audit department. So when the audit department schedules a review of a certain department or a departmental function, they will know that that's a University policy and one of the questions I assume that they'll ask that department is, "Are you collecting credit cards on the Web?" If they are, then the auditor will pull out that document and say, "Are you doing it this way?"

That's one of the ways that we're going to make sure that's done as safely as we can within the University environment. We're looking for other formal ways to do that, more -- I guess elaborate's not the right term, but we're going to try to put that in the hands of agencies that are there now, in place, and have experience in handling that kind of thing on the net.

One of those, as an example, is Cybercash -- that credit card information, in fact, will not reside on an Indiana University server. That will reside on that external agency's server, and then they will interact with the financial institutions and what-have you, and we won't have to do that. We'll just see the money come in the other end magically, I guess. So that's how that's going to work.

But a goal of the security office within the Vice President for IT's office here is to establish good templates, I guess -- good configurations, good top-ten ways to better the security on specific platforms. We've got some of that on the security office website right now, where you can go there if you -- I think LENIX is one that's up there because the guy that's putting this together just happens to be a LENIX user, so that's probably why it's there first. But they can go there and they can look. "Well, I have a LENIX box on my desk, and these are the things that I really need to pay attention to." And we want to do that for as many of the most common operating systems and hardware platforms as we can of those that we have within the University environment.

So we want to tell people the best way to be and help them get there. We're not going to be able to go into the field and do that for them. Obviously, we don't have the staffing to do that. In fact, we don't even have the expertise within the security and policy areas to do that. We have to rely (even ourselves) on technical staff -- technical gurus, experts around us within the computing department and within the office of the Vice President. We're going to help them do that as best we can.

KH: And we'd like to help our listeners this afternoon get their questions to Mark here on the virtual expert event sponsored by CREN. You can do that by sending an e-mail message to And we'll be looking for your e-mail and ready to feed your question into the discussion.


Mark, I'd like to ask something: Do we have any understanding of what percentage, if you will, of security breach attempts are just done by people who find joy in making the attempt (especially successfully), and the people who actually make those attempts with malicious use of the data in mind? I hearken back to about a year ago when you were here in Ann Arbor to tape your portion of the CREN virtual seminar, that the first time you came, you had to dash off and go back to Indiana because you had had a security breach that I think involved releasing some social security numbers in a public place.

MB: And I appreciate your reminding me of that incident. That's something I would much rather forget! Percentage, I don't think so.

KH: In that instance, do you think the intent of getting that data and releasing it or publishing it was done just to say, "Hey, look at me! I cracked this system and I did it!" Or were the perpetrators' intent to really make some sort of illegal use of those numbers?

MB: This particular incident is an interesting one, and let me just very quickly review what that was all about. One of our departments had created a faculty information database. It was going to be used in support of those faculty members putting together grant proposals. It had information about their interests, about their research areas, it had office address, office phone number in there. It had social security number in there. Various other pieces of information like that. It was inadvertently visible to the network. It was in a directory where it should not have been, behind a gateway that should not have allowed access outside of that department.

An individual that describes himself as a privacy expert, an Internet entrepreneur and a talk-show host -- how those three go together -- apparently the talk-show hosting was done by ham radio, which I'm not even sure is legal. In any case, and I'm going to try to stay away from --

JB: Multi-talented person, in any case!

MB: Yeah, in any case, I'm going to try and stay away from rendering my very best (inaudible) opinion about this person, but let me just say that what this person was doing, and is still doing, by the way, is doing Net searches using various search engines for strings like SSN = or Social Security Number of anything like that. And what he found was this file -- this faculty information database on one of our servers.

What he did subsequently, then, was he copied that data out of that location -- which was visible to the Internet, yes, but took a bit of doing to get to -- and published that list, I think in its entirety --I'm not sure at this point, I don't remember -- on his website, which obviously illuminated it much, much higher to the Internet community than it was before. And then he started sending notes to the University President. He sent notes to some of the faculty members in that list. He called some of those faculty members in that list at their office and at home. I asked him to take the list off. He's refused. He got a bunch of complaints. (I'm putting that lightly!) Complaints from faculty members here about his methods. Nobody questions his privacy motive, if that's all it was, because certainly we needed to know that that information was there that way, and we needed to have it removed. And obviously, that was the result of that incident.

But I think his purpose in that was --I guess I really need to be careful here. I don't think his motives were purely as a privacy advocate. I think there was more to it than that, and I'm not even going to go any further than that. If that was the case, then certainly all he had to do was call somebody here and tell us that that material was there and we really needed to get it off of there, and certainly we would have done that right away. But he did then take that and put it on his website. He made such a big deal about it. He wrote many, many different major media outlets and told them about it. It was in the local papers. It was in the regional papers. It was on the AP wire. There was a little piece about it on Dateline on network television. There was a little snippet of it in the USA Today newspaper. He did what he could to make sure everyone knew that he had found that thing.

JB: Which puts another light on the whole issue of privacy. If one makes an unwise decision or even placement of content on the Web, it can easily be blown out of proportion.

MB: Absolutely. We would much rather have just taken that off. And of course, it wasn't supposed to be there. I mean, that was the bottom line was that it was not supposed to be there, and we never said that we didn't have any fault in that. It was just the way that it was handled.


Now, to answer the global question, the overall question is the motives of the people that are attempting to access this kind of information or hack into systems. It varies very widely. You would think, within certain environments, there's not going to be much of anything useful there. They're going to try to break into that, and maybe once they discover that there's nothing useful there, nothing that they can actually use, they'll go away and they'll try something else.

The people that would be doing that for self-glorification will still do it and they will hold that pelt above their head and say, "Look, I broke into this institution." Those people don't do it for financial gain. They'll do it for personal ego gain, but there are those, then, of course, that search out things that they can make use of. If they find a bank of credit card numbers, then they want to use those. If they find ATM card numbers with their pin numbers, they want to use those. So really, you can't say that 80% of them are for ego building and 20% are for personal gain because it just depends on where you are.

KH: Which is why we have to treat each event seriously.

MB: Correct. You have to take that back, and a lot of times, when we do that, we are still not able to find out why that person did what they did because we cannot get that information from them.


JB: Perhaps, Mark, that takes us into an area that we did want to talk about today because of all of your expertise in it, and that is the whole issue of developing technology policy on our campuses. What kind of content, in fact, does go up on the Web? How do we, in fact, alert people to the sensitivity and the dangers that are there? Would you like to talk about how we get that kind of awareness out to the campus communities and how do you go about developing technology policy to address these issues?

MB: More and more, we are understanding that it's important that someone be around to do that full time, and I'm talking about policy development and education at a level within the institution, within the university that has some reasonable amount of influence.

The technology changes so rapidly, and the things that people can do (and will do, by the way) multiplies just as fast. Someone has to be around to evaluate the environment and the climate and coordinate the setting of the rules. And, of course, publicize and educate the community on the rules and standards of behavior, expectations, and so on. There's access eligibility questions. There's appropriate use questions. There's legal questions that come up all of the time. Someone's going to have to look at these things and make some determination about how they impact our users.

JB: Indiana University is a fairly large university, Mark, and you said that you were in charge of policy development. I think when you and I talked, you also mentioned that there's also a security office. Both of them are fairly high level within your campus. Would you like to mention a little bit about why that's important? And also, is there something that we can say about providing guidelines for smaller campuses in this area?

MB: Sure. It's generally the case that the people setting the policies shouldn't be directly involved in their implementation. It's kind of a separation-of-function thing. Basically, the fear would be -- and I'm making general statements here, obviously; the people that are involved may make this nonsense -- that the policy makers will take the easiest path if they then have to implement what they mandate. Does that make sense?

KH: Yes.


MB: For example, one of the things that we're struggling with here: No connection to the Indiana University network -- and this has not been stated this way yet -- no device can be connected, no person can connect to the Indiana University network without authenticating their identity.

That's a can of worms. That's a large can of worms, in fact. A security person knows that that's a large can of worms and very difficult to implement technically. But, if you step back from the implementation, if you step back from the technical difficulties, that's a very reasonable policy to have. That's a very safe thing to do.

So the example there would be, certainly, that if a security person is responsible for making that kind of statement or making that kind of policy, then they have to turn around and implement it. Well, they're going to maybe be dragged kicking and screaming toward making that policy statement to begin with. Whereas a policy person -- a separate policy person that's involved in setting policy does that at the institutional values-and-goals level and doesn't have anything to do with the technology involved.

There's people out there right now that are jumping up and down, I'm sure, wanting to throw pencils at me for making that statement. But a lot of times, if you set a policy and a particular technology will not support what that policy requires, you should not be using that technology. Now they're picking up heavier things and wanting to throw them as well!

JB: Before, you were being optimistic, as if they were only going to do pencils!

MB: Yes, but you understand what I mean. The idea is that you don't choose technologies -- you choose technologies to implement the policies. You don't put your policies in place based on the technologies that you have available. And that's not popular everywhere, but that just happens to be my opinion.

It's the same kind of thing -- I guess it's analogous of someone approving check writing to the person that actually submits that batch or submits the job that's going to write that check. You don't want the person approving it to be the person that's putting it in because obviously, somewhere along there, a person with the inclination would have the opportunity to do bad things in that process. It's not exactly the same thing, but I guess you get the idea.

JB: Let us go back, perhaps, to that statement that you made that is something that the policy office, in fact, might mandate. And that would be that no one can connect to the campus backbone without authenticating themselves. Certainly, on one level, that sounds a little bit like, "No one can come into my house unless I've given them a key."

MB: I've heard that before. Exactly.

JB: So certainly, then, is that a policy that is now in place or going to be in place at IU?

MB: Well, we have at this point a list of recommendations that the Vice-President's going to have to evaluate, and that statement is in there. The fact that we are recommending that the policy be issued -- that use of any device on the network requires some form of authentication. In addition to that (or as a caveat to that, I guess), there are some instances where that authentication would be supplying a guest account or a public account or something like that. And in those cases, they're still authenticating. They're on a device that we know provides service where that's okay, and they can't do anything else. So they're still authenticating, but we know where they're doing that at, and we can find out where that thing happens.

JB: And there are fences and walls around that.

MB: Yes. It's a security bubble, I like to call it, around that particular function, and then they can't do anything else.

One of the major problems that we have is people using devices on the network that don't require them to supply any credentials at all, doing things -- sending hate mail or posting inappropriately to internal or external websites, that sort of thing. So we just want to know where that stuff is coming from. And we're not going to track that stuff. We're not going to keep that stuff around for three years.

What we want to be able to do is, if we get a complaint, then we're able to evaluate that and we know where that thing came from, and then we can hand that to another university agency to decide if a sanction should be levied and what that might be.


JB: Maybe we ought to look at one of these questions that we had thought would be a good one. That is, just what is the impact that you're finding and that we're finding generally on technology policy and security because of the explosion in Internet access by the overall general public?

MB: Let me put it this way. Many more settlers -- which is a really good thing, I think, but many more gunslingers. We get many, many more reports now about anonymous and inappropriate mail coming into our users from anonymous mailers, various ones that I'm not going to name here because anybody that's in this business knows exactly what I'm talking about. And also leaving our technology environment destined for those users elsewhere. I'm not saying it was real quiet before, mind you, but obviously, the more people that are using a particular medium -- that medium in this case called the Internet and the Web -- the more interaction problems occur.

A key point with this, and maybe an obvious one, is that locally we have (and I'm sure they wouldn't like to be referred to this way) but basically we have a captive audience here locally. If we get a complaint or if we identify someone using our technology resources inappropriately within our environment, we can target education toward that person or those persons. But if a person external to our environment, using an anonymous mailer or posting things to a website, is not a member of our community --the only thing that we can do is whine, basically, and complain to that service provider. Maybe they do something and maybe they don't.

Things come to mind. We get an unbelievable amount of mail coming into our environment that is pornographic in nature, obviously unsolicited electronic mail. Some of the people that get this here are just flabbergasted that they would be targeted for such a thing. They're not really targeted individually for it. There may be 4,000 other people within the environment that got the same message, but that doesn't make it any less significant for that one person. So we get those complaints.

The fact of the matter is that we can educate our users as much as we can spend time doing it, but we have families now that are on the Internet. Within families, you have teenage children. Those teenage children are either -- how can I put this? Either experienced in the wrong way or not experienced at all. Now, I have to say that we've come across a lot that know what the environment is all about. They've been taught correctly, if you will. We touch upon those on occasion, but the majority of the ones we see, unfortunately, are the ones that either don't know what they're doing or have learned bad habits. So we come across those on occasion -- students or children of IU students, on occasion. Unfortunately, the parents will sometimes share those accounts with their children, and then we -- if something's done inappropriately with that account, who do we go after? We go after the account holder and we say, "Something happened with your account, and you know you're responsible." Once we get into it, they're very surprised to know that their son or daughter was up at 3:00 AM posting some abusive language to some site somewhere.

In addition to the anonymous e-mailers, many, many websites now allow for anonymous postings. We talked about a couple of these the last time that we gathered like this. We've gotten involved in a couple of others recently where users post things about other users at IU and, of course, the users here take offense. Or IU users post things about someone else and they take offense at what was said about them -- even to the point where legal action was threatened.

The newspapers a lot of times have discussion groups about local sports teams or racing or whatever it might be. That's an opportunity for some of these gunslingers, if you will, to post things inappropriately to those sites. And then, of course, they turn around and complain that one of our users was involved.


JB: Mark, what about in terms of protecting us from some of those kinds of things? How do you go about providing gating functions on campuses so that you can, in fact, provide for this authentication? Do you have rules in your public labs, for example?

MB: Well, yes and no. We don't allow mail to be sent from our public labs directly. They have to go through our central PO servers, our central mail relay servers. So we know where those originate, and we know they have to go through those servers. They can't send mail directly from those devices, for one thing. Now generally, in our PO machines or central mail relay servers, we don't allow mail relay. That is, someone external to IU can't send a piece of mail through our central mail relay servers to someone else outside of IU. Does that make sense?

JB: Yes.

MB: We do let people external to send to internal folks, of course. We let internal folks send to external folks. The problem that we get is when we have an internal person at home, dialed into their ISP, for example (their Internet Service Provider), sending mail to an acquaintance somewhere else not at IU and they've got their laptop set to go through IU. That obviously causes a problem because that becomes external to external.

One of the things that we can't do is block mail from sites that are notorious for sending in bulk mail -- unsolicited mail, UCE, UBE, Spam, whatever you want to call it. Because a lot of times, we're going to lose legitimate mail from those sites. For example, there's no way that we can block mail from That is just not going to work. We can't block mail from or or AT &T or, or We can't block mail from those major service providers because our users have legitimate reasons for interacting with users of those services.

So what we have to do is we have to be very specific. We have to get down to more qualification. For example, there wouldn't be any reason for someone dialing into the AT &T modem pool to access the AT &T service to use that modem pool to send mail to our site. So we can identify that address and we can block mail from that address. We're not blocking mail from AT &T because that's the way they should be sending it anyway. So we do that. If we recognize a particular address is inundating us with junk mail, unsolicited mail, we filter that address out. If we get a site that is -- I don't know how you would say it. If it's a very small site, if we don't see much of any other kinds of mail from a particular full site, and all we get from that site is unsolicited bulk mail, we'll block the whole site.

KH: And it's a domain called Get Rich

MB:. Well, you know, except for sometimes that doesn't work either. You've got to really analyze the headers. And this is an important thing, because you can send complaints and nastygrams to the wrong service provider. You really need to analyze the headers, because they can use whatever name they want. You just have to make sure that you've identified the right Internet address in that way. So you've got to know how to read the headers to make sure that you're not flaming the wrong provider for allowing their users to do something like that.

And I have no idea whether I answered your question, Judith, so you can remind me.

KH: Before you do, Judith, let me remind our listeners that we are well past the halfway point in our broadcast. We have about a little less than 10 minutes left, but still time for you to send your questions in for Mark. And address your e-mail to

JB: Thanks for the reminder, Ken. We've got all kinds of questions that we want to ask Mark, but we would also like to incorporate a few more from our listeners.


Mark, what about this question here? We've talked a little bit about the public labs and what you do or don't do there. Is there something that campuses should do in dealing with the local ISPs? Is there a way that the campus community and the local ISPs can work together to help with security strategies?

MB: Well, both we and the local ISP are interesting situations because we don't consider ourselves an Internet service provider. We provide computing and network services to members of our community for the purposes that they are here. So you're not connecting to Indiana University only to have Internet access. You're doing that because you are involved in research or in learning or in instruction or whatever it might be.

But we do have information about the users of our resources, and there is a reasonable expectation on their part that we're not going to use that information inappropriately. In other words, we're not going to sell it and we're not going to hand it over willy-nilly to whoever asked us for it.

The ISP's are in a similar situation because the people that are connecting to their services are either paying for that service or they are using that service and that ISP is reaping the benefit because of advertising that that user sees. In either case, it's a business for them. They need to make sure that the users are comfortable with that service.

The point I'm getting to is that having a free exchange of user information between Indiana University or whatever university and a local ISP is an iffy proposition because we're not going to be willing to share perhaps the information that they want about a particular user. They are not willing to share. And our motives may be different, but they're not willing to share information about their particular users. Obviously, they carry some liability in the privacy area, but they're trying to maintain a business. They're trying to make money. If they become known to willy-nilly release information about their users to other outfits, then obviously someone's going to go somewhere else.

There's plenty of other service providers. So establishing a relationship between the public institution like IU and a local ISP is an interesting one. The response that we generally get from those, by the way, is, "Well, we'd really like to help you out, but we've got to protect the privacy of our users. Absolutely, we'll give you the information that you're asking for if you hand us a court order." We've gotten that response many, many times. And in a couple of situations, in fact, we said, "Okay, we're going to do that," and we've got a couple of those, as I said earlier, down in the Monroe County Prosecutor's Office.

JB: And these are instances, just to clarify the situation here, Mark, where there have been inappropriate messages coming from the local ISP's into the campus community, is that correct?

MB: Correct. And in these two particular situations, "inappropriate" is way too light a term.

JB: My mother taught me not to use some of those other terms.

MB: Obviously, if we're going to go downtown and start talking to judges about forcing these outfits to supply information, we're looking at some pretty serious stuff. Some of the things, we kind of weigh what it's going to take us to do it, and we talk to the individual hereabouts that's involved. If they want to pursue it, then we'll help them. But if they're wishy-washy, we're wishy-washy, then we'll just write it off as experience and press on.

So that's kind of iffy. But we have had conversations with managers of our local ISP's, and they understand that we are here and we understand that they are there, and they understand that our users are not all happiness and light and do all the right things. We understand that theirs are not, either. But the relationship is tenuous at best because they've got to protect their interests, and certainly we've got to protect ours.

JB: Particularly as the numbers and the communities that are using these new technologies continue to increase, I think our challenges are going to continue as well.

MB: You can't wander around on the Internet any more without bumping into somebody. If they're bad, that will spill out. If it's good, that will spill out.


KH: Mark, we do have an e-mail question from Fred Hurst, who is the Executive Director of Florida Public Post-Secondary Distance Learnings Institute down in Ft. Myers, Florida. He asks, "Many distance learning Web clients cannot function behind a firewall. What strategies may be used to protect institutional data while allowing legitimate uses of the new technology?"

MB: That is one of the reasons why firewalling is a very difficult thing to strategize about and implement, because that's not the only situation where that's going to cause a problem.

We have implemented hereabouts very limited firewalling techniques. We don't have a machine that we can point at and say, "That's our firewall." We do TCP wrappers on services that have to be provided in and amongst and between the networks within their institution, and obviously they have to map those out. They have to then determine what services must be protected at what level, and they have to place firewalls appropriately.

Having a firewall at one point on your security perimeter (if I can use my Air Force-remembered jargon) -- one firewall limiting access to and from your network probably is not going to work. A corporation that has very limited interaction with the outside world may be able to do that very nicely, but our institutions that have much, much more communication with like institutions -- with other governmental institutions, with other laboratories, you name it -- that situation is probably not going to work.

However, what you need to do is define specific security parameters. If you have an administrative computing complex, for example, if you have one or two machines that support the business of the university, including student records and student registration and those sorts of things, then put a perimeter around those and make sure that those are firewalled. Most times, there's no reason for anyone outside of the university or the institutional environment to access that information, so don't allow it. Just put a perimeter up there.


JB: Mark, you mentioned a term somewhat new to me. You called it "put a TC wrapper around a server?"

MB: TCP wrapper. What that does is it's an IP address filter on the machine. It's a specific hosting service restriction. So on a UNIX host, for example, you can limit the source IP addresses for which FTP is available or TelNet access or whatever other services that you want to do. (I just got to the very edge of my knowledge in that area, by the way.)

JB: But in terms of particularly the situation with distance learning does create challenges that are difficult because most distance learning students, for example, many of them would have IP addresses from all the places that you mentioned earlier today. The AT &T, WorldNet and AOL and all the rest of that. Is there any way to -- given that kind of client population, what are some strategies that you might recommend for ensuring security and protection of data?

MB: You have to use other authentication mechanisms. You can't use network topology and you can't use filtering to take care of that because of what you just said. Not only might a particular student be accessing the class materials on a Web at a particular site from AT & T connectivity, two days later, they might be accessing the same material as they wander around Canada from some other ISP.

So you can't say to a student, "Okay, where are you going to be coming from? That's the only place where you're going to be doing that from." Sometimes you can do that, because if IU Bloomington is producing materials and providing classes for students at IU Purdue/Fort Wayne, then you know that's where they're going to be and you can use that kind of technology. If not, you're going to have to make sure that you use other authentication mechanisms -- a secure user name and password, depending on the materials. If it's fairly sensitive proprietary materials, that may not be enough. You may have to issue them some token, some password. You may want to use something like Kerberos to make sure that the password traverses the network encrypted. You just have to take additional steps outside of network topology to take care of that problem.

JB: To summarize what you were saying, then, one way is to look at your network topology and the second way is to look at these levels of software authentication.

MB: Yeah, in fact, we use a password token to generate a one-time password, and we deploy that on systems that support and applications that maintain sensitive information about people or about the institution. You can't get to those without that card.

So you can be in Hawaii on vacation, and if you're a payroll clerk, maybe you're the only payroll clerk or grades recording clerk in that department. You don't want that stuff floating around across half the world, so we want that data encrypted and we want those people to be using that card. That does two things. It protects the information and it also strongly authenticates the identity of the person accessing it. Then you can drop away some of the other network topology concerns.

JB: I think when you've got a population as varied as some of our distance learning institutions will have, those will probably be a preferred strategy.

MB: And let me finish off that answer by saying that we have not addressed that here -- the distance learning question, specifically -- here at IU.

JB: Ken, do you have anything else? I've lost track of my time here a little bit.

KH: No, we're running a little bit over. I think it is time to wrap it up.

JB: I want to thank everyone who joined us, and Ken, I'd like to thank you as well for jumping in at the last moment for Greg Marks. Let me just say again to remind everyone to take a look at the website and all the references and URL's that Mark has recommended. And Mark, you had mentioned just before we started the particular place that might be good for novices to start. Would you mind saying that one more time, and then we'll do the final close.

MB: From an appropriate policy and usage standpoint, Cornell has some very good information, and that's listed in the reference list. If you're talking about appropriate use, that would be the place to start. They have a Policy and Law Center. They do seminars. Good place to start right there.

JB: Right, very good. Also, we will be taking follow-up questions. Again, send them to We will be posting them also on the Web.

Also, put the next two expert even Webcasts on your calendar. The schedule is only a click away from the CREN homepage. Our next session is one week from today, on Wednesday, June 3 at 4:00. Our guest expert at that time will be Ken Klingenstein, and he will be taking questions on the area of Middleware, Authentication, Authorization and Directory Issues.

Also, CREN is pleased to announce the upcoming release of a new virtual seminar called "Creating Internet2." This seminar will be available in two formats, both on the Web and on CD.

Again, thanks to everyone who made this possible today: the board of CREN; our expert, Mark Bruhn; Ken Horning; Brian Vaughn at UM Online for encoding; and all of you. You were here because it's time. 'Bye, Mark.

MB: See you.

JB: 'Bye, Ken.

KH: 'Bye, Judith.

JB: 'Bye, all.