11-Year-Old Boy Figures Out Network Security

Gateway, not network, the place to fight threats

Get the WebProNews Newsletter:

[ Technology]

If your business is still letting users inside the network deal with spam and other security issues on the desktop, your leadership may not be smarter than a 5th grader.

One of the numerous little Internet-only memes concerns a humorous list called If I Became An Evil Overlord, which has been around in some form for several years. Among its many prudent and useful suggestions comes this gem:

One of my advisors will be an average five-year-old child. Any flaws in my plan that he is able to spot will be corrected before implementation.

Jon Penn is a little older than the minimum required age for assessing Evil Overlord plans, but he’s certainly got the right ideas when it comes to securing his school’s network. A piece at Network World discussed the lad and his efforts at ridding the network of spam and viruses.

We applaud one step in particular the young man implemented, after identifying all the garbage adrift on the Victory Baptist School’s machines in Sherwood, Arkansas. Penn persuaded the grown-ups to stop the influx of junk at the gateway, rather than trying to control it PC by PC.

We’ve been advocates of moving the spam and virus fight to the gateway, preferably beyond even the corporate gateway to the ISP realm, for some time. If a child can figure out this is the best solution, you might want to ask your IT folks why they are so much smarter than a 5th grader about this while you’re deleting hundreds of spam messages every day.

11-Year-Old Boy Figures Out Network Security
Top Rated White Papers and Resources
  • Brent

    Ok, so is he 5 or 11 years old?

    • David A. Utter

      He’s eleven

  • Guest

    yes again another crapy artile

    no substance. you guys should relly  stop putting a lot of crapy post and focuse on few good article.

    you giving the idea that you really have no idea of what you re talking about

    • David A. Utter

      I bet the kid spells better than you do.

  • cheesesliceking

    glad i wasted two minutes of my life visiting and reading this story..

  • Just an idea

    I have to agree, making a post to simply have a new post and fresh content is on of my pet peeves.

    My biggest problem with this article is that there seems to be no resolution. How are they planning on securing their router, can you provide any links to helpful articles. These are things that could have made the article more useful.



  • Guest

     Maybe all of you who need to know how they did it, could hire the kid.
    I’ll give you a hint. The best appliance is a Barracuda.

  • http://www.cudafly.co.uk Guest

    I agree with some of the negative comments partially as some links to usefull sites would have been good, however what do you want – war and peace?

    Why don’t ISP’s stop more of this spam and junk mail. It seems to me that it does not matter how many spam filters on a hosted server etc you use as soon as you have a web site you spend 30 minutes a day clearing out the junk of replica watches and drugs. Surely these email marketing techniques don’t really work as everyone just deletes them anyway. As part of any hosted package surely it is in the interest of the hosting company to block anything with partucular titles and nonesensical email adresses such as gwwuuewiuh@uhwoow which these people change every time spam etc is sent out so that you can’t block particular email addresses. Overall woud it not be simpler to block any email from a domain to your hosted server that has been reported as spam?

    • Guest

      Blocking junk mail at the ISP would be the equivelent to the US postal service deciding what mail the accept and what mail to decline. One mans junk mail is another man’s business mail.

      Now, before you jump on me as "a mail spammer" I am a business owner, and I DON’T use email as a marketing method, but I am anti-censorship. I do not want any ISP, government agency, or other entity to tell me what emails I can send and what emails I can’t. As a business, my customers, or potential customers should decide if they want to do business with me.

      Thanks for the opportunity to comment.

      • http://www.network2computers.com HJ

        ISP’s should be able to detect emails with incorrect headers and corrupted emails that attempt to get round spam filters and sometimes screw up your email system. Requiring you to log on to your webmail server to delete it, as it won’t download.

        And you can also install software, plugins or have a separate server that requires anybody that sends you email to confirm the email they send you the first time. While this is inconvenient, if you get a 100 or more spam a day it’s handy.

        Some ISP’s do have a Spam facility available, but it’s optional as to whether you enable it or not.

      • Guest

        "One mans junk mail is another man’s business mail."

        Only if the business mail you receive is from that business.

        I am a small business owner and the amount of junk e-mail that appears to be going out from my domain is scary.

        Spammers are using my business domain name to send junk.  This leaves me having to try and get off black lists for something some low life scum are doing using my business name!!!!

        After having spent countless hours trying to find how to stop spammers using my domain name, the only thing that appears viable is for ISP’s to check the "sent from" ip address and see if it matches my domain mail server and if not, stop it there.

        You may not be using e-mail marketing with your e-mail address, but I bet the spammers already are!!



  • http://www.tealmontgomery.com santa rosa personal injury

    It has some truth to the story though.  My niece is 11 and is learning fractions at school and uses the computer so much she talks tech jargon.  She knows how to change her password, and use hints too!  Kids are getting smarter and smarter. 


    Steve Teal

  • http://www.productremember.com Guest

    It has some truth to the story though.

  • dkirk

    It is refreshing to find articles such as this. It is nice to find an 11 year old that is helping instead of hurting the net. For the person that can’t spell a nice little program that sits in the task bar and tells you when you misspell is at http://www.numerit.com/ it is called tiny spell and does wonders for those that could not get by the 4th grade spelling class.

  • http://williambryan.com William

    The answer to all internet security issues on the internet is NOT scanning and filtering messaging. The very simple solution is to require all isp’s on the whole internet to check the ip address of their customer/ sender of any data, and confirm that it is indeed their ip address.  If any computer/ server tried to send data with a false ip or no ip, the isp could simply bounce it back. The authorities could then spend their time rounding up the spammers, phishers, and other pranksters by their ip address.


    No! Such a software program at the isp would not be a resource hog, and it would be less intrusive, since no email message scanning and filtering would take place.

    Of course, this would take away the anonymous nature of the internet, and the only solution to this problem would be to create an additional secure internet. People who wished to remain anonymous could live on the wild west internet, and the sane people could live on the secure internet.


    This would put virtually all security people out of business. :)




    • http://www.network2computers.com HJ

      Maybe the next generation Internet will require ID’s, and those that want to remain anonymous, can still use this one?

  • http://www.factfrenzy.com jawn_tech

    Hackers come in all ages.

    Why shouldn’t your staff?

    Fight fire with fire.

  • http://www.arperture.com MGM

    Granted 9/10, BULK mails are spam…Some email programs.Have a Blacklist.  If you actually use a mail service, instead of Yahoo, or Gmail you will find the blacklist option next to your delete, once you blacklist someones address, there mail gets sent to the trash…QUIT using FREE EMAIL. I use yahooo to catch most spammers, its my spam account.

  • Guest

    Since most spammers use a botnet and proxies so send spam and email spoofing there is not much point in returning the mail as it will flood email boxes of innocent parties.

    Email spoofing is where the senders email is not where the email originates from. Spammers often infect unsuspecting users PCs with a virus and then route their spam through these PCs.

    IP blocking can also have disastrous consequences if an ISP blocks the wrong IP address. For instance in blocking eBay notifications or Bebo notifications.

    Spammers have disposable IP addresses and disposable email addresses (or use addresses that don’t belong to them) so they don’t care much if they get blocked.

  • http://www.lowongankerja2009.com/ lowongan kerja 2009

    thanks for its article.. very helpful.. :)

  • http://www.m4s73r.com/ Internet Marketing Indonesia

    thanks for your article. Very help me. I will more like visit to webpronews site. :) Fantastic

  • Join for Access to Our Exclusive Web Tools
  • Sidebar Top
  • Sidebar Middle
  • Sign Up For The Free Newsletter
  • Sidebar Bottom