[e2e] What if there were no well known numbers?

David P. Reed dpreed at reed.com
Tue Aug 8 09:48:21 PDT 2006

Deep philosophical question, Joe.   What does it mean to receive or send?

Consider a human infant.   When born it is physically in an 
environment.   However in terms of speech it is neither sending nor 
receiving messages.

Which does it do first?   In fact, it probably starts by sending.   
Eventually sending (cries, kicks, smiles) provoke responses that seem to 
be correlated with sensed input.

Or maybe it starts by receiving.   But it is NOT "open to attack" 
because the messages that arrive are not acted upon in a predictable 
way.   Only after 12-18 months does a parent teach the child what 
messages is must act upon in order to get fed, etc.

The underlying philosophical question is the difference between energy 
impinging on a computer and its willingness to act upon it.

My computer cannot be attacked unless it is running a program that 
causes it to ACT upon incoming data.   Merely being connected to 
incoming data does not make it vulnerable.

Similarly, a sender cannot cause my computer to do anything predictable 
or interesting unless it can predict what impinging energy structures 
will cause predictable actions.

Thus putting responsibility on a "3rd party" to protect a receiver or 
limit a sender is a long way from the point where communications is 
turned on or enabled.

The step of installing Windows or Linux on the computer (with device 
drivers) is the first step.   If you install Windows you increase your 
risk hugely.   Though Linux with a crappy device driver is just as 
easily killed - a malformed packet can cause code to be executed in the 
kernel in many cases, since the device driver executes in the kernel 
address space.

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