E-mail to Eircom Internet Security Team

The text of an Email dated July 1st 2001 to a member of the Eircom internet security team is reproduced below. It refers mainly to a false hit-counter reading for this web-site coming from a CGI (Common Gateway Interface) file on an Eircom controlled internet computer.

At the time of writing (July 6th 2001), the hit-counter, or "visitor counter", is reading 303; and for the reasons given below it should be 6585: i.e. 6282 + 303.

Please see July 9th 2001 Update

Police reference: P.S. 219/01

Eircom reference (received on July 4th 2001): Case No. 0000868433

| Original e-mail | Copy to: |

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Copy of e-mail to Eircom (see further down) forwarded to:

From: William Finnerty
To: Police Commissioner Pat Byrne (Chief Officer, Garda Siochana)
Sent: Sunday, July 01, 2001 7:58 PM
Subject: Fw: Ongoing false reading on Eircom hit-counter.


original

Original e-mail to Eircom internet security:

From: William Finnerty
To: David Dorgan (Eircom Security)
Cc: Attorney General (Mr Michael McDowell) ; President Mary McAleese
Sent: Sunday, July 01, 2001 7:40 PM
Subject: Ongoing false reading on Eircom hit-counter.

David,

Thank you for the e-mail you sent yesterday.

My understanding of the unwanted hit-counter changes to my web site is as set out below under points 1) to 7).  Please correct me, without delay, if you feel I'm in error regarding the contents.

1) The Eircom CGI file which holds the number for the hit count displayed on my web site is located on an Eircom controlled computer at the following address (which anybody, anywhere, using Internet Explorer 5 or similar) can very easily find by simply looking at the HTML source code on the Front Page of my Eircom web site:
http://homepage.tinet.ie/cgi-bin/Count.cgi?df=williamfinnerty.dat

2) There are only two main groups of people that I can think of who can change the hit counter number in the above CGI file: a) people inside Eircom who have the necessary security information; and, b) so called "hackers" outside of Eircom who succeed in breaking through the Eircom software security systems.

3) It is entirely Eircom's responsibility - AND NOT MINE - to prevent both of the above groups from making unauthorised changes to the number contained in the Eircom CGI file at the above address: regardless of whether someone (as you have put it) "sniffed" out my password or not.

4) As I reported to Eircom on June 21st last (please see below), the hit counter number in the above CGI file was changed sometime between the evening of June 20th and the morning of June 21st last.

5) Unlike Eircom (apparently), I have taken the precaution of keeping backup information for the number in the Eircom CGI file which has been tampered with: and as stated below the number was 6282 on the evening of June 20th last.

6) There is nothing that I know which would prevent Eircom from keeping backup copies of their CGI files (and the numbers they contain): if they choose to do so. (Making and keeping copies of digital electronic information on computers is both easy and commonplace.)

7) By sustaining the situation regarding the false reading now being displayed on the Eircom hit-counter at my site - which is 6282 less than it should be - Eircom are in effect (as I see it) supporting the person/s responsible for making the unauthorised changes: and they are doing so at my ongoing expense.

I would like to stress that I AM SELF EMPLOYED; and, unlike people who are employed by Eircom (such as yourself I assume), I do not receive any pay for the time I have to spend trying to deal with problems of this kind. For me, this kind of work produces nothing but losses and expenses of various kinds. Consequently, and if at all possible, I do not intend to spend very much more of my time on this matter. Yesterday, I asked the Garda Siochana to look into the situation; and I trust that Eircom will co-operate fully with any inquiries that the Gardai might decide to make within Eircom. It is also my intention to seek help and guidance tomorrow from a firm of lawyers.

Finally, and although I realise that there might not be any connection at all between the events and situations outlined under A) to D) below, I feel I should mention them anyway (mainly for the benefit of the Gardai) - just in case that the relationship between the events in question is something more than pure coincidence:

A)    I received an e-mail from Finance Minister McCreevy's Office on June 22nd last thanking me for information he had received sometime earlier regarding an ESB project planned for the East County Galway area;

B)    A day or so before the e-mail of June 22nd from Minister McCreevy, and keeping in mind that numbers are often important to politicians in democratic societies, my Eircom hit-counter was tampered with in a way which would give the impression that almost nobody had ever seen my Eircom web site;

C)    Yesterday's "Irish Independent" newspaper, and today's "Ireland on Sunday" newspaper both carry front page headlines which in essence go on to relate that Minister McCreevy has (in effect) ordered the ESB to abandon a £1.3bn overseas expansion project: largely it seems because he felt that the ESB is having difficulty enough with the running of the electricity service here in Ireland.

D)   Some of the information regarding the ESB which Minister McCreevy thanked me for on June 22nd is on one of my Eircom web site pages; and it does (in my view) suggest that the ESB may have an enormous amount of catching up to do with regard to their knowledge of laws that have been put in place some years ago for the protection of archaeological sites. The www page containing this information is at the address immediately below:
http://homepage.eircom.net/~williamfinnerty/esb-proj.htm

Sincerely,

William Finnerty.


----- Original Message -----

From: David Dorgan <david.dorgan@eircom.net>
To: William Finnerty <wfinnerty@eircom.net>
Sent: Saturday, June 30, 2001 3:57 PM

Subject: Re: Unwanted (and possibly unauthorised?) interference with Eircom web site

> > Earlier today (around 8 a.m.) I sent an e-mail to Eircom regarding what appears to me as unwanted (and possibly unauthorised?) interference with the Internet web site which Eircom host for me. This particular round of problems began for me several days ago - i.e. on June 20th or 21st last. (At around 8.05 a.m. this morning I forwarded copies of the e-mail in question to you, to President McAleese, and to Attorney General Michael McDowell - which I assume have all been delivered by now.) > >

>
> Hello, my name is David Dorgan I am with the Eircom Security team.
> The only people who have access to this machine which could do this
> is a very small and core group, which are trusted with everything
> in eircom, I have however, checked on the matter, basically any
> trusted command will be logged in the event of a breakin for proof.
> I have checked and nobody tampered with your site, the only
> thing I can see which may have happened is that somebody could have
> sniffed your password while dialed up on an untrusted network which
> isn't hard to do, and if they did you would have the proove somebody did,
> give proof that they did it, that it wasn't somebody else remotely working
> from the machine etc. etc....
>
> Eircom Net haven't, and will never modify the contents of a users website.
> If you have any further questions feel free to mail me.
>
> > --
> David Dorgan               Computer Incident Response Team                        
> david.dorgan@eircom.net    Eircom Multimedia         
>
> Remember, it takes 47 muscles to frown, but only 4 to pull the trigger on a quality sniper rifle.
>


THE FOLLOWING SECTION CONTAINING COPIES
OF EARLIER E-MAILS WAS ADDED ON TO THE ABOVE
SO THAT TOGETHER THEY FORMED JUST ONE E-MAIL


----- Original Message -----

From: William Finnerty
To: Valerie Doherty (Eircom Customer Services)
Cc: Eircom Webmaster ; Bill Crawford (Eircom Customer Services) ; Eircom Accounts Department ; Eircom Helpdesk
Sent: Saturday, June 30, 2001 8:08 AM
Subject: Web site not working.

Valerie,

In addition to the problem mentioned below (regarding the hit counter), I now find that my web site is not available at all this morning. I have tried the Front Page, plus a few others, and nothing appears to functioning. As far as I can judge, the whole of my Eircom web site is unavailable at present on the internet system.

I have also checked to see if the FTP service was working, and that is also unavailable to me at present.

Please note that (as I have stated before) I am self-employed, and that I use the FTP service for altering and updating web sites other than the one Eircom hosts for me.

It is now my intention to be seeking legal advice about the above matters, and I would be grateful if you (or somebody else at Eircom) could provide me with an explanation (as soon as possible please) as to why the above mentioned problems are happening?


---- Original Message -----

From: William Finnerty
To: Valerie Doherty (Eircom Customer Services)
Cc: Eircom Webmaster ; Bill Crawford (Eircom Customer Services) ; Eircom Accounts Department ; Eircom Helpdesk
Sent: Wednesday, June 27, 2001 10:07 AM
Subject: Fw: Hit counter reset?

Valerie,

I have not received any reply to the e-mail I sent to you on Monday last. In case that for some reason you did not receive it, I have reproduced it below.

I still don't know why the Eircom controlled hit-counter on my site was reset on June 20th (or 21st) 2001?

Far more importantly, I don't know why Eircom appear to be so completely unwilling to restore the correct number to the hit-counter: when I am in a position to tell them what the reading was just hours before the information was erased? (Please see below.)

I am copying this to the Eircom Accounts Department in the hope that they will be able to compensate me in some way for my losses connected with this problem. (Please note that I am self-employed.)

In case there might be any doubt about it, I would like to make it clear to all that, apart from the hit-counter problem, I am very happy with all other matters connected with the way Eircom now host my site.

Billy (Finnerty).

||||||||||||||||||
Email:  wfinnerty@eircom.net
Web site:  http://homepage.eircom.net/~williamfinnerty/
|||||||||||||||||| 


----- Original Message -----

From: William Finnerty
To: Valerie Doherty (Eircom Customer Services)
Cc: Bill Crawford (Eircom Customer Services)
Sent: Monday, June 25, 2001 10:51 AM
Subject: Fw: Hit counter reset?

Dear Valerie,

I have received a response (copied immediately below) from the Eircom Helpdesk.

Unfortunately, it does not help. In fact, and without going into details here, it makes matters worse for me.

A daily record has been kept by us here in New Inn (County Galway) of the Eircom hit counter reading (since January 1st 2000). The reading on the day Eircom reset the counter (without warning me or informing me, and without providing me with any explanation so far) is as shown below in my e-mail of June 21st to the Eircom Webmaster.

To the best of my knowledge, and taking account of the figure of "6288" I have already provided the Eircom Webmaster with (please see below), it would be a very simple matter for the Eircom Technical Department to correct the gross (and very misleading) error which at present exists in the reading that now appears on the Eircom hit counter at my site.

If the Eircom Technical Department are still unwilling to correct the hit counter error, I would be grateful if you could ask the Eircom Legal Department for their view on the matter; and then let me know where I stand regarding the Terms and Conditions of the service agreement between myself and Eircom.  

I look forward to hearing from you.

Regards,

Billy (Finnerty)


----- Original Message -----

From: <helpdesk@eircom.net>
To: <wfinnerty@eircom.net>
Sent: Saturday, June 23, 2001 10:05 AM
Subject: Message from Eircom Net

Email Response Text : Dear customer,
Unfortunatly once a counter has been reset it cannot be put back becasue the information has been erased. For further information:

You can contact us on:
Subscription: 1890 787 337
Free:  1550 233 233
Helpdesk Support Page: http://support.eircom.net

Kindest Regards
Eircom Net
Technical Support 


----- Original Message -----

From: Valerie Doherty
To: 'wfinnerty@eircom.net
Sent: Friday, June 22, 2001 1:06 PM
Subject: FW: Hit counter reset?

Dear Mr Finnerty

I have forwarded your email to Barry Swan Supervisor of technical support.

Sorry for any inconvenience caused.

Yours Sincerely,

Valerie.
Eircom net


-----Original Message-----

From: William Finnerty [mailto:wfinnerty@eircom.net]
Sent: Friday, June 22, 2001 12:51 PM
To: Valerie Doherty (Eircom Customer Services)
Cc: Bill Crawford (Eircom Customer Services)
Subject: Fw: Hit counter reset?

Dear Ms Doherty,

I am having technical problems with the hit counter on my Eircom site. Though they have been reported twice to the Eircom Webmaster and others (as shown below), I have not received any reply at all.

Last October, I also had problems with the hit counter (reported then under Eircom reference 498044); and as I related on the phone a little earlier today to your colleague Bill Crawford, the problems of last October eventually seemed to get resolved after I suggested to Olivia Mathews (who I understand has now left), that she seek advice from the Eircom legal department: by copying my e-mail correspondence regarding the matter to them.

It would be much appreciated if you could try to resolve the present hit counter problem (set out below) for me please.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely, 

Mr. William Finnerty.


----- Original Message -----

From: William Finnerty
To: Eircom Webmaster
Cc: Daniel Dunne ; Eircom Helpdesk
Sent: Friday, June 22, 2001 9:49 AM
Subject: Fw: Hit counter reset?

Dear Webmaster,

I have not received any reply at all (from anybody) to my e-mail to you of yesterday (reproduced below).

Yesterday, the hit counter at my site appears to have been reset to zero again???

Please note that there is a large part of my Eircom web site which deals with matters connected with the protection of local heritage, and local environment; and that efforts are being made to bring these issues to the attention of politicians who it is hoped might be able to help.  

It is not at all helpful (from my viewpoint) if the politicians in question are being given the impression that only a few people know about information of the kind contained on www pages such as the sample given immediately below:
http://homepage.eircom.net/~williamfinnerty/irish-times.htm

Yours sincerely,

Mr. William Finnerty.


----- Original Message -----

From: William Finnerty
To: Eircom Webmaster
Cc: Daniel Dunne ; Eircom Helpdesk
Sent: Thursday, June 21, 2001 8:41 AM
Subject: Hit counter reset?

Dear Webmaster,

For some reason the hit counter at my Eircom site appears to have been reset sometime during the past 12 hours or so.

The hit counter was reading 6282 yesterday evening (i.e. June 20th); this morning it is reading 6.  Adding these two numbers together, I assume it should at the present time be somewhere in the region of 6288.

I would be grateful if you could please correct the error in the hit counter reading caused by the reset.

Yours sincerely,

Mr. William Finnerty.

||||||||||||||||||
Email:  wfinnerty@eircom.net
Web site:  http://homepage.eircom.net/~williamfinnerty/
||||||||||||||||||


July 9th

July 9th 2001 Update:
The hit-counter number at this web site was restored
to its correct value today by Eircom.

Note added on August 26th 2001:
With reference to the paragraph immediately above, the hit-counter problem
recurred on July 17th 2001.  This gave rise to further correspondence
- part of which can be seen by following August 7th 2001 link below.

Other hit-counter correspondence:

| June 30th 2001...to Police Commissioner | July 1st 2001 ... to Police Commissioner |

| July 27th 2001 ... to Eircom | August 7th 2001 ... from Eircom  |   

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