Security with the Use of Protocol Isolation

The backbone and protocol of the Internet is TCP/IP.  TCP/IP is a suite of several networking protocols developed especially for use on the Internet.  The suite has proven very popular, and it is also used for most UNIX implementations as well as other platforms such as Windows 2000 and Windows NT.  The problem is that TCP/IP is a “routable” network protocol.  Without some security mechanism such as a firewall, there is nothing to stop Internet users from outside the local network from trying to connect to shared resources in the local network.  This can be a serious threat to small organizations or personal home networks, as their data can easily be obtained.

A fairly simple technique used to solve this problem is called protocol isolation.  In summary, protocol isolation works by configuring the local network in a way that it uses both TCP/IP and a non-TCP/IP protocol.  Internet access is available but only via the Internet protocol TCP/IP.  Next a non-TCP/IP protocol is used for transferring shared data.  As a result, users from outside the network will be unable to obtain access to shared resources while internal users can access shared resources as well as Internet services.

In a case where an individual wanted added protection for a section of his or her network instead of binding multiple protocols to protected computers, one could place the entire segment behind a router, gateway or bridge and only provide NetBEUI or some other protocol’s network services to that section of the network.

The network protocol originally used as the default for Microsoft Networks was NetBEUI.  This protocol is fast, efficient, adds only a small amount of overhead and is not routable.  By configuring shared resources on the local network to use NetBEUI for file sharing, and by setting that as the default protocol, local resources will not be available to remote, unwelcome, users.  Additionally, an alternative to NetBEUI is IPX/SPX which Microsoft and Novell proxy servers provide standard.  Both have the ability to add “protocol isolation” to a network’s security scheme by allowing clients to use only IPX/SPX as network protocols.

Protocol isolation is a very good method of securing data, but one has to remember that all machines on the network that are using TCP/IP are fully exposed to attack from any computer in the world that has access to the internet.  It is also important to not think of protocol isolation as any form of “firewall” because it is not.  Firewalls have the ability to block and filter incoming packets, protocol isolation simply utilizes the fact that the protected computer is not sharing any resources over TCP/IP nor offering any TCP/IP services, thus there is nothing for a hostile user to connect to.

Protocol isolation techniques use network devices that do not require TCP/IP as the primary means of network communication.  They use some other protocol, such as NetBEUI or IPX/SPX, to communicate on the local network.  When these systems need to access the Internet, which requires TCP/IP, they go through some type of application gateway or have multiple protocols bound to protected machines.  Protocol isolation provides a great deal of protection because TCP/IP traffic cannot reach a system that does not run TCP/IP, but should not be considered the same as a firewall because they are 2 entirely different entities.

Creating an Emergency Pack for Family AND Pets


Start by talking with your family about what you will do in various situations. Responses to localized emergencies like fires, small storms and power outages will likely differ from emergency plans for large scale emergencies such as hurricanes, tornadoes and manmade attacks. Plan evacuation routes to designated meeting points.

These will vary based on the situation. If dealing with flooding, you’ll want to take refuge in the highest room location in your home. For a tornado, you’ll want to take family and pets to the lowest level of your home. If dealing with a chemical or airborne emergency, the Red Cross advises families to go to an interior room without windows that is above ground level (in the case of a chemical threat, an above-ground location is preferable because some chemicals are heavier than air, and may seep into basements even if the windows are closed).

All pets should have collars and tags with easily visible identification. ID tags should have your pet’s name, your phone number and important medical information. If possible, list a mobile phone number. If you’re not at home when danger strikes, calls may not reach you at a home phone.

For local emergencies, it is important to display an animal rescue sign or sticker so that responders know that there are pets in your home. Your rescue sign should contain the types and names of pets in your house, as well as veterinarian name and contact information. Use your best judgment about placing additional contact information on the sign. While you want to give emergency officials enough information to safely rescue you pets, you must be cautious not to expose information which might be abused by solicitors or passers by.

Finally, make copies of contact, evacuation route and emergency plan information for all members of your family. Store them in Ziploc style waterproof bags so that they will stay dry in case of flooding or water damage.

Where to Go

After you take care of basic preparation, you should agree on two meeting places: one near your home for emergencies such as fires, and another outside of your immediate neighborhood if you must evacuate your home. Similarly, it’s wise to designate two emergency contacts. The first should be in your neighborhood, the second should be out of town. During large scale disasters it can often be easier to reach people who are not in your immediate area. Make sure all of your family members memorize both phone numbers.

If it is necessary to leave your home, you may not be able to bring your pet to rescue facilities with your family. To prevent permanent separation, identify a boarding kennel or shelter in your immediate area that provides emergency care or foster care for pets. Outside of your area, have the name and number of hotels, friends or relatives that will accept your pets. By having these numbers and arrangements in place, you will be able to reunite with your pets even if you are not able to return to your home.

Making an Emergency Pack

It’s easy to prepare an emergency pack for you and your pet. Each pack should contain 3 days worth of supplies. Supplies should be stored in a backpack as close to an exit as possible.

For each member of your family, your pack should include:

  • Batteries
  • Battery powered flashlight
  • Battery powered radio
  • Blanket
  • 3-5 days worth of water
  • Energy bars, canned nutrition shakes or other food which does not require cooking or refrigeration
  • Baby wipes
  • Breathing mask
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Duct tape
  • First Aid Kit and guide book
  • Light stick
  • Spray paint
  • Whistle or air horn
  • 3-5 day supply of Tylenol or Aspirin, as well as any prescription medication
  • Recent photos if family members become separated

Your pet’s supply kit should include:

  • Easy open canned or dry food. If packing dry food, you may wish to store it in large Ziploc style plastic bags. For birds, a small, tupperware container is recommended
  • Bottled water supply for your pet
  • Disposable litter trays
  • Pet feeding dishes
  • Extra leash
  • Photocopies of medical records
  • 3-5 day supply of any medicine your pet requires
  • Litter or paper toweling
  • A traveling bag or sturdy carrier, ideally one for each pet
  • Recent photos of your pets if you become separated

Remember to change food, water and medicine every three to six months to maintain freshness and effectiveness.
Disasters, whether small, large, natural or manmade can be terrifying. By having a solid plan in place, emergency contacts and disaster packs ready to go, you can give your entire family the best chance of surviving together.

Sciatica – The Cause & Cure

Sciatica — What it is?

Sciatica is the name people give to a pain in the buttock, leg or foot brought on as a direct result of some form of irritation to the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body. It runs all the way from the lower back splitting at the base of the spine and terminating in the foot.

The discs which cushion the vertebrae in the lower back become progressively thinner and harder as we get older. This stresses the lower back and often causes a variety of lower back pain disorders, including sciatica.

Sciatica is usually caused by a prolapsed or ‘slipped’ disc bulging and pressing on to a nerve. It doesn’t usually cause permanent nerve damage since the spinal cord is not present in the lower part of the spine and a prolapsed or herniated disc in this area does not pose a risk of paralysis.

What is the Cause of Sciatica?

The most common cause of sciatica is a prolapsed (slipped) disc, pinched nerves or some form of arthritis. It usually starts with back pain which sometimes improves only to be followed by hamstring or calf pain. It may also include numbness in the toes depending on which branch of the sciatic nerve is irritated.

Piriformis syndrome is a condition in which the piriformis muscle irritates the sciatic nerve. The piriformis muscle is a small muscle behind the gluteus maximus. Piriformis syndrome is most common among women, runners and walkers.

Spinal stenosis is the name given to the narrowing of the nerve channel (vertebral canal) of the spine. This narrowing causes compression of either the spinal cord within the vertebral canal, or the nerve roots that exit the spinal cord. People with spinal stenosis experience sciatic pain symptoms in the legs and feet. It usually results from degenerative arthritis causing a narrowing of the spaces in the vertebral canal. Manual workers are more prone to developing symptoms of spinal stenosis but it seldom affects people under 30 years of age – unless it is due to traumatic injury to the vertebrae.

The spine is made up of a series of connected bones called “vertebrae.” Spondylolisthesis or isthmic spondylolisthesis occurs when a cracked vertebra slips over the vertebra below it. Poor posture and curvature of the back or weak abdominal muscles can contribute to this slippage, which can press on the nerve. The presence of this spondylolysis usually does not represent a dangerous condition in the adult and most treatments concentrate on pain relief and increasing the patient’s ability to function.

The Cure for Sciatica

Some cases of sciatica which result from inflammation get better with time and heal themselves perhaps within six weeks to three months.

Recent studies have shown that bed rest is not necessarily the best way to treat sciatica. It is better to remain active, starting off with some gentle stretching and exercise. Swimming is particularly useful, as it is not a weight bearing exercise. The good news is that herniated spinal discs usually do heal on their own, given time.

There are many different treatments for sciatica and it is important to discuss these with your health practitioner. Accurate diagnosis to determine the exact cause of sciatic pain is also equally important. The most conclusive diagnosis is usually gained by a having an MRI scan. However having said that skilled medical practitioners, and I include Osteopaths and Chiropractors, are often able to determine the suspected cause by carrying out a physical examination

Stretching and exercising are a must if you really want to progress along the road to rehabilitation and if you are in extreme pain this is probably the last thing you will contemplate doing.

Since getting mobile and becoming flexible is extremely important you might require some pain management to help you get going. For mild cases of sciatica your doctor may start off by recommending non prescription medications like aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen, known as non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs. A downside of these drugs is that they may cause stomach upsets or bleeding.

If your pain is not relieved by analgesics or NSAIDs, your doctor might prescribe narcotic analgesics (such as codeine) for a short time. Side effects of these include nausea, constipation, dizziness and drowsiness, and continued use may result in dependency.

Sciatic pain is usually nerve related and responds well to treatment with low doses of tricyclic anti-depressant drugs like amitriptyline, dothiepin, nortriptyline, lofepramine, desipramine, clomipramine or imipramine combined with acupuncture or the use of TENs machines. The low dosage of the tricyclic drug acts by closing “a pain gate” blocking the message to the brain.

Other medications like Corticosteroids taken orally or by injection are sometimes prescribed for more severe back and leg pain because of their very powerful anti-inflammatory effect. Corticosteroids also have side effects and the pros and cons of taking them should be fully discussed with your doctor.

In extreme cases spinal injections of corticosteroid into the epidural space (the area around the spinal nerves) or facet joint (between vertebrae) may be given. This is usually carried out by a specialist with follow up injections at a later date.

Other treatments to manage sciatica include traction; manipulation by a skilled osteopath, physio therapist or chiropractor; Chemonucleolysis (injection of a special enzyme into the disk).

There is a fairly new procedure called IDET which stands for Iintro Discal Electrothermy). When a disc is herniated the water content of the inflamed disc causes it to bulge and press against the nerve. IDET dries up the disc very quickly, in less than 20 minutes, a process which might take weeks or months if left to dry up naturally

As a last resort you may consider surgery to remove fragments of the prolapsed disc are then removed.

As I mentioned earlier it is important to stay active and continue with an exercise and stretching program. Especially do exercises to develop your back and stomach muscles. This will help stabilize your spine and support your body.

It is also important to maintain a reasonable body weight, ensure you have a good posture, sleep on a mattress that is neither too soft nor too hard, be careful when bending or lifting heavy weights.

This information in this article should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease. You should always consult with your health care professional especially relating to the suitability of supplements or drugs and on all health matters that may require diagnosis or medical attention. If you suffer from progressive weakness in the leg or bladder or bowel incontinence this constitutes a medical emergency and you should seek immediate medical attention – you may have cauda equina syndrome a serious condition due to compression of the nerve roots in the lower end of the spinal canal.