THE DEVIL IN THE NETWORK

A PROGRAM CALLED SATAN, WHICH THREATENED TO POKE HOLES IN CYBERSPACE, MAY PLUG THEM INSTEAD

Dan Farmer is a computer programmer with a gold ring in his eyebrow, a curly shock of orange hair and a tendency to tug on the beard of authority. Last Wednesday, on the day that Farmer turned 33, he gave a gift to the computer world: a fiendish little software device called SATAN.

It was, judging by its advance press, the most dreaded computer program since the Michelangelo virus. SATAN, which is an acronym for Security Administrator Tool for Analyzing Networks, was designed by Farmer and a fellow programmer to help network administrators scan their computers for the technological equivalent of...

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