Monday, May 20, 2013

New Yorker: we're losing the cyberwar already; a computer's fan staying on could mean it's infected

The New Yorker magazine, the May 20, 2013 issue, p. 64, has a major essay by John Seabrook on the state of Internet security today, and it is not encouraging. It’s called “Network Insecurity: Are we losing the battle against cybercrime?” link here

No longer is it enough for PC users and companies to play “defense” against “known” threats.  Polymorphism has been warned about for years, anyway. 

Viruses and worms used to be more likely to have obvious symptoms.  Now, they seem related to enlisted computers unbeknownst into massive industrial and political spying and retaliation. Often there are few or no symptoms, just oddities.

And corporate networks are particularly vulnerable because of “spear –phishing” by employees, and the possibility of employees using their own computers for work.  (At home, I always used my own computer for support, and there were legal reasons for doing so that would not apply today.)

One symptom of infection can be that your computer’s fan is always on – because the hackers’ applications are using the machine’s spare power.

The article discusses two-step verification, and one could express surprise that more banks don’t insist on it.  But on a mobile device that doesn’t seem to apply.
The article doesn’t do much with downstream liability, or the possibility of framing an "enemy" with a cyberattack..   What if a virus did download child porn to your computer, and you never saw it, and didn’t  find out until you took it in for repair?  

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