Monday, February 01, 2010

Domestic computers are too often zombies in botnets

Jack Goldsmith makes a chilling point about the habits of US computer users in his op-ed Monday morning Feb. 1 in The Washington Post, “Can we stop the cyber arms race?”, link here.

While it’s right to be concerned about foreign cyber spying and hacking on US commercial and security interests, it’s also true that a great deal of the knowledge base on computer crime lives inside this country. He points out that the United States has most of the infected botnet computers in the world, and that many botnet attacks (often DDOS attacks) do result within the US. The mechanisms for these events have been well publicized in the media since about early 2001, well before 9/11. Many of the infected computers have always been poorly protected home and small business computers. After 9/11, some authorities raised concerns that home computers could become targets for steganography, although actual incidence of this does not seem to have grown.

We still could be facing consideration of how much legal responsibility home users should have when they connect to “the Outside” for safetly, just as we do with driver’s licenses and auto liability. Will there be an Internet driver’s license some day?

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