TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Criminals Are Overwhelming the Web

Re: Criminals Are Overwhelming the Web
6 Feb 2007 11:40:50 -0800

On Feb 5, 5:46 pm, Tim Weber, BBC News <>

> Criminals controlling millions of personal computers are threatening
> the internet's future, experts have warned. Up to a quarter of
> computers on the net may be used by cyber criminals in so-called
> botnets, said Vint Cerf, one of the fathers of the internet.

What is frustrating to me, as an end user, is that none of the many
articles on this subject say anything about stopping the "botnets".
How does a computer become that way? Who owns such computers? What
is being done to notify or discipline the owners of such unprotected
computers? Why are there so many of them?

What is being done to prosecute the criminals who exploit these
things? For example, it appears money fraud uses credit cards, not
cash. Such items are trackable, even to foreign countries. If some
foreign bank isn't cooperating, simply cut them off from the rest of
the banking world. That'll bring them into compliance real fast.
U.S. credit card companies and banks could be doing more control
checks as well, but perhaps they don't want to discourage business.

> Despite all that, the net is still working, which is pretty amazing.
> "It's pretty resilient," noted Vint Cerf

Perhaps because people have been brainwashed to spend far more money
than necessary for high horsepower equipment to handle all the crap.
The computer industry is just like the auto industry with its planned
obsolescence model years: this year's model has so many new hot
exciting features your last year's computer is old and shabby!

> But its members were unsure about feasible solutions, even though they
> identified operating systems and authentication as key issues.

Bull----! If they can develop fancy protocols that cross connect
everything from giant mainframes to handheld music boxes, they can
come with security solutions.

> It was still too easy for net criminals to hide their tracks, several
> panel members said, although they acknowledged that it was probably
> not desirable that every individual was definitively identifiable.

> "Anonymity has its value, and it has its risk," said Jonathan
> Zittrain, professor for internet governance at the University of
> Oxford.

This is hypocritical nonsense. Grow up. The 1960s are long gone.
Yes, personal privacy is a big problem. But requiring true
authetification on computer networks will ease identity theft and
fraud, which are big problems.

> But already pirated copies of Vista were circulating in China, even
> though the consumer launch of Vista has only been a few days ago.
> Experience showed that about 50% of all pirated Windows programs came
> with Trojans pre-installed on them, Mr Markoff said.

Nothing about what lay consumers can do and should do to protect
themselves. The techies live in a world unto their own and don't want
to share it (nothing new there, the techies 30 years ago were just as
obnoxious). When a lay person asks a techie a question, the reply is
a stream of acronyms and buzzwords that mean nothing.

When I was in college I had a comp sci prof who deducted points for
every buzzword used in a paper. Standard English was required. Hard
specifics, not vague promises, were required. Too bad more teachers
weren't like that.

> Mr. Toure said that whatever the solution, the fight against botnets was
> a "war" that could only be won if all parties -- regulators, governments,
> telecoms firms, computer users and hardware and software makers -- worked
> together.

But all of those people have their own selfish agendas, sadly. The
computer makers want to sell more and powerful computers to make more
profit. The telecoms don't want any restrictions or tracking to
disrupt their profits or make their job harder. The governments want
to track things outside of computer security (i.e. drug runners, tax
cheats). The tech users want to safeguard their priviledged world
where people must pay dearly for their services. The end users are
too lazy to learn and use even basic computer concepts and technology;
they want everything fully automated.

[public replies, please]

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Its everyone with their own agenda
which has created most of the problems we see these days with the
tons of spam and truckloads of bots ruining things. And most system
admins are far too busy to examine every piece of outgoing mail to
try and detirmine any (spam) patterns prevalant in them. That is, if
the system admins even care. Many of them do not. In the 1980's and
early 1990's, system admins were always known as generally good guys.
We could _trust_ them ... not so any longer, regretably. PAT]

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