[AI] Fw: Accessible Devices Internet Wakeup Call

Pradeep banakar pradeepsocialwork at gmail.com
Thu Jun 19 10:47:08 EDT 2008


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Parker at Vip conduit" <Vipcomm at mchsi.com>
To: "Accessible Devices" <a-d at accessible-devices.com>
Sent: Thursday, June 19, 2008 7:21 PM
Subject: Accessible Devices Internet Wakeup Call


I believe this article is worth reading.
BBC NEWS
Victim of its own success
Life without the internet is unimaginable for the millions who use it every 
day.
But one of the world's leading academics on the impact of the net warns we 
could
be facing its destruction.
It is 20 years since the first incident of hacking. A student at Cornell 
University
launched a worm that within a day had compromised an estimated 5-10% of all 
internet-connected
machines.
That was in 1988, when there were about 60,000 computers connected to the 
internet.
The 23-year-old student responsible, Robert Tappan Morris, was given a 
$10,050 fine,
three years probation and 400 hours of community service. He is now a 
professor at
MIT and worth millions of dollars after selling a dot com company to Yahoo.
We have absolutely seen the drug trade equivalent
Professor Jonathan Zittrain
But he was the first of a generation of hackers, who by and large subscribed 
to the
idea "do no harm".
Hacking has changed and the public have not adjusted their PC's security to 
the threat
of viruses, spam, worms, phishing and fraud. It is estimated that the number 
of PCs
involved in botnets (networks of infected machines open to instruction by 
the creator
of the code which infected them) is 100-150m, or a quarter of all PCs on the 
internet,
as of early 2007.
Bad code used to be like graffiti; it is now like the drug trade, argues 
Jonathan
Zittrain, professor of internet governance at the Oxford Internet Institute. 
He says
the internet is fragile - and on the path to destruction.
Prof Zittrain, who is also the author of The Future Of The Internet And How 
To Stop
It, says that from 1998, hacking exploded. It is now all about making money.
"We have absolutely seen the drug trade equivalent: the business model for 
infecting
these machines either to steal their bandwidth and their processor power and 
sell
it to the highest bidder to direct those machines to all try to load a 
single website
at once to bring down that website, or we've started to see both the use of 
those
zombie machines to send spam and to harvest personal details off those 
machines."
Losses from online credit card fraud alone totalled £212m in 2007, up 15% on 
2006.
It is the web's very success - what Prof Zittrain calls its uncontrolled 
generativity
(anyone can write or share programmes designed to do virtually anything they 
want
to) - that he warns is also its Achilles' heel. And we are rapidly 
approaching meltdown.
The end may come as the weight of malicious code forces us into either a 
derailed
internet or what he calls "sterile" technology like the iPhone.
"When you have a machine called the generic personal computer - your 
laptop - and
it can wonderfully run any code you give it and the maker of the laptop has 
nothing
to say about it that is also a real vulnerability," he explains.
That openness, that glorious interactivity and creativity, has its own 
vulnerabilities.
With billions of people online, many of whom do not protect themselves 
properly,
PCs are open to entertaining new software that immediately hands the keys to 
your
kingdom to someone else.
"And then you get into a realm where I worry that the cure will be as bad as 
the
problem," he says.
Cure for malware?
One version of that "cure", he believes, is the iPhone, created by Apple. 
Unlike
the internet, the i-Phone is a proprietorial network. It may be beautifully 
designed,
but there is no way for an owner to write their own, or add other people's 
programmes
to it without Apple's express permission. And while that protects the 
integrity of
the system from bad code - or malware - it also hands control to a large 
multinational
corporation.
The other option, according to Professor Zittrain, is to decide this 
30-year-old
experiment called the internet was glorious while it lasted, but now it 
needs to
be locked down. The need for stability is growing, he says.
As Prof Zittrain writes in the magazine Prospect, the internet has grown 
exponentially
over the past 20 years, thanks to the fact that many people can build a 
platform
and share what they do with others. But a lockdown on PCs "will eliminate 
much of
what today we take for granted: a world in which mainstream technology can 
be influenced,
even revolutionised out of left field".
A solution will have to be found that does not destroy the whole system. And 
it will
have to be one that does not destroy the creativity and openness that made 
the internet
such an enormous success in the first place.
Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/today/hi/today/newsid_7457000/7457841.stm
Published: 2008/06/17 05:25:28 GMT
© BBC MMVIII
__________ NOD32 3200 (20080619) Information
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: 
http://mail.accessible-devices.com/pipermail/a-d_accessible-devices.com/attachments/20080619/504f8e8c/attachment.html
This is an Announce only list.  Subscribers are not able to post to this 
list.
To unsubscribe from the Accessible Devices list copy the line below.  Paste 
it in
the To: line of a blank message and send it.
a-d-unsubscribe at accessible-devices.com
Please feel free to pass this message on to a friend who might like to 
subscribe.
To subscribe to Accessible Devices send a blank e mail to:
a-d-subscribe at accessible-devices.com
Just follow the directions in the confirmation message when it comes.
Please Note: Accessible Devices is not able to provide tech support for 
software or products that we supply information about.


_______________________________________________
A-d mailing list
A-d at accessible-devices.com
http://mail.accessible-devices.com/mailman/listinfo/a-d_accessible-devices.com 





More information about the AccessIndia mailing list