Interesting Question: Can Governments stop worms and viruses?

Discussion in 'Computers' started by Ronald Epstein, Sep 13, 2003.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    With all these outbreaks of worms and viruses
    over the past few months, I am led to wonder if
    our governments are going to step up to the plate
    and launch a campaign to combat these sorts of
    invasions into our homes.

    Perhaps I shouldn't be too optimistic since
    it seems that very little progress has been
    made in fighting SPAM MAIL. With all the
    attention and money that has been put into
    fighting online piracy, don't you think the
    bigger evil lies with the people developing
    worms and viruses that invade our homes and
    bring corporations to a standstill?

    Is there any hope that one day there
    will be tougher laws and enforcement against
    those that write these invasive programs?

    Lately, it seems things are getting a lot
    worse than better and that the Internet isn't
    the enjoyable experience it once was.
     
  2. John_Berger

    John_Berger Cinematographer

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    Government can't protect us from the people who refuse to protect themselves first, and quite frankly the government is too big as it is. I don't want to give them another excuse to use their "You're too stupid for your own good so we, your benevolent governemt, will make your decisions for you" excuse to further intrude into our lives.

    People need to be responsible for protecting their own. Ceasing the use of Outlook and the installation of a firewall would go a very, very long way in achieving that goal.
     
  3. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

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    John, you don't like Outlook, do you?

    With a firewall and NAV, I haven't had a virus in years, and I don't mean 2 or 3. It's at least a dozen, and Outlook has been running the whole time.

    Ron, I am of the belief that someday the ISP's will stop them, and it would be so easy. This way the 'net' won't be infringed upon; it would just be the ISP's here.

    I am sure that when an ISP receives a couple of million emails all at once they know that it is spam. Having a computer check the first one to confirm it and then delete the rest that look like it wouldn't be that hard to set up.

    If anyone is worried about not getting the spam then they just don't sign up for it, but it will probably take some sort of a disaster for this to happen.

    Glenn
     
  4. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    You know, I really do understand the fact that
    the first line of defense rests in the hands of
    the end user who must properly protect themselves
    with anti-virus software and firewalls.

    Still, I can't help but feel that sending out
    malicious viruses over the net and into someone's
    private computer is a criminal act that needs to
    be dealt with. What's really frightening here is
    that viruses and worms are getting more sophisticated
    each year. This means that home and corporate users
    aren't going to be safe no matter what security
    blocks they may have in place.

    I suppose my ultimate question is, is there enough
    concern out there at this point to launch an
    aggressive campaign to catch the person(s) making
    these viruses?
     
  5. John_Berger

    John_Berger Cinematographer

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  6. John_Berger

    John_Berger Cinematographer

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  7. JamesHl

    JamesHl Supporting Actor

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    They're doing everything they can. It's kind of difficult to find someone to arrest when they're using throwaway accounts created with stolen credit cards in conjunction with previously hacked computers which they wipe clean afterwards to send stuff out.

    Really, there's not a lot that you can do about it except protect yourself. It is already illegal to write computer virii/worms. They are doing all they can to track these guys down. What more do you want?

    I still feel my suggestion in the 'net license' thread is best. When an ISP sees that a machine is infected, cut off their access until they can prove that they've fixed it.
     
  8. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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  9. John_Berger

    John_Berger Cinematographer

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  10. John_Berger

    John_Berger Cinematographer

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  11. Jason Harbaugh

    Jason Harbaugh Cinematographer

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    Well since the attacks also affected entire government agencies, I should know as I helped stop it and patch 30,000 devices, I doubt they can do anything else besides update when there are updates and then go after the person after the fact.
     
  12. John_Bonner

    John_Bonner Supporting Actor

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  13. John Watson

    John Watson Screenwriter

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    I feel Ron Epstein's pain. The home computer seems like a Trojan horse, bring crap into my world.

    Home page hi-jacking, unrelenting pop-ups, myriad glitches, hours cleaning up messes, millions of web- sites with lousy content (HTF among the oases in the desert of the Internet), a climate of fear and loathing for the viruses and the vandals or terrorists or idiot friends who circulate them. It's like a Cronenberg movie, and Bill Gates is the anti-Christ.

    I can get a dead-bolt lock for the house door, and not worry that it will cause the house plumbing to fail.
    Whereas with computers...

    Government solving the problems? In another thread someone asks if computer users should be licenced. Come on, we've seen the X Files, we can't trust anyone [​IMG]
     
  14. JamesHl

    JamesHl Supporting Actor

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  15. Fredster

    Fredster Stunt Coordinator

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    These are Microsoft Windows viruses and worms.

    The US Government could oversee an audit of the Windows code in the interest of national and international security. Microsoft seems unwilling to make this a priority.

    The US Government could also encourage the use of more secure alternative software and operating systems through purchase power (some governments and many businesses are already doing this).
     
  16. Kevin P

    Kevin P Screenwriter

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    Legislation won't work. It's already illegal in the US to distribute malicious software. That won't stop people from doing it, even if they have to go overseas. Just like the DMCA doesn't stop piracy. I could go on and on about this, citing other examples but it would quickly veer into verboten territory here.

    Viruses and malware have existed for at least 17 years, almost as long as the PC has existed. In the early days, relatively few people had computers, and the technology for data exchange was fairly limited (primarily floppy disks), so virus encounters were rare. As technology advances, and more people have access to the technology (thanks to lower PC prices and easier-to-use but more sophisticated OSes such as Windows), and advances in connectivity (Internet) suddenly the malware authors have a HUGE target. Each advance results in a faster-spreading bug. At one time a virus relied on floppies being transferred from PC to PC in order to spread. Then came Macro viruses, which only required the exchange of Word documents to spread. Then the e-mail worm, which can spread to anyone with an email address, and network worms (Blaster/Welchia), which only requires you to be online with an unpatched box to get infected.

    As for security flaws in software, as software gets more and more complicated, and more capable, there are going to be the inevitable exploits. ALL operating systems have them, not just Windows. You just hear about the Windows vulnerabilities more because so many more people have Windows than Unix, Linux, or OS X so it's a more attractive target to malware authors. Also, Microsoft is finally stepping up to the plate and addressing vulnerabilities, which is why patches are appearing virtually every week now. OS X and Linux have their share of holes as well, but you don't hear as much about them. If, suddenly next week, everyone started buying Macs and they wound up with a 90% market share, you can bet that many more Mac viruses and exploits would appear shortly afterward, and you'd be having to patch OS X every other week.

    Every industry and technology has its virtues and its risks. And no matter what you talk about, whether it be cars, guns, medicine or computers, while the majority of us use the technology for good, there's always those out there who wants to use it to do harm. It's human nature, unfortunately. Malware will never go away entirely. Instead, I expect (and hope) someday that these evil people will help create more jobs for the good guys. As annoying as malware is, as long as I can find people who are willing to pay me to go over and clean/secure their PCs, I'll continue to accept it.
     
  17. Chris

    Chris Lead Actor

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    It is a crime. Will the govt. ever stop it.. could they.. hmm.. maybe the other question is: should they? I would hope not, actually.. in order to do that, the govt. would have to have some sort of filter on every main loop router in the US.. I don't need big brother that badly.

    The laws are on the books, they do prosecute them. That's about as good as it can get [​IMG]
     
  18. GrahamJW

    GrahamJW Stunt Coordinator

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    Interesting questions Ronald; I think that the government is realizing that "cyber" crime is getting bigger by the minute (and yes IMO virus attacks is a form of crime as it damages someone’s property being the PC and software). In most cases the virus is programmed by some trying to make a point to show some security hole in the current operating systems (Microsoft is probably the biggest target).

    I do think government will have to stiffen laws on property damage due to virus attacks. This type of crime is relatively new, so, like everything else, it takes governments a long time to address the problem. The problem is that you can't control what goes on in other countries, so it maybe hard to find the original programmer who crafted the virus. This makes it hard to enforce laws.

    In the meantime personal protection is in order; keep anti-virus programs up to date, run a firewall, and don't open any suspicious emails.

    my 2 cents worth [​IMG] John
     

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