Fearmongering About Bot Networks
Bot networks are a serious security problem, but this is ridiculous. From the Independent:
The PC in your home could be part of a complex international terrorist network. Without you realising it, your computer could be helping to launder millions of pounds, attacking companies' websites or cracking confidential government codes.
This is not the stuff of science fiction or a conspiracy theory from a paranoid mind, but a warning from one of the world's most-respected experts on computer crime. Dr Peter Tippett is chief technology officer at Cybertrust, a US computer security company, and a senior adviser on the issue to President George Bush. His warning is stark: criminals and terrorists are hijacking home PCs over the internet, creating "bot" computers to carry out illegal activities.
Yes, bot networks are bad. They're used to send spam (both commercial and phishing), launch denial-of-service attacks (sometimes involving extortion), and stage attacks on other systems. Most bot networks are controlled by kids, but more and more criminals are getting into the act.
But your computer a part of an international terrorist network? Get real.
Once a criminal has gathered together what is known as a "herd" of bots, the combined computing power can be dangerous. "If you want to break the nuclear launch code then set a million computers to work on it. There is now a danger of nation state attacks," says Dr Tippett. "The vast majority of terrorist organisations will use bots."
I keep reading that last sentence, and wonder if "bots" is just a typo for "bombs." And the line about bot networks being used to crack nuclear launch codes is nothing more than fearmongering.
Clearly I need to write an essay on bot networks.
Posted on May 17, 2005 at 3:33 PM • 39 Comments