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Archive for October, 2007

Windows Botnets Put the Internet at Risk

WE often hear about the need to rebuild the Internet or at least rethink and revise its whole design. The problem, however, is not the Internet’s design. The Internet was built under the assumption that nodes in the network are well behaved and those that are not can be pulled out of it.

What do you get when one single node and one evil mastermind controls millions of these nodes? That’s where the poor security — a wet dream to government that wanted back doors available in every PC — comes into play. Windows is on the brink of destroying the Web. Sadly, the mainstream media does not give this much coverage, for obvious reasons. The article cited here (via one bloggers’ interpretation) talks about the Storm botnet.

“Storm” is nothing compared to the whole. Vint Cerf, one of the fathers and architects of the Internet, says there are 100-150 Microsoft Windows zombies out there. That’s a large proportion of the PCs in the world and it’s a ticking time bomb. The criminals use only a fraction of the PCs’ capacity at the moment, but they do some test runs sometimes, e.g. knocking down DNS almost, i.e. ‘killing’ the Internet. That one type of attack came from Korea about a year ago.

There were also those botmasters who were also doing some heavy spamming last Xmas (while system administrators are away). Mail servers were knocked offline and some bloggers had their accounts suspended. There is also the attack on Estonia, among many other incidents. The cyber-criminals are just afraid of getting caught, but they have enormous (and scary) potential. The only solution to botnet is probably to make Microsoft Windows obsolete. The operating system is, at present, broken beyond the point of being repairable. We are yet to suffer the consequences of this for years to come because old PCs will continue to be hijacked. They will not have secure software take over them.

Measure the Openness of Software

IT is becoming increasingly hard to tell apart Free software from what is enterprise open source software. The two are very different, yet the terms by which they are referred to are similar. There is no subtle difference here; it’s night and day.

So how does one measure “freedom” or “openness”? Assigning a number would be a subjective thing to do (choosing weighting for factors which some people consider more important than others). All in all, you could establish something similar to a troll test (troll-o-meter) and obtain a number on a finite scale. That number, which you then attribute to some certain scale/acid test, can be used to — let us say — sort/categorise/group projects for purpose X, based on its level of openness.

How you weigh the worth of redisribution, access to all code, programming language (e.g. open source project that is tied to SharePoint ain’t quite so, is it?) is debatable, and depending on who you ask and what interest (or software) that person has, you’ll get different answers. Just look at the anomaly and differences in the ESR/RMS/Linus perspectives. This could sometimes lead to flamewars, not debates.

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Original styles created by Ian Main (all acknowledgements) • PHP scripts and styles later modified by Roy Schestowitz • Help yourself to a GPL'd copy
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