The Dark Side of Computers
Today Knight-Ridder has an article about Identity Theft, one of the growing concerns of our highly connected and computerized world. What they note is that oftentimes the thieves have the upperhand over the police or the FBI. If it's not an insider selling customer records for $30 a pop, it's coming from the huge organized crime gangs operating out of places like Russia or other offshore locations.
Part of the problem is that companies haven't taken security seriously enough. But another part of the problem is that the criminals are always thinking up new ways to game the system.
But like roaches after a nuclear attack, organized gangs are resilient and tough to stop. "You can put five in jail and three more may come back," said Gibbons, of Unisys.
Last month Laura Rozen had a post about the industrial espionage case in Israel which was only discovered because a writer found parts of his writings on the internet when he knew they never had left his disk. Here the spies created a Trojan horse that operated for months without anyone being the wiser. We just don't know what kinds of worms or Trojan horses are out there and I bet that if Israel's industries were hit by this spying, what makes people think our companies have not also been targeted?
One of my professors in computer science who was an expert in computer security thought that the only way we could really solve this problem is to only have information on line that we could afford to share. Nevertheless, our government's answer to our security problems is to create massive databanks and to form a new FBI division with the charter to spy on the American public. What happens when one of those criminal gangs compromises the Feds databank and who is going to bet that they won't be able do it?