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Security The Internet

Cybersecurity and Piracy on the High Seas 116

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the not-one-cent-in-tribute dept.
Schneier points out an interesting article comparing modern cybersecurity to piracy on the high seas in the early 1800s. The article extends the comparison into projected action based on historical context. "Similarly, in many ways, current U.S. policy on the security of electronic commerce is similar to Adams' appeasement approach to the Barbary pirates. The U.S. government's inability to dictate a consistent cyber commerce protection policy is creating a financial burden on the U.S. private sector to maintain a status quo, when those resources could be used to mount a more-effective Internet-focused defense. In the case of financial fraud on the Internet, the costs associated with fraudulent transactions are currently borne by private companies, which then have to pass those costs on to their customers. This basically creates a system in which the financial institutions are paying a type of 'tribute' to the cyber criminals, just as Adams did to the Barbary pirates."
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Cybersecurity and Piracy on the High Seas

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  • silly (Score:1, Flamebait)

    by PetriBORG (518266)
    Except the difference is that software IS VIRTUAL. End of story. Next.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by thygrrr (765730)
      Err, it's not about software piracy.
      • Software "piracy", entertainment "piracy", phishing ... the author is obviously conflating these things under the banner of IP and suggesting that there's an economic argument similar to one raised when the US was a free republic. The differences are glaring and obvious:

        • This is an attack on US Citizen rights to share and conduct commerce in a free way.
        • There is little common economic interest because the victims are media and software monopolies and users of their products.
        • The fight against industrial e
    • Oddly enough... (Score:2, Informative)

      by Moryath (553296)
      the "Barbary Pirates" were actually privateers and muslim terrorists.

      The response the US got back from the Barbary ambassador was that their taking captive sailors and forcing them to either convert or be killed was "founded on the Laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Quran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as Prisoners,
      • Re:Oddly enough... (Score:5, Informative)

        by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Friday April 18, 2008 @01:52PM (#23121014) Homepage
        While the religious basis of the Barbary pirates' acts is contentious (as is Washington's supposed insistence that the U.S. is a specifically Christian nation), I'd highly recommend reading up about the Barbary Wars in London's Victory in Tripoli [amazon.com] . Most Americans don't learn much about these skirmishes in school, since the usual course is just to skip from the American Revolution straight to the War of 1812 when covering wars. That's a pity, because the fight against the Barbary pirates was a big part of shaping the U.S. military into what it is today. It's not for nothing that the Marine's song references the shores of Tripoli (the Halls of Montezuma line is also a sadly forgotten episode).
        • Re:Oddly enough... (Score:4, Interesting)

          by WaltBusterkeys (1156557) * on Friday April 18, 2008 @02:52PM (#23121748)
          Most Americans don't learn much about these skirmishes in school . . . . That's a pity, because the fight against the Barbary pirates was a big part of shaping the U.S. military into what it is today.

          There's just not enough time in most school history classes to teach the kids something meaningful about all of the very major wars (Revolution, Civil War, WWI, WWII, Vietnam) that even some of the medium-sized wars (French and Indian, 1812, Korea) get short shrift. It's not a coincidence that Korea is called the "forgotten war." It'd be great if every high school kid had as much curiosity and interest about history as you clearly do, but it's just not the case. One survey, admittedly not very scientific, found that 57% of high school students didn't know that the Civil War was in the last half of the 19th century [cbsnews.com].

          That's pretty bad. I'd much rather fix that than worry about teaching them about Barbary pirates. Maybe the right solution is more edu-tainment programming; it seems that your lesson to be taken from the Barbaray pirates is not dates and places, but more of a zeitgeist about the forces that were acting on the US in the early days. Some of that can be captured in a good period piece--think Pirates of the Caribbean, except not entirely fictionalized.

          Similarly, it looks some somebody has already made silly videos about " protecting web booty" [reputation...erblog.com] to riff on the pirate/cybersecurity theme.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by SydShamino (547793)

            There's just not enough time in most school history classes to teach the kids something meaningful about all of the very major wars (Revolution, Civil War, WWI, WWII, Vietnam) that even some of the medium-sized wars (French and Indian, 1812, Korea) get short shrift.

            Why are we concentrating on the wars at all? What about the things that shaped our country's history between the wars?

            My wife has been reading a 1930s high school U.S. history textbook, and has been fascinated by the descriptions of interpersonal relationships between various politicians at different stages in the country's history. The period between the War of 1812 and the Civil War in a modern text usually merits a page or two about Andrew Jackson, then the build-up to the war in terms of slavery and

            • I'm not saying you need to know the names of the generals, but there's no doubt that the Civil War shaped America, or that WWII did just as much: Mass higher education started as a result of the government's GI bill program that was designed to give a useful task to soldiers returning from the field of battles; suburbia started when the soldiers started families; the baby boom generation is the echo of WWII; nuclear power came about faster because of the war effort, etc. It's not that war is itself import
              • This is going to come off flameish but... what did vietnam change/teach... I'm canadian so i certainly didnt learn about vietnam. I always thought the first lesson it would have taught would be dont go into frivolous drawn out guerilla wars that lead no where. But...
                • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                  by khallow (566160)

                  Well, hard to say. First, whether the Vietnam War was "frivilous" is a matter of opinion. It's cast as such. As I see it, the US did have legitimate concerns about the so-called "domino effect", namely that if communism (as practiced by the USSR and China at the time) could establish itself in Vietnam, then neighboring countries would be destabilized as well. A better approach would have been to enable Vietnam to be sufficiently independent of China, like Yugoslavia was from the USSR. That probably would ha

                  • 'broken window fallacy' on the last paragraph especially when the good it brought about was better ability to do harm :/
            • by quanticle (843097)
              I'd argue for a focus on wars because wars are pretty interesting. For me, at least, the only thing that kept me going in history class was looking forward to the next war. Not to dismiss the importance of political and socio-economic forces between (and even causing) the wars, but, at least for me, the inherent conflict of battle was much more interesting than the inter-war periods.
          • by Zeinfeld (263942)
            Funny the way that it always seems to be the wars that were lost that get omitted. According to US schoolbook history the was of 1812 was a draw. Funny, most folk would think having your capital burned to the ground and having the peace terms dictated by the other side was a loss. Fortunately for the US the peace terms that the British offered were very generous as they were much more concerned with the real war against Napoleon.

            But this omission is nothing compared to the British history books where the

            • Vietnam is sure as heck in the books, but we didn't win there.

              And the capitol burned in the Civil War too. By your definition that's a loss.

              Rah-rah boosterism is far worse in your head than in real life.
        • by Zadaz (950521) on Friday April 18, 2008 @03:03PM (#23121858)
          At my school we got halfway through the American Revolution, then went straight to the summer break. When we came back in the fall we were studying WWII, leaving me to infer that the colonies had won independence.

          I didn't even know there was an American civil war until I visited the south, where I found out it's still being fought.
          • by _xeno_ (155264)

            In my high school, we got as far as the Civil War in our History of America class. By which I mean, on the last day of actual classes before finals, our history teacher talked about the Civil War.

            And that was the last required history course, meaning that quite a lot of things that happened were sort of, well, skipped in my high school history education. World War II could be learned from the History Channel, but I did have to wonder about the "II" as if it were a sequel...

            To be fair to the history teac

        • as is Washington's supposed insistence that the U.S. is a specifically Christian nation

          I never heard anything about Washington saying that, and, specifically, The Treaty of Tripoli, a preliminary version of which Washington himself signed shortly before leaving office, says:

          As the Government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Musselmen; and as the said States never

        • by ShakaUVM (157947)

          While the religious basis of the Barbary pirates' acts is contentious (as is Washington's supposed insistence that the U.S. is a specifically Christian nation), I'd highly recommend reading up about the Barbary Wars in London's Victory in Tripoli . Most Americans don't learn much about these skirmishes in school, since the usual course is just to skip from the American Revolution straight to the War of 1812 when covering wars. That's a pity, because the fight against the Barbary pirates was a big part of s

      • by PetriBORG (518266)
        Thats both interesting, and hilarious, thanks!
      • by kurisuto (165784)
        It is an anachronism to use the term "muslim terrorists" to refer to criminals of the early 19th century engaged in piracy for profit. Whether you think American and European policy in the Middle East over the last century has been right or wrong, it is fairly safe to say that "muslim terrorism" over the past few decades has been a consequence of those policies. It is a phenomenon of the 20th and 21st centuries.

        When you look at the historical record over many centuries, it's hard to say whether Muslims or
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Moryath (553296)
          Muslims who kidnap people and either kill them, or enslave them, unless they convert?

          I'd call that terrorism. Fully Koranic-supported terrorism, btw.
          • Yeah, and Moses commands his people at Sinai to go murder each other because they had disobeyed rules they hadn't received yet under the direct purview of their divinely appointed religious leader. Not to mention that another of those rules they hadn't received yet was "Thou shalt not kill". =p
            • by Z34107 (925136)

              Just to nitpick, the words for "kill" and "murder" in Hebrew differ only in the vowels used. Coincidentally, vowels are rarely (never?) written in Biblical Hebrew.

              So, we'll never know if the commandment was "thou shalt not kill" or "thou shalt not murder." But, since later edicts in that book involve stoning people, I'm guessing it was the "murder" one.

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by kurisuto (165784)
            However you define the word "terrorism", I think you should be consistent in applying it to anyone guilty of whatever act you're referring to, and not just to Muslims who are guilty of that act.

            If by "terrorist" you mean someone who forces you to convert to his religion under threat of death or enslavement, then there are plenty of historical examples of "Christian terrorists" as in history well. Forcible conversion is hardly a uniquely Muslim phenomenon.
        • Mod Parent UP (Score:4, Insightful)

          by postbigbang (761081) on Friday April 18, 2008 @03:00PM (#23121832)
          Very few political entities are bereft of terrorism. Schier once again makes numerous mistakes in pointing to the culpable. The culpable are: all of us, ranging from users teaching users, to ISPs, to the website owners, to the makers of protocols with holes like Swiss cheese (and apologies to the Swiss). It could be fixed, but no one wants to claim the nexus of responsibility.

          The terrorism label is a red herring, great for propaganda and useless war mongering. No one doubts the existence of many organizations that will murder, some en masse, in the name of their cause.
      • by cain (14472)
        -1 flamebait.
    • by ch-chuck (9622)
      Yes, and it's all created by virtual people who are happy to spend their professional lives working for virtually nothing.

      • by PetriBORG (518266)
        Yeah I know - I'm one of them, but people that get all pissy about the "security of the internet" and stuff just gals the hell out of me!

        What would they like to do, have a big central server to send everything through? good luck with that.

        The best they could do would be to have the seller create a signed pgp receipt of the sale which would be sent to the buyer and would be counter signed with their pgp key, which could be then sent to the bank directly which could then verify their customer pgp key agai

        • by Digi-John (692918)

          What would they like to do, have a big central server to send everything through?

          How about a giant Linksys router in an underground bunker in New Mexico?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by JamesP (688957)
      And as the old saying says...

      Say no to Piracy! Don't steal ships.

  • by DrHackenbush (1273982) on Friday April 18, 2008 @01:41PM (#23120898)
    Interesting. Government is less effective than private companies. Who would have guessed?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by smooth wombat (796938)
      Government is less effective than private companies. Who would have guessed?

      Yeah. Look at what a great job private companies (Bear Stearns, Countrywide, Citigroup) did making loans. They were so effective at making loans, the government had to bail them out.

      It's great to criticize government (I'm usually first in line) but when you're comparing something that large to one company, you can't. It's like comparing an oil tanker to a cigarette boat. Who do you think is more nimble?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by maxume (22995)
        Saying the government bailed out all of those companies is a gross and horrible oversimplification.

        People who Bear Stearns owed money to got bailed out. Bear Stearns no longer exists as a company(most of the operations continue to exist under J.P. Morgan).

        Countrywide and Citigroup didn't get anything more than cheap credit from the government.
        • Saying the government bailed out all of those companies is a gross and horrible oversimplification.

          An "oversimplification", yes.

          A "gross and *horrible* oversimplification", I do not think so.

          If we keep on bailing out those who fund the gamblers, then we're effectively bailing out the gamblers themselves. Corporate personhood is a fiction anyway. The first line creditors that get bailed out will be the past executives and employees that are owed wages and compensation in arrears, and any other first line

          • by maxume (22995)
            Poor regulation was complicit in the fall of Bear Stearns. They were operating with obscene amounts of leverage (up to 30x if I remember correctly), with almost no transparency about what they were doing. Many of their creditors believed otherwise (most other investment banks were their creditors, among thousands of individuals who owned Bear Stearns bonds).

            My parents own some Bear Stearns debt (some supposedly highly rated bonds at a reasonably high interest rate), so I may be biased. Their stock broker so
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        No, the U.S. government gave a line of credit to J.P. Morgan Chase and essentially ordered them to bail them out -- IOW, paying off Bear Stearns' creditors.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by DarkOx (621550)

        Yeah. Look at what a great job private companies (Bear Stearns, Countrywide, Citigroup) did making loans. They were so effective at making loans, the government had to bail them out.

        That is the real tragedy of it all the government did not have to bail them out. They chose to at the expense of everyone as well as the future to help at a few people who should have know better. Bear Stearns should have been allowed to fail. The investors should have lost it all. That the game called investing. You can win and sometimes you can lose. Bear Stearns was posting huge profits by investing in risky loans themsevels. This was foolish, lost of people knew it. Lots of people did not get s

      • US Bank is having no such problem, as you can see from their first quarter results and what the analysts said about them.

        And they're not the only big bank.

        The problem is executive focus on short-term profit over, well, anything else.

        In the case of Bear Stearns, they had sufficient capital, it's just that no one wanted to trade with them, fearing they didn't. And that resulted in what is essentially a run on a bank. The government didn't step in for Bear Stearns, they stepped in to prevent all the major br
    • Not much. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mcmonkey (96054)

      Interesting. Government is less effective than private companies. Who would have guessed?

      It seems you (and the authors of the article) are missing a key point. Yes, international trade grew on a foundation of international and maritine law, but only after the Marines went in and kicked some Barbary butt. In that sense, government is more effective than private companies. (At least, private companies that don't have their own army and navy.)

      Countries were able to reach peaceful agreements on how they

  • We're pirates not ninjas :(.
  • by imyy4u2 (1275398) on Friday April 18, 2008 @01:50PM (#23120994)
    Looks like modern pirates would have a lot of words to relearn...

    Hijacking - 1. Taking over a post on Slashdot.

    Terrorism - 1. DOS attack against all the root DNS servers simultaneously. 2. Slashdotting a website.

    "Arrrr..." - 1. Phrase uttered by someone who has just been linked to goatse.cz

    One-Eye - 1. Asshole.

    Pirate Flag - 1. Used to indicate a box has been pwned. 2. Used by Maddox (maddox.xmission.com) as a TM.

    Booty - 1. A woman's butt.
    • Looks like modern pirates would have a lot of words to relearn... One-Eye - 1. Asshole.
      They may already be familiar with this one.
  • by amplt1337 (707922) on Friday April 18, 2008 @01:50PM (#23120996) Journal
    ...now we have bad boat analogies. Great.

    Looks like the argument is "the government should be more involved in actually doing something." This is undoubtedly true; it's the government's job to set safety standards and to fight crime.

    But really this is just an article that says "Hey, why not have the government fight crime?" with nautical window dressing. The author's better off scuttling the piracy angle.
    • by Moraelin (679338)
      Well, IMHO the worst analogy is even in the summmary. Basically: (A) businesses lose money to fraud, which supposedly is like (B) the government paying tribute to the pirates.

      I mean... Umm, excuse me? They don't look at all similar to me. Just because they share one element, it doesn't automatically make two things similar.

      If it automatically did, we'd have a hell of a lot of ridiculous "similarities" all over the place. E.g., (A) the government still can't stop cars from killing innocent people, (B) Stalin
      • by rtb61 (674572)
        A effort should really be made to kill the oft repeated lie that costs will be passed onto the consumer. What a line of utter bullshit, the price to the consumer reflects the highest price that a corporation can charge, an often grossly inflated price supported by B$ marketing and often nothing to do with the actual cost of products sold.

        Strangely enough corporations scream louder and attempt to spread more outlandish lies, as the gap between cost and retail becomes greater, greed knows no bounds and the

  • "The Bashaw, ruler of a semi-autonomous Ottoman province, was the leader of the loose confederation that became known as the Barbary States, and he ran an 18th-century version of what we today would call a protection racket."
    So is it the anti malware vendors running the 21st century version of a protection racket?

    Apparently so from TFA, ... either that, or it's just more FUD to encourage government control (read taxation) of the internet.

    • Actually, at the moment, RIGHT NOW, there are botnets that DDOS companies in return for extortion money.

      No, really.
      • by PoliTech (998983)
        So then anti-distributed DoS products and services are the protection racket?

        I don't think "Protection Racket" means what you think it means.

        A protection racket [wikipedia.org] is an extortion scheme whereby a powerful entity or individual coerces other less powerful entities or individuals to pay protection money which allegedly serves to purchase "protection" services against various external threats.

        DDoS is the "external threat". But let's go ahead and talk about "There ought to be a law" in regards to DDoS.

        Who w

        • by Applekid (993327)

          Because, as long as people pay, the extortionists will continue to attack.

          It's the same for the Mafia today. It's still around. Companies could turn to law enforcement (which has no legal liability if attacks happen on their watch, and cannot promise they'd catch them), could invest millions more in security which still might not stop them (law of diminishing returns, infiltration and inside jobs, etc), or just pay the lousy couple grand every year or so and not get attacked.

          You gotta pick your battles, and I don't know any corporations that have "oh, and, don't deal in protecti

          • by PoliTech (998983)
            You have it exactly right. We are paying for law enforcement, (taxes) with no guarantee that laws will actually be enforced. And this is such a good idea that we should expand it (and the requisite tax burden) to the entire internet.
      • by poetmatt (793785)
        Aren't there ways to prepare for/secure from DDOS attacks? Sure, server capabilities taken into account too.
        • by Dan541 (1032000)
          No,

          DDOS attacks are unblockable but what you can do is increase your capacity so that the ddos has less effect but this costs money.
    • by solweil (1168955)
      All governments and almost all organized groups of people are "protection rackets."
  • by dave562 (969951) on Friday April 18, 2008 @01:58PM (#23121096) Journal
    Either the government stays out of regulating and securing the internet or they don't. Which one do you really want? Do you want the government to be responsible for internet security enough to give them free reign to the point where they have control over all content? Or do you want to hold private industry responsible for securing their business transactions?

    I'm of the opinion that the government should be there to hold private industry liable for any breaches of personal data that leads to fraud. If someone steals my credit information and makes purchases with them, the credit card company should be on the hook for not verifying the identity of the person who made the purchase. The merchant should be on the hook for not verifying the identity of the purchaser. The whole system needs to be changed. Instead of giving out free credit, they need to only give credit to those who ask for it. Turn it from a push to a pull system and validate the hell out of the puller.

    On an only semi-related tangant, I'm waiting for the explosion in fraudulant health care claims. The health care cards themselves are simple pieces of paper. It is easy to get a picture idea with your picture and someone else's name on it. With the cost of health care skyrocketting in this country it is only a matter of time before people start getting health services under someone else's name. And I already know what is going to happen... the person whose name got abused is going to be liable for it, not the health providers who okayed the procedure in the first place.

    • by PetriBORG (518266)

      I'm of the opinion that the government should be there to hold private industry liable for any breaches of personal data that leads to fraud. If someone steals my credit information and makes purchases with them, the credit card company should be on the hook for not verifying the identity of the person who made the purchase. The merchant should be on the hook for not verifying the identity of the purchaser. The whole system needs to be changed. Instead of giving out free credit, they need to only give credit to those who ask for it. Turn it from a push to a pull system and validate the hell out of the puller.

      Yes! This at least makes sense. Now if only there was some way in which we could get congress to do their jobs and actually regulate something useful instead of declaring that they want to regulate p2p by filename.

    • by cain (14472)

      Either the government stays out of regulating and securing the internet or they don't. Which one do you really want?

      False dichotomy. There is no reason a gov't can't have a small set of limited regulatory powers. And don't try a slippery slope response to this post. :)
      • by dave562 (969951)
        You are correct that there is no reason that the government can't have a small set of regulatory powers. In theory I could have a driveway made of milk chocolate. When looking at the REALITY of how the government functions, if you give them an inch they will take a mile. The point still stands... you can't on one hand gripe about the government not doing enough to fight internet "crime" and then on the other talk about wanting the government to take a hands off approach to the internet. The government w
        • by cain (14472)

          ...if you give them an inch they will take a mile.
          This is a slippery slope argument (and not even a reasonable one) and I said no slippery slopes. :) The point does not stand.
          • by dave562 (969951)
            It's easy to say the point doesn't stand. I challenge you to find a Federal government level institution that has been around for more than 20 years that hasn't expanded its responsibilities and oversight capabilities. Find me a department that still has the same number of employees and hasn't been absorbed by another department that was expanding its own influence.

            You say I'm using a slippery slope argument. I'm making the assertion that ever expanding governmental regulation is the way the government w

            • by cain (14472)

              Find me a department that still has the same number of employees and hasn't been absorbed by another department that was expanding its own influence.

              That's your definition of "give them an inch and they'll take a mile"? That they have a few more employees that they started with? Jeeze, a mile isn't what it used to be. But ok, I'll give it a shot: NASA? the post office? the department of the interior? the EPA? The EPA is getting less and less effective and less and less regulatory as time goes on.

              • by dave562 (969951)
                NASA and the Post Office aren't in charge of regulating anything in the capacity of having regulatory oversight of the private sector. I don't think the department of the interior is either, beyond resource rights for Federal land. Lets look at agencies that actually might be responsible for securing the internet. DHS? Huge new agency that is growing by leaps and bounds. The FBI? Violating the Constitution and over reaching left and right. The NSA? Those guys haven't stopped growing.

                The "give them a

                • by cain (14472)
                  Shifting the goal posts are we? Let's look at where we stand.

                  You said:

                  You are correct that there is no reason that the government can't have a small set of regulatory powers. In theory I could have a driveway made of milk chocolate. When looking at the REALITY of how the government functions, if you give them an inch they will take a mile.

                  I responded:

                  This is a slippery slope argument (and not even a reasonable one) and I said no slippery slopes. :) The point does not stand.

                  You said:

                  ...I challenge you to find a Federal government level institution that has been around for more than 20 years that hasn't expanded its responsibilities and oversight capabilities. Find me a department that still has the same number of employees and hasn't been absorbed by another department that was expanding its own influence.

                  I responded to your challenge:

                  ... The EPA is getting less and less effective and less and less regulatory as time goes on. ...

                  Now you want me to limit my responses to "agencies that actually might be responsible for securing the internet," in effect making me choose DHS, FBI, or NSA. Your argument keeps shifting. If you want to restate and refine your initial argument, then who knows, maybe I'll even agree with it.

                  The "give them an inch and they'll take a mile" is the analogy that you've come up with and that you're using.

                  "give them an inch and they'll take a mile" is a direct quote from an earlier post of yours.

                  • by dave562 (969951)
                    You're right. Looking back at the course of the conversation I'm the one who used the aphorism in the first place. My point still stands. You don't want to believe it and that's fine with me. You want to live in an ideal world where legislators can be trusted to use moderation when they legislate. I think it's fairly well documented that just the opposite is the status quo.

                    Now you want me to limit my responses to "agencies that actually might be responsible for securing the internet," in effect making

                    • by cain (14472)
                      Your refined argument is much better and more clear. You still use unneeded hyperbole though. 99% of the time they over regulate? That's simply not true. Leave it out and you'd have a stronger point.

                      Also, where do I state that legistlators can be trusted? I don't. Because I'm picking at your argument doesn't mean I take the exact opposite position. Law makers are people. Sometimes they do the right thing, sometimes they don't. The "ideal" world doesn't exist and neither does its inverse. Things are always m
  • "Stop breaking into my server, ya' scurvy dog, or ya'll walk the plank! Arrrr!", right?
  • by TubeSteak (669689) on Friday April 18, 2008 @01:59PM (#23121116) Journal

    We can go back to the example of how this strategy can be a success by looking at U.S. efforts on the illegal drug trade's supply lines across the Caribbean. The harassment, search and seizure activities effectively raised the cost of transporting illegal drugs, thereby forcing many drug cartels to build more-expensive transportation networks, and in some cases forcing criminals out of the market altogether.
    The US War on Drugs has led to lower prices and higher purity of the product being smuggled into the country.

    The rest of this article is full of similar crap ideas and analogies.

    Aaron Turner, who manages security technology transfer and commercialization for the Idaho National Laboratory, previously worked in several of Microsoft's security divisions.
    Oh. I see.
    I guess it's easier to create an international body to oversee the internet than get Microsoft to put out a secure product.
    • The US War on Drugs has led to lower prices and higher purity of the product being smuggled into the country.
      I would *love* to see the logic behind that one. I'm sure you have no citation because it doesn't make any sense.

      Did the street price of booze go up or down during Prohibition? I'm betting up.
      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Actually the DEA itself has supplied statistics that confirm this. Here is one recent citation News article. [sfgate.com]

        Purity is really the wrong term. What has gone up is strength, because a stronger product packs more value into a smuggled pound. I don't know what happened to prices during prohibition, but Prohibition definitively changed the nature from a land of beer drinkers into a cocktail party nation.
      • by TubeSteak (669689)

        I would *love* to see the logic behind that one. I'm sure you have no citation because it doesn't make any sense.

        http://www.ondcp.gov/publications/price_purity/fig1_38.pdf [ondcp.gov]
        From 1981-2003, the general trend has been lower prices and higher purity.
        In the interest of full disclosure, price/purity has been recently been trending in the opposite direction.

        Did the street price of booze go up or down during Prohibition? I'm betting up.

        Sigh.

        Prohibition lasted 13 years and immediately sparked a running battle between police and moonshiners/bootleggers.
        The alcohol industry was then quickly taken over by organized crime.

        http://www.hawaiireporter.com/file.aspx?Guid=cf0541b8-adda-4c54-ab20-f72fe6f9a3aa [hawaiireporter.com]
        Summ

      • by DarkOx (621550)
        Stuff being brought into the country is of higher purity because its easier to smuggle smaller quantities. Those small quantities can be turned into large ones when cut(mixed with something else).

        Prices are certainly higher though, I don't know where the GP came up with that one. The fact that it is controlled and not availible though other sources or comoditized is why its smuggled it. The deals can charge almost whatever they want to.
    • by RiotingPacifist (1228016) on Friday April 18, 2008 @02:34PM (#23121546)

      The US War on Drugs has led to lower prices and higher purity of the product being smuggled into the country.
      Nice choice of words, the real question is weather what gets sold is higher or lower purity, id guess that if the stuff is higher purity it just means local dealers cut it with more shit.

      And whoever decided to call tenager who were thinking of copying music pirates, sould realise 2 thing:
      1) You cant copy a bar of gold only take it, so the analogy is as fundamentally flawed as all those Wifi analogies!
      2) Pirates are cool
      Infact who ever made pirates of the carabian really shot themselves in the foot with regards to piracy "Come watch our film, because pirates are cool. NOOO! dont copy it pirates are bad!"

    • by cain (14472)

      The US War on Drugs has led to lower prices and higher purity of the product being smuggled into the country.

      Really, lower prices? You don't think that drugs produced by private enterprise or even the gov't would be cheaper? You don't think that if Bayer produced drugs like they produced aspirin that they'd be cheaper?

      What is your reasoning here?
  • If financial institutions pass the costs onto their customers, then aren't the customers paying the "pirate tribute"? Also, on an unrelated note, I sure hope that Pirates of the Carribean 4 is rated "ARRR!"
  • ...because it was a stupid arrrrrrrrrrgument.
  • by IdeaMan (216340)
    His analogy of credit card fraud to piracy just hogwash. Credit card fraud typically doesn't occur by ISP's snooping on internet traffic because that is just too dangerous to the ISP's business and reputation. It's just easier to crack open someones database to harvest the numbers.

    His analogy works far better when talking about Net Neutrality. You could say that ISPs are charging tribute based on packet type. The closest you could get is if a foreign country started blocking traffic to Amazon, or if say
  • Solving the problem of internet security is amazingly trivial in the US. Offer bounties and encourage supervised (logged?) domestic attacks.

    The only reason I can imagine for the US government to discourage or jail our millions of ambitious hackers instead of enlisting them is that they don't want the holes found. Either that or arrogance and stupidity on such a massive scale that I can't actually picture it.

    Hmm, but then it is the US government we're talking about. Never mind.

    This game sucks.
  • Shhh! (Score:2, Funny)

    Don't let W. hear this. Next thing you know we'll be sending the Internet Marines to invade Romania.
  • As History Shows (Score:3, Informative)

    by Stormcrow309 (590240) on Friday April 18, 2008 @02:21PM (#23121372) Homepage Journal

    Hell, lets resolve this like they did back then. Give me an unit of marines, a naval squadron, and three times as many mercenaries. I will just shoot the hackers. Sing the song be damed, we'll just shoot them in the head.

  • The Barbary pirates were a direct extension of national power using very high value strategic assets. While Cybersecurity attacks may come from nations they can just as easily come from criminal, religious, political groups, or even from a single person. The biggest difference is that the cost of many multiple is very low while military ships is very high. It is hard to make war on fanatics in 3rd world basement or crooks in cybercafes.
  • Why is it easy for me to get a new credit line of some sort? I should have to go into a bank with at least two forms of state ID, and fill out the paperwork in front of an employee of the bank instead of being able to just mail out a form with no ID other than a SSN and a wink.

    The financial institutions need this easy ability to shove credit down people's throats because the cost of doing it right isn't nearly as profitable. However, it is a lot safer and would solve a lot of the problems that banks have wi
    • by dave562 (969951)
      The system is setup in the following way. The banks "loan" money based on the amount of "debt" they have on their books. So if they send you a credit card with a $5,000 limit and you max it out then they suddenly have $5,000 to lend to someone else. We will never see any real regulation of consumer credit because consumer credit is what keeps this fucked up economy of ours going.
  • If they compare it to real piracy, in the same way they can compare to any stealing, railway robberies in US in XIX century, bank robbing...

    Pathetic idiotic idiots soaked in their idiocy.

    The concept of intellectual property exists since middle ages, when craftsmen corporations were guarding their technological secrets. That would be better, but still utterly useless train of analogy.

    There is nothing comparable in the technological ease with which modern digitized intellectual property is stolen. Absolutely
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Personally, I think the "fraud" here is that these credit companies are still working on transaction idioms that were devised in the 1960s when a person's signature was "good enough" as authentication!

    This is a case of banks and credit companies not wanting to change their approach because it's cost prohibitive and puts their business model at risk (hmm, where else are we seeing this right now?). Welcome to an interconnected world, there's a price to pay, maybe you shouldn't have sat on your @$$ all this ti
    • by dave562 (969951)
      I completely agree with all of this. The unfortunate reality of the world in this day and age is that the government is simply a tool of the banks because the government is dependent on the banks to function. If you have the ability to do so, read The Creature from Jekyll Island for a very good overview of the dynamics between the Federal Reserve and the governments of the world (including the United States government).
  • by Nimey (114278)
    The word's trite & wrong. Whoever uses that should be treated with scorn & beaten about the head and shoulders.
  • American standards shall rule the internet. It shall be so decreed. Infringement of American Internet Control Standards shall be an act of war! Yeah, right, whatever.
  • Like real sword wielding pirates?
  • Rudyard Kipling covered this already [newcastle.edu.au]. Why don't they learn?

  • by Jurily (900488)

    The U.S. government's inability to dictate a consistent cyber commerce protection policy is creating a financial burden on the U.S. private sector to maintain a status quo, when those resources could be used to mount a more-effective Internet-focused defense.
    BINGO!
  • At first intrigued by a somewhat interesting analogy (cyberspace, pirates, seas), it quick became apparent this author has no real understanding of how "cybercrime" is perpetrated. Seriously, how can we expect the US government to aggressively thwart botnets? The analogy basically falls flat on its face primarily because as a somewhat anonymous, automated and decentralized structure, it would be impossible to target the sources.

    There is,however, an interesting analogy the author totally missed. There is

    • this author has no real understanding of how "cybercrime" is perpetrated. Seriously, how can we expect the US government to aggressively thwart botnets? The analogy basically falls flat on its face primarily because as a somewhat anonymous, automated and decentralized structure, it would be impossible to target the sources.

      Authorities the world over have been trying to erode everyone's privacy in communications (with alarming success) based on the claim that they could then combat precisely this type of thr

  • Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me

    We pillage, we plunder, we rifle and loot
    Drink up me hearties, yo ho
    We kidnap and ravage and don't give a hoot
    Drink up me hearties, yo ho

    Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me

    We extort, we pilfer, we filch and sack
    Drink up me hearties, yo ho
    Maraud and embezzle and even high-jack
    Drink up me hearties yo ho

    Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me

    We kindle and char, inflame and ignite
    Drink up me hearties, yo ho
    We burn up the city, we're really a fright
    Drink up me hearties, yo ho

    We'
  • Unfortunately the first key difference that shatters the analogy in my opinion is that shipping, commerce and pirates have never been nebulous concepts and therefore one can move straight into the heart of the matter and create actionable items. Anything related to the "inter-webs" unfortunately requires much more definition and learning just to get a foundation of understanding which is very rarely done as part of the necessary due diligence all three of our branches should be doing on an ongoing basis.
  • I read the title and hoped that the story was about lax cybersecurity alowing pirates (the real, ak-47 wielding kind) to know which ships held the most valuble cargo and acting on the information. Images of third world crackers typing at a beat up terminal and finding their way into teh database of shipping companies, followed by the whitehat on the other end redirecting them to the coordinants of the local navy.

    I watch too many bad movies.
  • fundamentally there is a huge difference between the internet and pirates of the nautical variety. Every part of the internet is owned by a corporation and therefore that corporation is subject to the laws (or a lack there of) of a nation. The IMO regulates international shipping, nations base their laws on international directives. in theory this could work for cybercrime. Modern nautical pirates exist in nations without a political structure - look at Somlia - they are responsible for most most modern p

"Why can't we ever attempt to solve a problem in this country without having a 'War' on it?" -- Rich Thomson, talk.politics.misc

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