Why virus writers get away with it

Monday, 25 August 2003, 10:17 AM EST

Last week, the Internet was hit with a one-two-three punch. Two so-called direct Internet worms, MSBlast and Nachi, tied up Web traffic while the fastest-spreading e-mail worm ever, Sobig, slowed e-mail communications.

These worms cost each of us precious time; our lost productivity, in turn, costs our businesses money. Yet the chances of prosecuting, or even identifying, the person or persons responsible for these worms are pretty low.

The first problem with bringing virus authors to justice is that they work very hard to remain anonymous. One way they hide their identity is to release a virus onto the Net from a public terminal at a university computer center or copy shop. While digital forensics could later establish which terminal sent the first copy of the worm, forensics alone cannot identify who sent the worm.

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