The myth of cybersecurity

Thursday, 15 August 2002, 12:33 AM EST

In late July at a technology conference in the nation's capital, President Bush's top cybersecurity adviser, Richard Clarke, said the technology industry was acting irresponsibly in selling computer network devices that remain remarkably easy to attack.

"It is irresponsible to sell a product in a way that can be so easily misused by a customer in a way that jeopardizes their confidential and proprietary and sensitive information," Clarke said.

In fact, it's the industry's "dirty little secret": If you use your company's networks or the Internet, your daily online communication activity--from sending and receiving e-mail and instant messages to using the Web--can be, and in all likelihood are, trivially monitored by others.

Toward what end? Think about it.

When I was a boy, my friends and I would occasionally play tricks on girls in our neighborhood, quietly sneaking over to their homes, opening Ma Bell's little gray box mounted on the side of their parents' home and tapping into their nightly gabfests with a telephone that we'd brought over. Just mischievous kid stuff?

Dream on.

[ Read more ]


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