Blown To Bits

Bad Guys Winning the Malware Wars?

Saturday, December 6th, 2008 by Harry Lewis

John Markoff has a good story in the NYT today about the global war on malware, or malicious software, which has gotten a lot harder as computers have gotten connected to the Internet and have gotten powerful enough to serve as agents of the forces of evil. The theme is the scary side of Zittrain’s Future of the Internet– and How to Stop It, without the “How to Stop It” part. Markoff can’t find anyone to say that the problem of malware, and all the online thefts and destructiveness that go with it, are going to be solved any time soon. Markoff explains,

The sophistication of the programs has in the last two years begun to give them almost lifelike capabilities. For example, malware programs now infect computers and then routinely use their own antivirus capabilities to not only disable antivirus software but also remove competing malware programs.

Some people are trying, however, and the most impressive efforts are not coming from the places you might expect. One might have thought that the corporations that make the most money from the Internet would be most exercised about making sure that in five years people will still be prepared to use it. But in fact the most imagination is being applied by non-profits — essentially the people for whom Internet openness is a mission in life, not a meal ticket. Let me give a shout here to my friends at the StopBadWare project, who have lined up some important partners — Google, most notably –in this difficult fight.

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