By Mark Wilcox, Campus Web Administrator
Security on the Internet
The past few weeks have been busy ones in the Internet security arena. We've seen more press and more people have been affected than ever before, including here at UNT.
The first response to this shouldn't be "make more laws". For the most part, the laws we have are workable for the crimes that are committed. In reality what is needed is to make computer software companies more liable for the security risks they enable and we, the consumer need to punish those companies that don't by not doing business with them.
Second, we should use more common sense when using computers and computer security products. If you have a lock on a door, do you start telling everyone you don't need police or if you have a sprinkler system do you tell people that you don't need a fire department? Of course not, but this is exactly what we do when we put all of our faith in computer security products.
After all, locks on doors only provide us with is a deterrent, meaning we're telling a 'home hacker' (AKA burglar) to go look for some place easier to steal from. Locks and sprinkler systems offer us more time to respond in case of a break in or a fire.
However, most computer security companies try to lull us into believing all we need is their products and nothing else. They say their products will protect us against any computer evil without needing any type of response. This is just plain stupid. Of course we need a response, any system is vulnerable to an attack. What we need are ways to make a planned response and for these systems to buy us more time to respond when something does happen. In other words we need to have the same expectations of security products as we do of our other security systems like door locks and alarm systems. While this won't necessarily solve all of our ills, it will be a step in the right direction.
Until next time.
The humorist James Lileks gives his take of the situation in a column that appeared in a variety of places including The Cincinnati Post (http://www.cincypost.com/opinion/lileks051500.html) -- Ed.:
Other articles in this issue also address the topic of viruses and computer security: