Internet Security Wake Up Call

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The Internet is like the wild west without a sheriff. The Slammer worm was a wake up call. It's time for all of us to pay attention.

The Internet is a necessary tool for the evolution of our civilization but it is still like the wild west without a sheriff. The Slammer worm was another wake up call. With the exceptions of how we treat our planet and the human race as a whole, cyberspace may be the ultimate "tragedy of the commons" situation. If everyone is responsible, no one is. No matter how sane most humans may be one day, it will never ever be advisable to depend on all human beings to be responsible. Cars are subject to safety standards, drivers are required to be licensed, companies that make flawed products can be sued, and insurance companies can charge more for drivers with poor records. Most weapons of mass destruction require a sophisticated group of people with deep pockets. The Slammer worm shows that one person with the necessary expertise, a computer and an Internet connection anywhere on the planet, can zap us all. Current events suggest that the world's first cyberwar may occur this year. On a more mundane level (but individually painful), anyone can be hit with ID theft. Welcome to the 21st century version of "future shock". So what should be done?

Outlaw spam and spyware.

Require Internet service providers to provide online email virus filters for their customers.

Require independent certification of software and hardware security products.

Require companies to include a basic set of certified security software on every computer they sell.

Allow class action law suits for insecure software code.

Make Internet security training mandatory for graduation from high school.

Sign an international treaty to make cyberwar a crime against humanity.


The purpose of the Home PC Firewall Guide is to provide easy access to independent, third-party reviews of Internet security products for home, telecommuter, and SOHO (small office, home office) end-users. The products we track include personal firewall, anti-virus, anti-Trojan, anti-spyware, and privacy software as well as low-cost wired and wireless routers with firewall features. The guide has been visited by over one million people since it went online in May 2000.

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Henry S Markus