Truth About Computer Security Hysteria
And that's a fact!
Tuesday, 11 December 2001
[Editor's note: new visitors to our site may not recognize the intense sarcasm in this column. Follow the links — especially the 'Michael Vatis' link at the very end of the column. Mr. Rosenberger applauds Mr. Zohar for his common sense.]
NEWSWIRE STORIES CREDIT Israeli intelligence officials for identifying the four cyber-terrorists who masterminded the recent Goner virus.
A Reuters story claims "Tel Aviv's juvenile court accepted a police request to confine the youths, aged 15 and 16, to their houses pending five days of investigation, said Meir Zohar, head of the Israeli police computer crimes squad... 'They are not bandits, they are regular kids. They are not computer geniuses, although one of them could write a program,' Zohar told Reuters. 'I don't think they fully understood what they were doing.' "
Say what?!?! Nothing more than house arrest? I can't believe Israel treats any terrorist so nicely — let alone four deadly cyber-terrorists.
I don't know about you, but I don't believe Zohar for a minute. Do you see the implication here? He claims a bored teenager with rudimentary programming skills can circumvent state-of-the-art antivirus software deployed around the globe. And Zohar makes it sound like you can do it on a lark, no less! What a crock. More than a few people in the antivirus industry hold doctoral degrees, and that's a fact. Many sage experts conducted antivirus experiments for their masters degrees, and that's a fact. Multiple antivirus firms hold ingenious patents for detecting & eradicating viruses, and that's a fact.
Does Zohar actually expect me to believe a mediocre 16yr-old pimple farmer can outsmart the antivirus industry's global brain trust? Those "children" are diabolical geniuses and they knew what they were doing. They viciously attacked the United States of America with an über-virus.
It wouldn't surprise me if Gee-Dubya, the Computer-in-Chief himself, dropped two cybernukes on Israel in retaliation for this unforgivably heinous crime.
Stop listening to Zohar for a moment and listen to me, folks. Symantec bigwig Steve Trilling went on CNN Headline News when the Goner virus almost made goners of us all. Trilling admitted his flagship antivirus software couldn't possibly stop the attack without an update. When the best minds at Symantec throw up their hands in defeat on live TV, then you know you're dealing with genius cyber-terrorists — not some idiot kid who barely knows how to write a batch file.
Next thing you know, Zohar will claim a mediocre Philippine college student launched the horrifying ILoveYou virus (a weapon of mass destruction 1,740 times more powerful than the Goner virus). Or next thing you know, Zohar will tell you an angry Taiwanese college student wiped out 150 million computers with the deadly Chernobyl virus. Or next thing you know, Zohar will want you to believe a complete idiot wrote the deadly Melissa virus. Bah!
Every one of those viruses (including Goner) evaded the world's most popular antivirus technology, and that's a fact. Every one of them (including Goner) stymied the antivirus cartel's global brain trust, and that's a fact. Obviously, it would take the skills of a cunning cyber-terrorist to construct something as efficient and as deadly as Goner. How much more convincing do you need?
A bored teenager with rudimentary skills has yet again circumvented state-of-the-art antivirus software deployed around the globe.
IT WOULDN'T SURPRISE me if Zohar believes an obsessed tennis fan wrote the deadly Kournikova virus in seven minutes flat. I can't believe this guy heads up Israel's police computer crimes squad. Where's Martin Milner when you really need him?
I agree with former Israeli science minister Michael Eitan — those four kids are "terrorists" in every sense of
histhe word, just like Osama bin Laden. They committed an international crime "just like any other terrorism," as Eitan himself is fond of saying. I can't fathom why Israel would put terrorists under house arrest when they know full well the Goner virus is (and I quote!) the "functional equivalent of 767s crashing into buildings."
Oh, waitaminit: I quoted Richard "digital Pearl Harbor" Clarke in the previous sentence. Sorry 'bout that. Anyway, we need to convict these four confessed Israeli cyber-terrorists. And then we need to hang 'em from a directory tree with a CAT5 cable as an example to others.
And then we need to replace Zohar with a real cop. You know — somebody like Michael Vatis.