Robert Godden’s musings and rants

I muse. I rant. This is my outlet!

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I can understand phishing. There’s a point.

The point is to rip every cent (or penny, or peso, or whatever) out of your bank account. It’s fraud by mass market: someone somewhere will fall for it (and by the way, Anti-Phishing Phil is brilliant, if you’d like to get better at avoiding falling victim).

But when it comes to straightforward virus attacks; there’s no discernible point.

Common wisdom is that it’s the thrill of destruction – a bit like arsonists who hang around to watch a building burn.

In fact, a bit like cases where arsonists have tried to use pyromania as a clinical defence, it won’t be long before someone tries to defend themselves in court against charges of creating viruses by claiming ‘viromania”. If they ever get to court.

The vast majority of anti-social reprobates that create viruses are never caught.

To go back to our arson analogy; arsonists are often caught. And they often turn out to be people who would profit in some way, (e.g. by an insurance payout) or have a grudge.

However, there’s quite a few who get no discernible benefit; they just decided to burn down a building.

Many of the people in the last category are poor and undereducated. Burning down a building and getting caught for it is within a fairly limited scope – you don’t have to be a genius to accomplish this.

Not so the creation of a virus. For starters, you need access to a computer somewhere reasonably private, programming skills, and usually, an ability to not get caught easily.

So, why are the penalties for a poor, uneducated firebug so much more than those of a sophisticated virus author?

Now, I’m not advocating a lessening of penalties for the former; just some parity for the latter.

“Ahhhh, but Computer Viruses don’t kill people; whereas arson often does.” I hear you say.

While this is basically true at this point; how do we know that a virus won’t take down an air traffic control computer? Or one that affects red lights?

In many fatal arson attacks, the goal is gratification, not murder; and I’m happy to included virus creators in the same group.

So, I’m going to change tacks here to wrap up.

Listen, Mr or Ms Virus Author: Your efforts disgust me. The effort I put into keeping your sick products away from my home and business is time I’ll never see again; time spent away from my family. The time you spend creating it is also completely wasted.

So. here’s the changes I’d like to see.

It’s time to bring back the public stockade. These people want to be famous. Chaining them up in stocks in a public place with a ready supply of rotten fruit and a couple of dozen IT managers in the vicinity will spread their name nicely.

Then tattoo their foreheads. “Moron” in 72 pt bold works for me. If you put the “r” backwards it’s even better. A nice long sentence and perhaps a kick where it hurts as well!

And keep them in wooden prisons. Next door to the arsonists.



Written by robertgodden

June 23, 2008 at 7:24 am

Posted in Musings, Rants, society

Tagged with ,

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