The cyberwar on terror


The latest attack on the Internet by two young men, one from Morocco and the other from Turkey, once again underscores the vulnerability of the World Wide Web.  It is believed that these men wrote the Zotob and Mytob worms that "caused computer outages at more than 100 US companies, including major media outlets like CNN, the New York Times and ABC News."  The reliance on the Internet by developed nations to transmit information, transact business and to control vital infrastructure elements make it a particularly attractive target for terrorists and other miscreants.
Can this vulnerability be minimized?  According to Microsoft, the Zotob and Mytob worms "targeted a recently discovered flaw in the Plug and Play feature of Microsoft Corp.'s Windows 2000 operating system."  Microsoft was aware of the threat and had a security update to protect against it.  One only had to download the fix to protect their system from being hijacked by a remote user. 
It is estimated that Microsoft's operating system has 90% of the world market.  With that type of exposure, it is paramount that Microsoft provides for the tightest security.  An interview with Microsoft's Steve Ballmer has the chief executive conceding the corporation's early intent concerning the Internet Explorer web browser,  "The browser wars were never about security, the browser wars were about features."  The onslaught of hacking successes has changed the company's approach towards the role of security and this issue is "now clearer."
Indeed, Microsoft's collaboration with the FBI was a great help in tracking down the perpetrators of the Zotob and Mytob worms.  However, this latest attack obviously illustrates that Microsoft's review policy concerning their software needs to be re—examined.  Glitches, flaws, holes and bugs need to be eliminated prior to the release of their software.  This can't be too much to ask in this vulnerable age.

Eric Schwappach   8 27 05