Saturday, May 08, 2004

A chicken or the egg dilemma...

So, a 18 year old kid is currently in custody in Germany, suspected of creating the Sasser worm. Great, right? He was arrested Friday and according to reports, he told the authorities he created the worm, which caused quite a bit of trouble in Britain, among other places. So they have him, but now what? The damage is done. And we are left with a dilemma on two fronts - first, what do we do with the suspect? What will the charge against him be - and will he be subject to only German law and prosecution, or will other countries get a crack at him? Second, and actually the bigger problem here, who do we REALLY blame? The kid who exploited a vulnerability in Windows - or the makers of the Windows? I'm not talking in a legal sense, it's not reasonable to hold Microsoft responsible for viruses (although, it is tempting). I view this more as a morality problem - this kind of activity is becoming more and more common, and it's really becoming more and more difficult to prevent. No operating system is 100% safe, but it seems that Windows is the worst of the bunch by far. Is this just the price to pay for being the most widely used operating system, or is this all due to bad programming and a corporate mentality that simply pushed products out before they were adequately tested and hardened against tampering and vulnerability? And back to the morality issue - is this simply due to a culture that has too much curiosity and to little supervision? Is any one person REALLY to blame here - or any one corporation - or is this a problem with society as a whole? Too many questions here, and not enough answers. Time, I suppose, will tell what will happen here.

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