A co-researcher Richard Ford at the Florida Institute of Technology’s College of Engineering and Computer Sciences wrote in an article to Science Magazine‘s July issue that the first computer virus was created 25 years ago, but sees no end in sight to malicious software.
John Timmer similarly writes his take on this article.
Myself, I say take a step back. Consider that the drive was to make computers a household appliance. Even better, getting a driver’s license means you know how to operate a car and know the dangers on the road. Drivers listen to the radio for traffic changes, we watch the news to know the weather in relation to how we should drive. Thats being proactive, its being vigilant against the unknown dangers on the road. Agree?
I like Science as a magazine, and even better the fact that they can talk about the chilling reality of the human paradigm — expectations on technology versus the immediate reality of the threat. That same human paradigm does not want to hear the sad truth that it is gullable and stupid unless better informed and armed with relevant information. So why are computer users, and similarly users of technology not taking the time to pore through security forums on a daily basis proactively to be well informed? There is a huge disjoint here.
Para-phrasing David P’s own sentiments that malware used to be likened to online graffiti, even in today’s physical reality some individual’s penchant to write on subways and public walls has not abated — neither has crime and fraud in its smallest form even if neighborhood police and secret service are just around the corner. Has anyone watched last year’s movie “The Good Shepherd”? This month of July celebrates the 60th year of the CIA. It is as live today as it was then, simply because the dangers have also changed!
That said, it looks like the anti-malware (anti-threat) community will be as vibrant as ever. It isn’t like a couple of years ago where we saw ourselves as cyber-firemen. Being passive does not catch the bad guys, it is as reactive as all the old passive technologies like IDS and IPS. Ever since malware has taken to cyber-crime, without everyone in the security field knowing it we have all become cyber-sleuths and products and services have become the online police.
In this day and age solutions like network behavior monitoring, as well as traffic repudiation and analysis are the new tools. Self defending networks are fine too, but these should always be tempered and fine tuned to adapt to the computer user’s changing appetite for content and technology.
Take another trip to YouTube (make sure its the main site, not a trojan masquerading as a codec) and watch the sci-fi online flick Afterworld. See how the story unfolds while Rus Shoemaker copes with a world bereft of technology.