Is the U.S. government making the Web more dangerous?

On March 13, 2013, in Uncategorized, by StuppChernoff399

Is the United States making a more dangerous Web? That’s the theory depicted in a recent story by the MIT Technology Review. The story details the history of Stuxnet. You might remember this piece of malware as it made big news in 2010 when it was discovered. These days, the consensus is that Stuxnet was created by the governments of the United States and Israel to attack the industrial equipment needed to run Iran’s budding nuclear program. As the Technology Review story states, Stuxnet may be the first well-known demonstration of a new form of warfare, one in which countries use malware along with other computer viruses to attack the computer and security systems of other nations. And the United States might just be the leader in this method of virtual warfare.

A more dangerous Internet?

According to the Technology Review story, investigators are continually uncovering new malware that, like Stuxnet, has one goal: to act as a weapon. How many malware weapons have governments around the world created? Nobody knows the answer to that. But the story does report that governments and companies, including in the United States, are paying big dollars to computer professionals who develop these malware weapons. That leaves a significant question left unanswered: Are these new malware weapons making the Internet an even more hazardous place?

A mobile attack?

Even more chilling? Smartphones and tablets are far from safe from this type of government-created malware. It’s undeniable that consumers are leaving desktop computers and latching onto smartphones, tablets as well as other mobile-computing devices. As this trend gains momentum, governments are focusing their efforts on the mobile market. The Technology Review story says that exploits that target mobile software are prized because manufacturers so rarely send updates to their mobile operating systems. As a result these systems are especially vulnerable to malware attacks.

An old story?

The Technology Review story ends on a somber note. Maybe, it suggests, these malware weapons are not so unusual. Countries across the globe routinely create new weapons. Malware exploits might be the latest version of an arms race. Unfortunately, consumers could be caught in the crossfire of a Web that’s suddenly become infinitely more dangerous.

 

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