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Extra resources for Communications of ACM 2011 vol 54 issue 2

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Coupled with negligence by institutions that are supposed to safeguard our privacy, the picture is bleak. Malware launchers seem to be always ahead. And their products are no longer stupid capers but skillful software packages. These are valuable lessons that are not being understood by us, the victims. Malware perpetrators have clearly mastered these lessons. Trading local pranks for global villainy, the perps are readying their next steps on the international political stage, where cyberspace is a potential war zone in-the-making.

For me, the third argument against cyberterrorism is perhaps the most compelling; yet it is very rarely mentioned. S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary regarding Nimda and Code Red that “we to this day don’t know the source of that. ”4 This observation betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature and purposes of terrorism, particularly its attention-getting and communicative functions. A terrorist attack with the potential to be hidden, portrayed as an accident, or otherwise remain unknown is unlikely to be viewed positively by any terrorist group.

May we let thousands of talented young minds lie fallow until our ignorant denial of the problem can no longer be condoned? How much malware damage should we tolerate? Until universal infection is the status quo? How are we to respond to massive but very likely covert malware pandemics? Would our response be capable of restoring and maintaining stability? More importantly, would we be able to verify the effectiveness of such a response? Detecting and arresting malware and its launchers won’t be easy unless we ramp up on all fronts, especially education.

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Communications of ACM 2011 vol 54 issue 2 by CACM


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