Information Warfare: January 13, 2003


Worry over the poor security on the Internet, especially for users who do not take basic precautions (a fire wall, turning off dangerous functions), the U.S. government is considering using it's enormous purchasing power (of Internet services) to get some useful changes made. For example, it's possible to stop a lot of spam and hacking activity by having ISPs (Internet Service Providers) configure their equipment to make it much more difficult for a lot of hacker tricks to be used. But most ISPs won't do this because they have no incentive to do so, and if they did it would cost them time and money. But if the government says it will only buy Internet connection services from ISPs that take preventative measures, than nearly all ISPs will have to do so in order to be competitive when seeking government business (and that's a lot of business, over $10 billion a year.) The U.S. (and foreign) governments are already pressuring Microsoft to increase the security of their software. This threat has become more realistic as a lower cost operating system, LINUX has become more popular.


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