Korean Zombie PCs

Update: Prof. Keechang Kim has now provided two blogposts in English on the matter: On Zombie MPs and suggestion in parl and the strangeness of the DDoS attacks:

It was the 3rd of March 2011. South Korea was under attack. A ddos attack, but not your average ddos attack, in fact, it was no ddos attack at all. It was an attack targetting social networks, banks, businesses and private citizens infecting them with a worm wiping the harddisks of infected computers and then self-destruct.

It was the 7th of July 2009.
South of Korea was under attack. A ddos attack, but not your average ddos attack, in fact, it was no ddos attack at all. It was an attack targetting social networks, banks, businesses and private citizens infecting them with a worm wiping the harddisks of infected computers and then self-destruct.

The observant reader will have seen by now that these numbers boil down to 3.3 and 7.7, an observation also made by Korean openweb activist Keechang Kim.

Why would a worm herder kill off her worms? And why is there no political nor economic message attached to the attack? A surprise attack, like Hannibal and the elephants emerging from the mists of the Alps. Well. It’s a second surprise attack and you would expect war elephants to work only once. In the case of anything involving computers this is not so. Virii, for instance, have made governments and computer users insecure since the dawn of time. I don’t know what to make of the fear against Stuxnet, for instance. Technically the only thing it does is make a reactor unable to produce refined fissionable material for possible nuclear weapons. By attacking, as far as I understand, SCADA systems that are anyway not secured very well. Instead of securing SCADA systems, the fear makes governments want regulation. We think. Why?

A reader with good memory will have remembered by now that the French internet authority HADOPI last year suggested a universal piece of (open source) software installed on all French computers to help users determine whether they are in fact downloading copyrighted material or not. I guess you’d have to be pretty informed to know that there was a similar proposal in South Korea pursued happily by an ambitious government in 2009, called the Zombie PC Prevention Act. See, I am very concerned about the EU-South Korea FTA effects on European internet policies, and many Korean activists (most notably IPLeft) are similarly concerned about the US-South Korea FTA effects on Korean internet policies. But this is not a free trade agreement. It’s an own-initiative report.

Popular support is rising for a helpful Zombie PC Act giving a government-controlled authority the mandate to access and scrutinize commercial, official and private datasystems. The authortity will help the government determine if the system is infected by any potential virus. Lacking appropriate anti-virus software shall, according to the bill, lead to repercussions.

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