Symantec Wants To Outlaw Publishing Virus Information

from the want-to-keep-it-all-to-themselves dept

Among the strategies discussed at a Congressional session on how to prevent viruses and worms from becoming a growing problem (something that is only going to get worse), the head of anti-virus firm Symantec came up with a somewhat backwards solution. He says it should be illegal to post any information about how to create a virus or a worm. In other words, make information less available. It's a classic "security through obscurity" plan that can't work. Fighting these things takes information. Locking down information doesn't mean that it won't spread, but that it will be spread underground. Thus, we'll be less safe, because we won't be nearly as aware of what the threats are.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 11th, 2003 @ 12:56pm

    Knowledge is Power

    How convenient for them to then have a monopoly of information on security. Sorry, too many Iranians, Pakistanis & Indians are involved in security products. I don't want to be forced to trust software corporations to protect me.

    I have the right to know what could infect my computer , just as I have the right to enlighten myself about cancer, aids or a myriad of other afflictions.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    kai, Sep 11th, 2003 @ 1:47pm

    No Subject Given

    Funny, I thought their business model was to scare the crap out of everyone about viruses and then to sell virus control software. Without all these "Worm" and "Virus" scares (which are almost always blown out of proportion by someone in the anti-virus community), who would buy this stuff?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Oliver Wendell Jones, Sep 11th, 2003 @ 3:00pm

    Nobody gets it?

    They don't want to ban virus information.

    They want to ban 'how to make' virus information.

    A subtle difference, but a difference none the less...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    orwell, Sep 11th, 2003 @ 3:21pm

    Re: Knowledge is Power

    "Sorry, too many Iranians, Pakistanis & Indians are involved in security products" --- yes and heavens knows they all share the same interests. I've heard recent talk that the two muslim countries and India are going put aside there differences, band together and take over the world.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    LittleW0lf, Sep 11th, 2003 @ 6:32pm

    Re: Nobody gets it?

    They want to ban 'how to make' virus information.

    Or is it that they want to ban "how to make" virus information so that new competitors will not be able to have the same resources they had.

    I think this is a very powerful anti-trust move on the part of Symantec. All they are going to do is make it difficult for anyone legitimately wanting the information since the once who are writing the viruses already have it or at least know where to get it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Joe A., Sep 12th, 2003 @ 5:49am

    I guess every company is the same.

    Management dolts. I had hoped that a "good" company like Symantec would be less likely to have such dolts at the top of the hierarchy.

    Is there *any* company out there being run by people with the RIGHT balance of business sense, common sense, and technical understanding?


    ... and are they looking for a Perl hacker? :)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 12th, 2003 @ 7:31am

    Re: I guess every company is the same.

    jesus how stupid can they be? "yes, just this one little thing we want to make illegal...no we don't think it's a slippery slope"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 12th, 2003 @ 10:01pm

    The redundant law of redundancies

    Uh, excuse me, but the DCMA already makes it illegal to publish circumventions of security mechanisms. Buffer overflows and untrusted code could easily be viewed in this light.

    It's also quite illegal to publish viruses, though people seem confused as to if this means just the source code or releasing the complied code into the wild. There have been a few cases where "researchers" code accidently escaped into the wild. I believe the granddaddy of them all, the Morris worm, fell into this catagory.

    I can tell you this: I was around during the Morris worm and if it had not been for independant technical analysis by univerity admins. people would have been lost. Remember, this was back when the FProt folks were the only anti-virus game in town and computer viruses/worms were considered an esoteric research topic of limit value in real life.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    A. Nonymous, Nov 13th, 2003 @ 9:55am

    The Constitution

    Trying to ban information on how to make a virus is going to meet ugly opposition, since the Consitution provides for Freedom of Speech.

    Sorry, but if John Q. Public wants to tell the world how to make a virus, he has that right.

    If someone doesn't like that right, they do have the right to LEAVE.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This