Thursday, December 29, 2011

Anonymous Strikes Again!

The New York Times is reporting this morning that Anonymous has attacked Special Forces, having taken, reportedly, "7,277 unique credit card numbers, 40,854 e-mail addresses and released 36,368 usernames and passwords."

I expect a strong, futile reaction calling for legal action, but ideally commercial web sites would begin to take security seriously. In a sense, these organizations are providing an attractive nuisance: leave the gate open, and kids will jump in the pool. Just close the frigging gate.

People want the simplest solution, and often the simplest solution doesn't work. Going after hackers perhaps has an effect, but hackers are a renewable resource. Prosecuting hackers doesn't have a measurable effect. Prohibition similarly perhaps had an effect on the amount of alcohol consumed, but it also served to fund organized crime. We are repeating the prohibition mistake with other drugs now. If we were to legalize, treat, and tax, we could mitigate multiple national problems while at the same time destroying less of Latin America. Going after the dealers rather than dealing with the problem is essentially supply-side thinking. And it works no better than supply-side economics.

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