Ashcroft launches C.H.I.P.
July 22, 2001 3:23 PM   Subscribe

Ashcroft launches C.H.I.P. Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property units to make sure all your licensing is in order, don't have a copy of the DeCSS song, and keeping webpages de-facement free.
posted by skallas (14 comments total)
I'm curious as to how more arrests will make any difference. If the internet is full of clueless administrators and software makers that don't care much about security or set their software at the lowest security settings as possible then hacks and cracks are not going to go away.

I'm a lot more interested in seeing a government agency that isn't just protecting capitalism from license breakers and web defacements but actively scanning servers for vulnerabilities, open relays, etc and notifying administrators. Or how about a government audit of software and a security rating put right on the box like "Outlook 2000 - high risk".

This link is worth clicking on just for the picture, the little girl looks shocked as if she just read the text below the picture.
posted by skallas at 3:36 PM on July 22, 2001

witch-hunt of the 21'st century: gotta stop the hacker.
posted by greyscale at 4:06 PM on July 22, 2001

Except, of course, for the fact that -- contrary to witches -- hackers do exist, and pose a serious threat to many critical computer systems around the world.

This is a sound move by Mr. Ashcroft.
posted by dagny at 4:12 PM on July 22, 2001

Given the FBI's recent interpretation of intellectual property law, this sounds pretty frightening to me.
posted by willnot at 4:23 PM on July 22, 2001

actually witches do exist, they are also considered wiccans, a religious group that is many times over persecuted... but that's besides the point.

I'm seeing both sides of the coin here. On one hand, hackers claim legitimacy by saying they are doing good work by showing people how their security systems are flawed, never noting that if the hackers weren't trying to shoot holes in the security system, the need probably wouldn't be there in the first place.

On the other hand, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act is a load of crap that prevents fair use, and the people paying Dubya and Ashcroft's show (ie. big business, publishing corporations, music industry) would be more than happy to force people to buy 3,4, or more licenses of one piece of music/book/etc in order to further line their pockets at the expense of authors/musicians. While I think sharing between one person and every person on the Internet is wrong, if I go out and buy a piece of music, or a movie, or what have you, I should have the right to view that piece of work in the way I see fit, and to produce back up copies. I am buying a license. The people running the show feel otherwise, and this is why this frightens me.
posted by benjh at 4:39 PM on July 22, 2001

Mr Ashcroft justified the move by quoting a study by accountants PriceWaterhouseCoopers that said businesses spent $300 billion fighting hackers and computer viruses last year

Um... that can't be right! That sounds like one of those "We may have counted some figures multiple times as part of different sums" numbers... I thought the entire GNP of the US hovered around $9.3 trillion, which means more than 3% of all spending the US's economy was devoted to hackers and antiviruses alone? I find that extremely hard to believe. No company I've worked for as a sysadmin has spent anything remotely like that, unless you counted the entire IT department's salaries and budget as "devoted to hacking and virus prevention" which is of course a ludicrous statement on the face of it.

At the last company I worked for, 250+ employeesat their peak, the cost of the Norton Enterprise AV system, including licenses, worked out to about $12 a year per employee. The firewall I set up, two pairs of failover PIX 515's- which with NAT'ing and PAT'ing did much more than just protect against hackers, so the cost wasn't just to prevent hackers- cost a total of about $22,000 (a smaller company could use the built-in PAT'ing and basic firewall of their ISP provided router, or a $1500 dollar smaller office firewall). Setting up failover PIX 515's takes all of an hour or two, so add about $40-80 worth of my time to set it up initially (but then, I was already there anyway on my salary, so maybe it costs nothing since it was part of my job). Throw in some Exchange plugins- NEMX was purty neat for attachment extension filtering- and I'd estimate the total cost for two years would range in the $30,000-$40,000 range, or about .15-.20% of the amount spent on employee salaries alone. Hardly 3% of the company's outlay... This $300B figure smells terribly of shoddy or misleading math...

That said, I'm glad to hear that Ashcroft's program will enable Erik Estrada to find work again... :)
posted by hincandenza at 4:47 PM on July 22, 2001

Increased enforcement of the DMCA can only mean one thing: More test cases!
posted by fooljay at 5:06 PM on July 22, 2001

Hey great, lets go protect Microsoft's software licensing stream so that they are enabled to write more insecure software...
posted by machaus at 5:23 PM on July 22, 2001

Errr, actually, test cases will probably decrease the length of time we have to live with this terrible law...
posted by fooljay at 5:27 PM on July 22, 2001

Why no bad Erik Estrada humor?
I'm disappointed in you people.
posted by Octaviuz at 5:34 PM on July 22, 2001

Why no bad Erik Estrada humor?

Uh... hel-LO?! Look up a few posts, fer cripety's sake!
posted by hincandenza at 8:19 PM on July 22, 2001

This is the obligatory post pointing out the difference between a hacker and a cracker
posted by shinji_ikari at 5:22 AM on July 23, 2001

posted by Octaviuz at 6:34 AM on July 23, 2001

this is like that Netforce movie, except Ashcroft is no Scott Bakula.
posted by tolkhan at 9:46 AM on July 23, 2001

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