I think Deven’s advice is great, but for those who want to sample Zittrain’s new book (The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It) before buying it, it’s excerpted in the Boston Review this month. (There’s also an outline of its ideas in this Harvard Law Review article.) It’s a very thoughtful analysis of some of the most difficult issues affecting internet policy. I will have more to say in future posts, but I just wanted to highlight this work, and the all-star respondents who comment on it in the same issue.
One of the biggest problems that Zittrain spots is that “bad code is now a business:”
So long as spam remains profitable, [many crimes] will persist. . . [including] viruses that compromise PCs to create large zombie “botnets” open to later instructions. Such instructions have included directing PCs to become their own e-mail servers, sending spam by the thousands or millions to e-mail addresses harvested from the hard disk of the machines themselves or gleaned from Internet searches, with the entire process typically proceeding behind the back of the PCs’ owners.
Botnets can also be used to launch coordinated attacks on a particular Internet endpoint. For example, a criminal can attack an Internet gambling Web site and then extort payment to make the attacks stop. The going rate for a botnet to launch such an attack is reputed to be about $50,000 per day.
What to do? I’ll just append a very brief excerpt of the Boston Review piece below the fold.