Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Tuesday 16/04/2002A Government report says that security breaches and virus attacks cost UK businesses several billion pounds last year. Despite this, and despite the fact that the number of firms suffering doubled last year, under a third have a security policy.

Tuesday 16/04/2002

A Government report says that security breaches and virus attacks cost UK businesses several billion pounds last year. Despite this, and despite the fact that the number of firms suffering doubled last year, under a third have a security policy.

This is obviously not much cop -- the old malarkey of pretending a problem didn't happen and refusing to do anything about it is clearly still much with us. What to do? The best way is usually to embarrass the chief executive in public, probably by starting a campaign of hoiking out their private emails and putting them on the Web. Then we'll see security taken seriously. But who to do it? The hackers and crackers are happy for things to carry on as they are; the businesses themselves won't get their fingers out and even journalists are dissuaded by the idea that hacking is illegal and leads to the attention of the boys in blue.

A modest proposal: use children. These days, being below the legal age of culpability doesn't mean you don't possess IT skills which excel those of 99 percent of IT professionals -- witness the Apple developer who was thrown out of a corporate programme this week for being 14 -- and you can always hack from home, thus avoiding that awkward thermal vent-centric workspace conundrum that finally foxed Victorian attempts to put kids to useful work. Playground status is heavily connected with being l33t (that's "elite", gramps), so the little darlings will leap at the chance to demonstrate their skills -- and that's without any bonus they accrue from financially valuable information in their discoveries.

And it'll keep them off the streets and not mugging, joyriding, shooting up with cough syrup or whatever it is young people get up to these days.

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