TalkBack Central: The Great Microsoft Router Fiasco

Summary:'The Great Microsoft Router Fiasco' might serve as a reminder of why computer hackers love to destroy what others build; they live for the great rush that fame brings. The worst thing that could happen to a successful major-league hacker would be to hit a home run in the World Series against a team like Microsoft, and then never read about it in the technology pages.

'The Great Microsoft Router Fiasco' might serve as a reminder of why computer hackers love to destroy what others build; they live for the great rush that fame brings.

The worst thing that could happen to a successful major-league hacker would be to hit a home run in the World Series against a team like Microsoft, and then never read about it in the technology pages. So far the media has obliged the hackers -- bring down a major league team like E-bay or Microsoft, and we will give you the ride of your life. For the hacker, it may even be worth sitting in prison for a couple of years.

I have always been one of those who thinks the argument which claims hackers teach us lessons in security, is about as logical as applying the same argument to bank robbers, car thieves or muggers. They mug us, hackers do; they mug those who create the dreams and magic of the Internet and Web. The media has grown tired of traditional muggers -- so much so that you can mug a movie star, a senator, or a sports hero and not get your name in the paper. Hey! What if we treated computer hackers like the muggers they are?

This brings us to The Great Microsoft Router Fiasco. Imagine for a moment that Microsoft has been hacked -- big time. What should it do? First and foremost, they should fix the problem and call in the 'Anti-hack Hack Team'. However, Microsoft has to tell the press something. Rather than admitting they had been hacked (which should be an embarrassment for them), what if they told the world that one of their engineers had left out a semicolon somewhere in the code. Not only does our hacker not get his name in the paper, he doesn't even get to read about his greatest accomplishment. "A missing semi-colon?" he or she might wonder, "I worked 2 years on this job!"

In the United States, we have a long history of celebrating destruction, going back to the frontier days when we systematically destroyed hundreds of peaceful nations (not to mention considerable wildlife) across North America in order to build our own, celebrating the destroyers with a chapter in our history books. The celebration continues with Sylvester Stallone and Bruce Willis films and with Saturday morning kids' cartoons. Mind you, all this destruction does, indeed, require a certain degree of cleverness--just like the successful bank robbery. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a way to celebrate the cleverness of these acts without celebrating the destruction they produce, too.

Normally cover-ups disguise the skullduggery of the bad guys. A bonus of the deception I've described is that we can convert an evil tool to one that does some good.

Dr. Robert Beard is the Chief Linguistics Officer and CTO of yourDictionary.com, Inc.

Disclaimer: 'Your Turn' is a commentary column written by a ZDNet News reader. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author, not those of ZDNet, ZDNet News nor its editors.

We want to feature "you" as a guest columnist on TalkBack Central -- The page dedicated to you and your views! Got a column for Your Turn? Submit it here. 'The Great Microsoft Router Fiasco' might serve as a reminder of why computer hackers love to destroy what others build; they live for the great rush that fame brings.

The worst thing that could happen to a successful major-league hacker would be to hit a home run in the World Series against a team like Microsoft, and then never read about it in the technology pages. So far the media has obliged the hackers -- bring down a major league team like E-bay or Microsoft, and we will give you the ride of your life. For the hacker, it may even be worth sitting in prison for a couple of years.

I have always been one of those who thinks the argument which claims hackers teach us lessons in security, is about as logical as applying the same argument to bank robbers, car thieves or muggers. They mug us, hackers do; they mug those who create the dreams and magic of the Internet and Web. The media has grown tired of traditional muggers -- so much so that you can mug a movie star, a senator, or a sports hero and not get your name in the paper. Hey! What if we treated computer hackers like the muggers they are?

This brings us to The Great Microsoft Router Fiasco. Imagine for a moment that Microsoft has been hacked -- big time. What should it do? First and foremost, they should fix the problem and call in the 'Anti-hack Hack Team'. However, Microsoft has to tell the press something. Rather than admitting they had been hacked (which should be an embarrassment for them), what if they told the world that one of their engineers had left out a semicolon somewhere in the code. Not only does our hacker not get his name in the paper, he doesn't even get to read about his greatest accomplishment. "A missing semi-colon?" he or she might wonder, "I worked 2 years on this job!"

In the United States, we have a long history of celebrating destruction, going back to the frontier days when we systematically destroyed hundreds of peaceful nations (not to mention considerable wildlife) across North America in order to build our own, celebrating the destroyers with a chapter in our history books. The celebration continues with Sylvester Stallone and Bruce Willis films and with Saturday morning kids' cartoons. Mind you, all this destruction does, indeed, require a certain degree of cleverness--just like the successful bank robbery. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a way to celebrate the cleverness of these acts without celebrating the destruction they produce, too.

Normally cover-ups disguise the skullduggery of the bad guys. A bonus of the deception I've described is that we can convert an evil tool to one that does some good.

Dr. Robert Beard is the Chief Linguistics Officer and CTO of yourDictionary.com, Inc.

Disclaimer: 'Your Turn' is a commentary column written by a ZDNet News reader. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author, not those of ZDNet, ZDNet News nor its editors.

We want to feature "you" as a guest columnist on TalkBack Central -- The page dedicated to you and your views! Got a column for Your Turn? Submit it here.

Topics: Microsoft, Banking, Security

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