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SubjectRe: [OT] DMCA loop hole
On Tue, 2001-08-14 14:36:41 +0200, Helge Hafting <helgehaf@idb.hist.no>
wrote in message <3B791B59.5F5F4113@idb.hist.no>:
> "Joshua b. Jore" wrote:
> How is making a virus any different from making any other weapon, like
> a gun? Using it against someone might of course be illegal.

Well... It's quite different in some points:
- building some kind of weapon means hand-working on
"real" iron.
- programming a virus is just altering bits.
- Nobody will claim building an arbitrary warpon is some
kind of art ("I've always seen a weapon within this
block of iron. I've only cut off some peaces to
let it appear")
- Many programmers will in fact have others to see their
work as art. Esp., if it's kind of difficult work.

Another effect is that firing a weapon means real movement of
material whereas "firing" a virus is "just" altering bits. For
humans, this is a big difference. I (speaking for me) would feel
quite more guilty firing a weapon than firing a virus...

> There are certainly valid reasons for making viruses. For example
> in order to test (and develop) antivirus software that
> automatically detect new viruses without being told about them first.

There are even more uses of viruses: a major one is to show
up security flaws. As of today, we've reached (in some countries)
a state of stagnation (sp?):

- You think you found some kind of security weakness
- You're not allowed to do further investigation because
you mustn't do reverse engineering
- You're asked to report that bug. Then, you may wait
for the next update soming some months later (which
may cost you some $$). However, what so you do if
your software you've just found a security relevant bug
in isn't licensed? You can't report the bug. (Which
is why I use Linux at al.)

Then, you've got 2 possibilities: Either the leak is fixed before
some maliculous people write a virus for, or you hope (or write it
yourself) that a virus will occur on this topic. Reason: if it's
a really bad virus, people will fasten their work on your bug and
you'll get your patch learlier.

> Oh, and surely someone can invent an excuse for using a virus
> offensively
> too. "I need this to defend my site from cyber-terrorists..."

Come on, don't fiddle with the bullshit. Software (both, commercial
as well as GPLed) lives and goes through evolution. Weak species
(those with bugs and security flaws) will die out, stronger ones
(stronger against virus attacks) will survive. By sending out
viruses, you put more preassure on the weak species.

Looking at today's software world, you'll find thousands fo programs
doing more-or-less the same. However, all of them need to be cared
about. Putting preassure on this system will help minorities
to better grow because it's easier to care about short programs
than about monoliths (like famous word progrssing programs and so
on).

OTOH, this suggests to keep really near to up-to-date software. I
like that, too. Looking for bugs in *old* versions is boring.
The concept of only working on HEAD sounds better to me...

So my result: I'm not that much against viruses. People using
computers shoul know what they do. Then, they'll never (or not
that often) get hit by a virus. I've never really had trouble
with them:-)

MfG, JBG

--
Jan-Benedict Glaw . jbglaw@lug-owl.de . +49-172-7608481
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