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Saturday, February 26, 2011

RANT: FBI now running a 3rd-world orphanage?

I saw this Computerworld headline on Thursday and have been shaking my head for two days: US cybercrime complaints fell 10% in 2010. I can't make up my mind whether I'm more astounded that some PR flack at the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) would issue such a preposterous statistic or that any responsible news organization would run the story without critical comment by a responsible statistician. Heck, I'd have been satisfied with the story had they asked for comment from anyone—anyone at all—who'd read either Freakonomics or Super Freakonomics by Levitt and Dubner. The one source quoted in the article said, "…the overall number of complaints may be down because companies are getting better at dealing with fraud." Pure hogwash!

It should be obvious to anyone who spends any time on the Internet that cyber crime is up. From my own experience:

  1. Email hijacking is up. 
  2. Fraudulent phishing is up. 
  3. Spam from bogus sites is up. 
  4. And if you actually have a server running on the Web, break-in attempts have never been more numerous. 

    I have no doubt that IC3 cyber crime complaints fell by 10%. That's because we're just tired of filing complaints to which the authorities do not respond. Our environment is kind of like a Romanian orphanage in which you don't hear a sound. No crying babies. And it's not because they don't have the babies, but because babies only cry when it brings love and relief and help. No help, no love, no relief, and the babies stop crying, resigned to their fate in an inhospitable environment. Silicon Valley surely doesn't have a lot to be thankful for from the FBI after Director Mueller publicly asks U.S. software companies to build back doors into their products.

    Let's face it. We're living in a 3rd-world orphanage. The only way I've come up with to fix the problem is to monetize cyber security with…surprise…licensed and bonded cyber privateers. If you have a better idea, let me hear about it. Please. I beg you.

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    Implementation suggestions for THE MORGAN DOCTRINE are most welcome. What are the "Got'chas!"? What questions would some future Cyber Privateering Czar have to answer about this in a Senate confirmation hearing?