Herb Prooy thinks PC Plod shouldn’t be left in charge of internet security.
Four minutes, that’s all it takes. Every computer which accesses the internet with a new IP address is tested by cyber criminals to see if it can be recruited for illegal activities, all within the space of four short minutes. Criminal organisations have put together armies of 10,000 to 100,000 computers.
These so-called botnets can be ordered by their ‘shepherd’ to execute a certain task at the same time thereby downing a website effectively and immediately, or send tens of millions Viagra spam mails. It is estimated that around 150 million computers are part of botnets without the owners having a clue.
Credit card data
Criminal organisations have such a head start in all things internet that even respected website security companies, well-known makers of virus scanners among them, cannot keep up and are taken unawares time and time again. That is why botnets are being used increasingly for less innocuous practices such as compromising pay applications in order to get to a massive number of credit card data, or the vastly lucrative stock price spamming.
Last Monday the Financieele Dagblad gave Jacob Kohnstamm, the PC Plod of privacy watchdog College Persoonsbescherming (CPB), the opportunity to complain that his 75 staff barely has the time to investigate important hacks such as we’ve seen at KPN, Bavaria and Philips, never mind cast an eye over the plans of junior justice minister Teeven.
In line with European regulations, Teeven wants to authorise the CPB to dole out fines of €200,000 to companies if they fail to protect personal user data and do not report hacks. It’s a ridiculous law which blames the victim because the powers that be are incapable of doing something about the perpetrator. It’s like the village policeman fining the greengrocer for having a lock on his shop door too easy to pick by a band of internationally organised burglars.
Data security is a technology rat race in which most companies will end near the bottom. Fewer than 40 data technology students graduate each year in the Netherlands and adequate data security costs are far too high for most companies. Asking PC Plod to hand out fines is not the answer.
Herb Prooy is an entrepreneur in the field of ‘software as a service’
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