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How the Attacks on Sites Like Twitter Can Help Promote Free Software

Seagulls at the beach



Analysis: If anything good came out of the deluge of DDoS attacks, it is increased awareness of Free software benefits

PREVIOUS posts about the Twitter DDoS attack [1, 2, 3, 4] were used as a representative sample of the ongoing problems caused by Windows zombies. Following a modest proposal from SJVN, there are more realistic measures put forth, which may or may not tackle the problem at hand. To quote a portion:

After last week's near-collapse of the social networks, such as Twitter, due to a Windows-based, botnet DDoS attack, I made a modest proposal: Throw Windows off the Internet. Here's how we can do it. Or, at the very least, force Windows users to maintain basic security standards.

Is the problem really so bad that ISPs (Internet Service Providers) must start encouraging users to abandon Windows or enforce Windows security? I think so.

Think about it. Besides last week's attack, in early July many South Korean and American government and business sites were knocked out, In May, it was Google's turn to be battered. Massive attacks that knock out part of the Internet are becoming commonplace. Since Windows-based botnets, are what's strangling the Internet, I don't see that we have any choice but to start, at the least, regulating the use of Windows.

Ideally, everyone would just switch to a desktop Linux or a Mac. Yeah, like that's going to happen.


TechDirt correctly points out that the person whom the attackers tried to silence is only receiving more attention right now. So the attacks had an adverse effect. The Georgian blogger is now the centre of attention.

Georgian blogger calls for Twitter attack probe



[...]

The pro-Georgian blogger who was the target of attacks that shut down micro-blogging website Twitter last week has called on Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to track down the culprits.


One gainer from this attack may be Free software. As Wired Magazine has just put it, "Open Source ‘Twitter’ Could Fend Off the Next Twitpocalypse."

Last week’s denial-of-service attack that knocked Twitter offline was aimed at one man — a blogger in the former Soviet republic of Georgia called Cyxymu. Nonetheless, it caused the entire Twitter universe to blink out of existence for hours. This struck some detractors of the service as hilarious (how do “these people” complain about Twitter being down if Twitter is down?). But the truth of the matter is that Twitter is an increasingly important lubricant for greasing the wheels of the web.

[...]

Prodromou, who built Laconi.ca and Identi.ca, estimates that thousands of companies already use Laconi.ca to set up private, company-wide Twitter-like networks, and that hundreds of public sites like the ones mentioned above use it too. His own Laconi.ca implementation, Indenti.ca, has nearly 80,000 users so far and is growing at a thousand users per day.


What's also interesting is perhaps the observation that around the time of these attacks some of the most senior people at the DHS (see notes at [1, 2, 3, 4]) are quitting their job. Have they just given up?

Yet another high-ranking government official in charge of securing the country's computer networks has resigned. This time, it's the head of the US Department of Homeland Security's Computer Emergency Readiness Team.

[...]

Kwon's departure announcement follows that of Melissa E. Hathaway, the White House interim top aide for cybersecurity, who last week also submitted a letter of resignation following delays by the Obama administration in appointing a permanent director to oversee the safety of the nation's vital computer networks. Insiders had expected the position to be filled months ago.


Even the FBI is struggling with security, due to Windows.

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