Wall it off, make it go away

michael.dillon at bt.com michael.dillon at bt.com
Thu Sep 25 09:20:22 CDT 2008

> let's push this stuff back into the nation-states who sponsor 
> it and then use treaties to wall it off inside those places.

Let's not mince words. You want to wall off the Chinese and Russian
Internets because you believe that the reason so much cybercrime 
originates there is for political reasons (state sponsorship) rather
than economic ones. Have you ever visited these countries (Moscow 
and Beijing don't count) and seen how people live? There is a much
larger economic incentive than you can imagine. Using the exchange
rate figures from xe.com does not tell you how valuable an American
dollar is in those countries. You need to spend enough time in the
country to see how it costs to ride a bus, buy your lunch, etc.

In fact, cybercrime originates abroad because the economic incentive
is so great in those countries, and their level of technical education
is high enough that they can actually build the distributed software
systems that they need to drive the flow of hard cash.

Fiddling with router configs, or mail server configs, does not change
this. In fact, the economic incentive for a NANOG reader to block the
bad stuff is probably a lot lower than for the foreign bad guy to evade
your blocks. He will just route around your efforts.

Economic and legal problems should be fixed in the economic and legal 
system, not in network operations. People on this list would do more
good by supporting legal and economic efforts to fix the problem than
by tweaking their routers. Or by simply ignoring the problem because
it is a lot easier for law enforcement to hit a standing target.

In any case, I don't believe that nation states sponsor cybercrime. Bad
are found in every country and they will always act for their own
regardless of what laws or treaties may be put in place. Over the past
15 years, it has been shown that network vigilantism does not work. If
this just makes cybercriminals stronger by forcing them to evolve their
systems, and by weeding out the less intelligent ones.

--Michael Dillon

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