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Looking for a more dangerous Web? The U.S. government might be building it

Business Technology | March 13, 2013

Is the United States creating a more dangerous Web? That’s the theory depicted in a recent story by the MIT Technology Review. The story details the story of Stuxnet. You may remember this piece of malware as it made big news in 2010 when it was discovered. Today, the general opinion is that Stuxnet was made by the governments of the United States and Israel to attack the industrial equipment needed to build Iran’s budding nuclear program. As the Technology Review story states, Stuxnet might be the first well-known demonstration of a new form of warfare, one in which countries use malware along with other viruses to attack computers and security systems of other nations. And the United States might just be the leader in this form of virtual warfare.

A growing industry

Here’s the fear, as expressed in the Technology Review story. As governments spend an escalating amount of dollars to create malware weapons, are they also making the Internet a more dangerous place than it already is? Unfortunately, the answer seems to be a definite “yes”. No one knows how many malware weapons governments have implemented since Stuxnet made news. But, as the report says, many have certainly done their work without the public hearing about them. That should make any Internet users feel nervous.

Smartphones are not safe, either

Even more chilling? Smartphones and tablets are definately not safe from this type of government-created malware. It’s undeniable that users are moving away from desktop computers and latching onto smartphones, tablets and other mobile-computing devices. As this phenomenon gains momentum, governments are targeting their efforts on the mobile market. The Technology Review story claims that exploits that concentrate on mobile software are prized because manufacturers so rarely send updates to their mobile operating systems. As a result these systems are especially susceptible to malware attacks.

An age-old threat?

The Technology Review story ends on this chilling thought: Maybe malware weapons aren’t anything new. Considering that, countries are almost always developing new and more damaging weapons. It should come as little surprise, then, that governments are taking to the online world, too, with regards to crafting new weapons. It’s unfortunate, though, that this latest round of arms building is making a more dangerous Internet.


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