Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


Lock 'em up!

Over at TaoSecurity, Richard writes:

Remember that one of the best ways to prevent intrusions is to help put criminals behind bars by collecting evidence and supporting the prosecution of offenders. The only way to ensure a specific Internet-based threat never bothers your organization is to separate him from his keyboard!

Firstly, I’m very glad that the second, qualifying sentence is there. It provides some context. However, I’m not sure that I care that a specific threat stops, what I care about is that the class of threats go away.
If the odds that a specific criminal hacker goes to jail are low, then the penalties need to be exceptionally severe and well publicised to create a deterrent effect. (This is roughly a criminal attack loss expectancy, which someone smart has done work on.)
We can see that the odds that an attacker goes to jail are relatively small because there is clearly a large attacker population, and very few criminal sentencings. I’m curious how many attacker convictions we’d need each year to change the economics of this and deter 15 year olds from bringing down CNN?