Letters to Bob Evans in response to his September 8, 2003 column ''Don't Turn That Cheek To Hackers--Be Unchic''
Punishment Should Fit The Crime
Relative to poor Jeffrey Parson, I'm no friend of Microsoft, but they didn't create the problem. Poor Jeffrey did. Microsoft only created a(nother) faulty product. Not the first time or the last. Jeffrey set out to be malicious, deliberate, and disruptive. He no doubt has low self-esteem--so what. In the end, his deeds not only cost many people and companies a fortune, but as you point out in the article, wiped out some people's jobs and their ability to feed their families, and no doubt caused medical harm somewhere and major breaches in security. Hackers, too kind a description, are detestable, low-life miscreants (your very appropriate description) who have too much time on their hands. A more appropriate description is terrorist. They often have the same effect on their surroundings and often from the same sick, twisted, selfish, misguided, and ugly motivations.
Should the guy who created the original Blaster program get 70 times the punishment? I don't think it's a linear relationship, but it should be treated the same as any other malicious crime, with the punishment (hopefully) designed to be consistent with the amount of harm done and the number of people harmed. If anything, Jeffrey's scheduled punishment is too light. The Internet has become a critical resource as important as, and probably more important than, the telephone network, not only nationally but worldwide. Both need to be protected and aggressively defended. People like Jeffrey need to be dealt with severely. I'm all for making examples of them, and highly publicizing the outcome so the message gets out to the rest of those living under the same kinds of rocks. Jeffrey's crime has many victims, almost all of whom will go unrepresented.
Katie and Oprah and Larry King are entertainers. Unfortunately, they tend to have too much influence over how some people think, but that's the cost of a free society, and it's well worth the price. Let's keep them in perspective and put the energy into thinking for ourselves.
Thanks for the article.
Crack Down On Hackers
I thoroughly enjoyed your hackers article. They *should* be cracking skulls when they catch these clowns.
Just my 2 cents...
Rob Bonham Network Administrator
Put Skills To Good Use
I agree with you, Bob. Fine him and send him to prison. While he's in prison, make him write educational software for the masses as a community-service project. That will put his programming skill to good use. All the proceeds from the sale of the software can go to a good cause as well.
Kris Klein Director Telecom
Impose Stiff Sentence
I agree with the article on "So what do we do with Jeffrey Parson?" Yes, computer sabotage is dangerous and malicious, and it's not chic or trendy or counterculturally glamorous; rather, it's 100% wrong, and it needs to be wiped out. Maximum sentence at the bare minimum!
Bob, there are no columns I enjoy reading more that yours, both for the content and the presentation.
I had some minor problems during the recent, blessedly short cybersiege, but nothing compared to the problems many others experienced. These people might be ever so cute and ever so traumatized for whatever reasons, but they do need to be ever so whupped.
Actions Have Consequences
I congratulate you for the candor expressed in the Parson article; if we are to experience the "quiet enjoyment" of cyberspace, consequences must timely follow upon misdeeds.
John P. Hancock, MBA Manager--Performance Contracting
Quality Mechanical Contractors
Send A Message
I would also recommend the maximum penalties that the law allows for. The people who perpetrate these crimes have no concept of the harm that they have caused countless companies and individuals. It seems pretty obvious from this one's remarks that he really sees this as no big deal. Unless and until the judicial system in this and other advanced societies deals with this problem harshly, it will continue to be no big deal for all of the other Jeffreys that are out there now and that will be out there in time yet to come!
Crime And Punishment
You couldn't be more right on the mark with your article about Jeffery Parson, et al. The sooner people like him are caught and punished, the sooner this problem will diminish.
If it can be proven that his maliciousness caused damage to 7,000 computers, why can't he be convicted on more than one count and serve the rest of his life in prison? Which user of which of the 7,000 computers is he going to be convicted of causing "pain and suffering" to? Why don't they all have a shot at him?
Why can't "Parson and other loathsome bastards" causing these problems to totally innocent people be punished appropriately?
Thank you for your article. Keep up the good work.
Bill Flato President/CEO
Outstanding column! Thank you.
Joe D. Griffin Jr. IT Client Relationship Manager
An Act Of Terrorism
Thank you for your frank honesty and plain *common sense* that is simply missing from many recent discussions of such topics. In a culture increasingly dependant on technology for many critical services, such virus attacks can have significant consequences. Pointing out the possible effects on the medical field adds a whole new perspective. Financial loss almost seems a trivial concern when the possible loss of life is added to the mix! It is time we define these attacks by what they really are--acts of terrorism that should be suitably punished.
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