Does the Internet need its…

Does the Internet need its own police?

Disorder and corruption are winning on the Internet, and computer users need the U.S. government to crack down on the thieves preying on the Net, said <Bruce> Sterling, author of futuristic novels

Most of the advancements in Internet commerce since the dot-com bust have been illegal, Sterling noted, including spamming, identity theft, and “phishing,” which is theft of credit card numbers or other personal information by directing customers to bogus Web sites to change their account settings. “If you advance into mayhem, that’s not advancement, that’s driving into a ditch”

Sterling said. “Bagel and Mydoom are the future of virus-writing because they have a business model,” he said. “Those are organized crime activities…. These are crooks.”

Virus and worm writing will grow as a weapon for terrorists and warring nations, Sterling predicted. Terrorists operating in places with little central government control will begin to see cyberterrorism as an effective weapon because of a lack of international cooperation on cybersecurity enforcement, he said. He listed a dozen such countries, including Somalia, Bosnia, and the Philippines.

“This is the birth of a genuine, no-kidding, for-profit… multinational criminal underworld,” he said. “I don’t see any way it can’t happen. We’re going to end up getting pushed around by bands of international electronic thieves in a very similar way to the way we’ve been pushed around by gangs of international Mafia and international Mujahideen terrorists.”

Indeed, it’s getting nasty out there. New increasingly sophisticated scams appear every day. Some are very hard to detect.