Jonathan Zittrain Discusses Cybersabotage

Jonathan Zittrain: Governments can protect themselves just fine, as can big corporations. You can bunker-ize your operations to an arbitrary degree, so that you're using best practices. If there's a denial of service attack against you, you can deploy the resources to absorb it or to deflect it. If you think about it, Google suffers continuous distributed denial of service attacks, because they're so damned popular. How many Google searches are happening this second? I don’t care how many zombies you're going to send to attack Google. It's like, there's so many people already zombified, going to Google, because they're desperate for a search, that it's just a drop in the ocean. The real problem is if smaller to medium sized businesses find themselves clogged, or personal connections are clogged, and then you can't get to the government sites that are so well defended. But you can't reach them, because of the traffic that you're competing against on your end of things. For that, I do think we need to start taking zombie and malware problems pretty seriously. I sometimes ask very good hackers, who don't agree that there's a big problem. I say, "Look, if you were in a 24-like situation, where the bad guy has a gun to your head and you're not as brave as Kiefer Sutherland, and he says, 'You have a week to bring down a quarter of the machines on the net,' could you do it?" Generally, their answer is yes. Felton's answer was, "Can I have two weeks?" He's a computer scientist at Princeton. I think their thought, though, is that if they had to, they could wreak great havoc. And why hasn't it happened yet? In part, because the people capable of doing it have business models that depend not on havoc getting wreaked, but on leeching: taking a little of your bandwidth, a little of your processing cycles, and sending some spam with your machine, but not having you notice. Being more of a chronic illness than something that's going to kill you outright. Somebody wanted to do cyber warfare and kill it outright? They wouldn't have those limits.


Recorded on: 3/8/08

Jonathan Zittrain on cybersabotage.

Venetian council room floods after councilors reject climate proposals

In a metaphor too apt to be made up, the council has been forced to relocate until the flood waters recede.

(Photo: Andrea Zanoni/Facebook)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • The City of Venice is currently enduring the worst flooding to strike it in 50 years.
  • The mayor has declared it to be a result of climate change.
  • During a debate over next years budget, and right after rejecting environmental proposals, the main chamber of the regional council flooded.
Keep reading Show less

Space hotel with artificial gravity will be in orbit by 2025

The Von Braun Space Station, based on the concepts of a controversial scientist, is moving ahead with construction plans.

Credit: on Braun Space Station.
Technology & Innovation
  • The Gateway Foundation is building a space hotel, based on the concepts of a Nazi and American rocket scientist Wernher von Braun.
  • The space station is expected to be operational by 2025.
  • The company plans to assemble it in orbit, using robots and drones.
Keep reading Show less

The world now has an Ebola vaccine, in historic EU approval

The vaccine is 97.5% effective in protecting against the Zaire species of Ebola, according to the World Health Organization.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Surprising Science
  • The European Medicines Agency granted special approval for an Ebola vaccine called Ervebo.
  • Ervebo has proven remarkably effective in clinical trials conducted in Africa.
  • An Ebola outbreak has killed more than 2,000 people in the Democratic Republic of Congo since August 2018.
Keep reading Show less