There's no agreement on who ultimately should be--can be--held liable when
networked systems go down and damage is done. Should the government step in
and regulate? Is it up to individual computer users and companies to stay on
top of technology and take necessary security precautions? Should we blame the
software industry for selling insecure products? Here are some opinions on
this thorny issue, taken from FRONTLINE's interviews with Robert Giovagnoni,
Exec V.P. of iDEFENSE; Richard Power, Editorial Dir. of Computer Security
Institute; Burce Schweier, author of Digital Security in a Networked
World; Martha Stansell-Gamm, chief of the U.S. Justice Dept.'s Computer
Crime section; and Robert Steele, CEO of Open Source Solutions.
Many hackers and security experts blame most of the Internet's insecurities
on software manufacturers like Microsoft who they say place profits ahead of
security and rush flawed products to market before they've been sufficiently
Here are some experts weighing in on the software makers' obligations, the
corrective steps being currently implemented, and the challenges of balancing
computer convenience vs. security: Howard Schmidt of Microsoft; Richard Power
of Computer Security Institute; James Christy, computer crime investigator for
the U.S. Dept. of Defense; Bruce Schneier, author of Digital Security
in a Networked World; and hackers Reid and Count Zero.
In this essay, information management expert Paul Strassmann argues that the
"monoculture" of Microsoft's systems software, and the company's recently
announced .Net initiative poses a threat to national security and to the
reliability of a computer based society.
In this Microsoft response to the above essay, the authors say Strassmann's critique is based on
a fundamentally flawed assumption as well as erroneous analyses of computer security issues.
Here's an overview of state and federal laws pertaining to computer crime.