Sunday, February 28, 2010

Where there is a will...

I'm reading lately about botnets and zombie pc's....
For the uninitiated, u can read more about them here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Botnet
What I want to discuss is one queer statistic - they're most widespread in the Middle East ( I read in the paper a few days back... but can't find a similar site now.)

What's the connection?

Now, I'd like readers to think beyond the obvious. This has nothing to do with fundamentalism... directly, that is. But I have a theory that may explain it, if you bear with me..
  1. Mid-East is specially prone to this stuff - viruses, hackers, botnets... How? The same net-surfers that are there in India, West, etc are there as well. So how does that place have so many botnets?
  2. For this, we have to look at what makes a computer a zombie pc. It happens when a user like you or me, inadvertently activates a program made to surrender all or some of the comp's controls (or at least just send a log of the inputs like keystrokes) to a remote user.
  3. Where do we actually stumble across these programs? In obscure, underground, difficult named sites.
  4. Now, why would a simple net user go to these sites? Yep! U guessed it - they're sex-related sites! And it's a known statistic - the most visits happen from Middle Eastern countries. Why?
  5. It's because the govt's there block off access to the mainstream (and hacker-free) sex-related websites; so the users (you can count ALL the male users and most females too, please let's not imagine everybody's a holy cow!) have to go to the alternative - non-mainstream sites to fill their quota. So, more clicks to danger zones - more chances of the comp falling to hackers. The statistics say it all.

And so an interesting analogy with reality comes to light, one that I have seen for myself : When you block the sexes from mingling and PDA - they'll do it anyways, in hiding, in unsafe places and even riskier circumstances - and that is much more dangerous and harmful. I guess it comes true for virtual world too - in an unexpected way!

So what's this about? Are we right in banning the public, hacker-free "inconveniently hot" websites in the Middle East, and curtailing public show of affection (in India too) ? We cannot stop the human mind from going where our very genome takes us. With such bans on open, legitimate and safe means; people will turn to unsafe media. And then we'll end up hurting the very people we wanted to protect. There is a saying :
Where there is a will, there is a way
The reason why these quotes are universal, is because they are. When you ban a certain medium or thing, another way will be sought. And in these two cases, the alternatives do more damage than the previous one could have.

If you truly want to stop something -whether pornography or public indecency or even terror, a ban or similar method is a silly knee-jerk reaction. We must use our minds, find better alternatives, engage the mindsets of the people we want to protect. Tackle the will, or those you wished to stop will certainly find another way.

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