P2P breach endangered President/First Family — The open Internet’s growing security problem — Part XIV

July 30, 2009

New evidence of very serious Internet security problems sheds new light on why Senate Chairman Rockefeller has taken such a forceful leadership role on cybersecurity and why President Obama made increasing cybersecurity a national security priority in his 5-29 cybersecurity address.

  • Computerworld reported testimony before a Congressional oversight panel that sensitive details about a Presidential safe house, Presidential motorcade routes, and every U.S. nuclear facility were leaked on the Internet via a LimeWire P2P application.
  • This serious Internet security problem with P2P applications was also the subject of a 2007 U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) report , which documented the severe security implications of P2P file-sharing programs that commonly have technological features that induce sharing of information that people did not want or expect to be shared.

The continued seriousness of P2P file-sharing breaches have prompted House Oversight Committee Chairman Edolphus Towns “to call for a ban on the use of peer-to-peer (P2P) software on all government and contractor computers and networks,” per Computerworld.

In this increasingly heightened cybersecurity context, it is ironic that the FCC’s first net neutrality decision concerning its Broadband Policy Statement was a highly controversial 3-2 decision that indicated that P2P application traffic may not be subject to focused network management and that P2P applications were like any other Internet application.

  • However, to the extent that P2P applications continue to be the primary source of many of the most severe Internet security problems — from national security sensitive data breaches, to mass IP content piracy, to mass privacy/identity theft vulnerabilities, to widespread denial-of-service attacks and outages, to frequent bot-net zombie takeovers, to the rapid spread of viruses, worms and malware — the FCC will increasingly have to heavily weigh Internet security factors in determining what constitutes the presumed boundaries of reasonable network management.
  • The view that any bit interference is presumed in advance to be an act of bad faith and a violation of net neutrality and the spirit of an open Internet — is becoming increasingly extreme, irresponsible, and dangerous in this environment.
  • That extreme view fosters a climate where bad actors believe they can act with impunity and no accountability and Internet users are expected to fend for themselves — and increasingly vulnerable and un-protected from harms that disproportionately happen via P2P applications.

See previous parts of this series on “The Open Internet’s Growing Security Problems” here: I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII, & XIII.

 

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