Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Geek Who (Nearly) Destroyed the Earth

This story from Wired about Dan Kaminsky, a computer consultant who found an astonishing, fundamental security flaw in the internet's underlying architecture, is interesting for two reasons.

The first is the way that a relatively low-level backroom geek could find a decades-old crack in the system's foundations that had the potential to wipe out not just individual websites or companies, but to destroy the whole structure of the internet and just about everything connected to it.

The second is the unspoken subtext that Kaminsky is starting to regret behaving like such a good boy scout after discovering the problem, and now secretly wishes he had been bad-assed enough to become some sort of international supervillain instead of heading straight to the authorities. You can bet he's now hard at work trying to find a second needle in the haystack.

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