I can imagine it now: “Download USADefense 1.0,” patiotically displayed on a plethora of American Web sites, which would intrisnically turn a regular PC (even a junker), into a form of ammunition for the US Air Force to use on their Cyber-enemies. Well, that’s sort of what the government wants…
The USAF would like to possess the largest botnet on the Internet. The goal of having control of millions of PCs? Hand-to-hand geek combat on the Web in fashion that sounds like it was ripped from the scripts of The Matrix, War Games and Hackers — combined.
What makes a botnet so powerful? Botnets are composed of several thousand (to several million) hacked computers which contain software that remotely waits for commands that a nefarious script kiddie to run, pretty much anonymously. Today, botnets are usually used to push spam and junk on the Web, but the government sees this as a weapon of the future. (And they aren’t wrong.)
If the USAF was to follow through on this, a lot of questions would need to be addressed:
- Who controls the botnet?
- What disclosure will have to be made on attacks?
- Which machines will be used in the botnet?
- …Will it consist of civilian volunteers (which brings a whole other debate about liability and privacy…)?
It’s always been a dream of mine to work in a governement-operated Internet “Black-Ops” control room taking down child molestors, supporting national espionage and being leet with a .mil hostname. Well, if this ever did get moving, my dream may be one step closer.
That said, I still don’t entirely support a botnet sponsored by the government; I mean there are other ways to engage enemies on the Web. And no, Rickrolling is not one of them.