Fight pirates with malware - report

BRENDAN KELLY
Last updated 14:20 28/05/2013

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A new report released by the Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property suggests the use of malware to fight piracy.

The Commission, which consists of a panel of politicians, military and defence officials, and technology experts, suggests among other things that companies should be able to implement computer-crippling procedures if need be.

"Software can be written that will allow only authorised users to open files containing valuable information," reads the report. "If an unauthorised person accesses the information, a range of actions might then occur. For example, the file could be rendered inaccessible and the unauthorised user's computer could be locked down, with instructions on how to contact law enforcement to get the password needed to unlock the account."

This is the exact same tactic used by hackers attempting to extort money from users, holding the computer ransom until cash is given up to regain control.

Criticism has been quick to follow the report, especially seeing as if a third-party were to gain control of pre-installed malware there would be no need to try other methods of illegal activity.

"There is no good malware at all," said Christian Mairoll, CEO of online security firm Emsisoft. "Piracy is indeed a problem that has to be solved. But legalised and widely spread malware would lead to even more problems with unforeseeable consequences."

The commission acknowledged any new methods of cyber defence would require changes to US laws, but said new steps are required to battle piracy.

-PC World

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