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Getting Active on Defense

Artists Against 419 held a "Chinese New Year FlashMob" campaign last month, urging supporters to engage in a concerted DoS attack against Web sites responsible for 419 scams purporting to help people recover abandoned bank accounts in exchange for money up front. This follows on the heels of the U.S. Department of Defense's CyberCrimes Conference in January, at which the DoD described plans to identify attackers and thwart them proactively using legal and technological means. Meanwhile, wireless networking system vendors have added "honey pot" and slow-link features to keep intruders active on a link long enough to be found and apprehended.

Security professionals should examine these efforts to stop cybercrime at its source. Active approaches make it more important than ever to be right about an attack, but the days of attackers working in safety may be rapidly coming to an end.