Computer Crime Research Center


Metcalfe's law against hackers

Date: May 15, 2005
By: Tom Sanders

Providers of identity technologies need to work together more efficiently to beat the onslaught of phishing attacks and identity theft, according to security firm Verisign.

Nico Popp, chief technology officer and vice president for authentication services at Verisign, told delegates at the Digital Identity World conference in San Francisco that "networks are the answer".

When banks and websites start sharing information about online attacks, a "network effect" is created which could prevent victims falling prey to the same attack.

This network effect, better knows as Metcalfe's Law, states that the value or power of a network increases in proportion to the square of the number of nodes on the network. A single fax machine is worthless, for example, but with every additional machine the network gains more value.

"[In a network] every protected site creates a better protection for all," said Popp.

In addition to banks working together to thwart phishing attacks and identity theft, consumers should expect anti-phishing agents that come either with the browser or through their ISP.

Websites will also have to start offering feedback to the user to establish that they are visiting a legitimate banking website and not a phishing site.

There is a clear economic incentive to deal more effectively with online authentication, according to Popp. If consumers lose trust in online services, they will use other ways to contact institutions like their bank. It is currently 99.95 per cent less expensive for a bank to perform a transaction online than at a high street branch.

Lastly there is the threat of government regulation if the industry fails to solve the authentication issue. Regulation generally makes it more expensive for organisations to operate.

"Maybe it would be a good move for the industry to start regulating itself before getting regulated," concluded Popp.

Add comment  Email to a Friend

Discussion is closed - view comments archieve
2005-05-16 13:02:52 - I think this laws is just shit!!!! They... Th3_D3f4C3r
Total 1 comments
Copyright © 2001-2013 Computer Crime Research Center
CCRC logo