Emerging Threats to Internet Security: Incentives, Externalities and Policy Implications

12 Pages Posted: 24 Nov 2009

See all articles by Michel van Eeten

Michel van Eeten

Delft University of Technology

Johannes M. Bauer

Michigan State University-Department of Media and Information

Abstract

Somewhere around 10% of all machines connected to the Internet are thought to be infected with malicious software. This has allowed the emergence of so-called ‘botnets’– networks of sometimes millions of infected machines that are remotely controlled by malicious actors. Botnets are mostly used for criminal purposes, but they also enable large-scale failures that might even reach disastrous proportions. We explain the rise of botnets as the outcome of the incentive structures of market players and present new empirical evidence on these incentives. The resulting externalities require some form of voluntary or government-led collective action. Our findings have implications for the controversial debate on the appropriate policy measures, where two perspectives on cybersecurity fight for dominance: national security and law enforcement.

Suggested Citation

van Eeten, Michel and Bauer, Johannes M., Emerging Threats to Internet Security: Incentives, Externalities and Policy Implications. Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management, Vol. 17, Issue 4, pp. 221-232, December 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1508844 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-5973.2009.00592.x

Michel Van Eeten

Delft University of Technology ( email )

PO Box 5015
Delft, 2600GA
Netherlands

Johannes M. Bauer

Michigan State University-Department of Media and Information ( email )

409 Communication Arts Building
East Lansing, MI 48824-1212
United States
517-355-8372 (Phone)
517-355-1292 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.msu.edu/~bauerj

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