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Is chasing cybercrooks worth it?

(CNN) -- This week's arrests of three men in connection with one of the world's largest computer-virus networks may seem like great news -- perhaps even a sign authorities are starting to win the war against cyberthieves.

But the real situation is more complicated. Internet crime is up, but arrests of "mastermind" hackers are rare. And the whole get-the-bad-guys effort, while it makes for good drama, is a futile way to secure the Internet, some computer security experts say.

"The virus writers and the Trojan [horse] writers, they're still out there," said Tom Karygiannis, a computer scientist and senior researcher at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. "So I don't think they've deterred anyone by prosecuting these people."

A Trojan horse is a seemingly innocuous piece of software that, once installed, gives malicious users access to a computer system.

It would be smarter, Karygiannis said, to develop new anti-virus technologies and to teach people how to protect themselves from Internet crime. More...

03-05-2010 10:58