Friday, January 26, 2007

Worries at the world's talking shop

The World Economic Forum (WEF) aims to solve the world's problems. The Geneva-based foundation's annual meeting usually held in mountaneous retreat of Davos brings together top business leaders, national political leaders (presidents, prime ministers and others), and selected intellectuals and journalists.

It gives a platform to artists, academics, religious leaders, campaigners and activists to further their cause by networking with friends and competing rivals. It provides an opportunity to come close to the rich and powerful through the many workshops and meetings.

In recent years this heavily fortified event has been marred by the anti-globalisation movement protesting against the widening income gap and the dire state of poverty. This year leading technology experts sitting comfortably inside the barricaded walls have sounded another alarm.

Experts are warning that criminals controlling millions of personal computers are threatening the internet's future. Up to a quarter of computers on the net may be used by cyber criminals in so-called botnets.

Botnets are made up of large numbers of computers that malicious hackers have brought under their control after infecting them with so-called Trojan virus programs.

While most owners are oblivious to the infection, the networks of tens of thousands of computers are used to launch spam e-mail campaigns, denial-of-service attacks or online fraud schemes.

Michael Dell, founder of Dell computers looking into the solutions for the survival of the web said the future might bring "disposable virtual PCs", accessed through the internet, that would minimise the threat of a persistent virus infection.

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