In Response to: Fighting Cyberwarfare

The article on the Princeton-Fung Global Forum (On the Campus, April 12) quotes Microsoft President Brad Smith ’81 as saying that a “digital Geneva Convention” would cause governments “to step back and pledge that they will not hack the accounts of journalists or other private citizens who are involved in the infrastructure of our democracy.”

While it may be that Mr. Smith is just naive, it is more likely that he has little knowledge of the “black internet” fraught with villains who could not give a hoot about any “Geneva Convention.” There are too many incentives for “bad guys” to engage in malicious intrusions — that is, hacking — of what is essentially a wide-open internet. There currently is virtually no defense against “zero-day” (previously unknown) exploits, despite industry and governments spending hundreds of millions of dollars on perimeter firewalls. The list of organizations that have experienced successful attacks on their servers, losing literally billions of dollars and confidential information, is legion: AT&T, Yahoo, Target, Apple, the Pentagon, etc.

Is there a solution? Stay tuned!

John R. Martinson Sr. ’57
Houston, Texas