Models for the Stateless Society

January 4, 2008

A few weeks ago, Brad Spangler did a post on how the Russian Business Network (RBN), a nefarious malware, spamming and phishing cybercrime organization, can be used as a model for private, consensual counter-economic activity that can undermine the state. Indeed, there have been studies that demonstrate that this grey market organization’s business practices, evolving clearly without state interference, hare highly effective, efficient and, ironically, “client centric.”

Of course, RBN is a criminal organization, so using it as a model makes many people uncomfortable. But in examining the RBN model, we can see in the response to RBN, and to malware in general, a model of a truly anarchistic “law enforcment” and protection agency – the IT security research community.

The Security Research community is generally made up of independent individuals and small groups that like to hack. They like to find ways to break software, to find ways to break in and exploit it. Many do it for the challenge, some for the profit. Indeed a market has arisen in vulnerability information just as the one for malware has arisen. It is used by individuals and major IT security companies alike.

Even with this kind of market, most researchers also share information such as malware binaries and source, intelligence, IRC botnet channel lists, malware hash rainbow lists and more.

The community is decentralized and redundant. If I don’t get good information or service from SANS, I can go to Offensive Computing. There is no central control. The idea of this kind of private enforcement and research can easily be applied to ‘meatspace’, physical security, for protecting not just IT assets, but homes, cars and lives.


4 Responses to “Models for the Stateless Society”

  1. Nice to see you’re finally back to blogging, theConverted!

  2. theconverted Says:

    Thanks Joel. I run another blog and I’ve been working like mad (and yes, excaped Leviathan’s clutches), so its been busy. I;ll be making a point to post more often.

  3. Did you catch this story? The US Govt is up to something much more sinister in scope than anything Russia is presently capable of doing:

    The Bush administration is launching a new government agency that will rely heavily on private security contractors to conduct surveillance in the US.

    A new intelligence institution to be inaugurated soon by the Bush administration will allow government spying agencies to conduct broad surveillance and reconnaissance inside the United States for the first time. Under a proposal being reviewed by Congress, a National Applications Office (NAO) will be established to coordinate how the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and domestic law enforcement and rescue agencies use imagery and communications intelligence picked up by U.S. spy satellites. If the plan goes forward, the NAO will create the legal mechanism for an unprecedented degree of domestic intelligence gathering that would make the United States one of the world’s most closely monitored nations. Until now, domestic use of electronic intelligence from spy satellites was limited to scientific agencies with no responsibility for national security or law enforcement.

  4. theconverted Says:


    Yes, I caught that. Now what is that word for corporatist state power that likes to monitor and control its own citizens?

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