The Blame Game: Can Internet Service Providers Escape Liability for Semantic Attacks?

By Vir, Monica | Rutgers Computer & Technology Law Journal, Spring 2003 | Go to article overview

The Blame Game: Can Internet Service Providers Escape Liability for Semantic Attacks?


Vir, Monica, Rutgers Computer & Technology Law Journal


I. INTRODUCTION

Recent news articles and publications by experts seem to predict that courts will not be lenient toward Internet service providers ("ISPs") (1) who fail to protect against semantic attacks. (2) A semantic attack targets the assigned meaning to content such as posting false information on message boards. (3)

The recent decision in Hart v. Internet Wire, Inc. addressed the liability of an Internet service provider against such a semantic attack. (4) In Hart, Mark Simeon Jakob ("Jakob") was employed by Internet Wire, a news wire service which distributes corporate news to the public. (5) Jakob bought short (6) positions on 3,000 shares of Emulex stock, expecting the price of the shares to drop. (7) Jakob faced a loss of almost $97,000 when the price of the stock started to climb. (8) Using his knowledge of the internal methods with which press releases are submitted to and published on Internet Wire, he then schemed to drive down the price by publishing a false press release. (9)

Jakob posed as an Emulex public relations executive and sent an e-mail to Internet Wire, requesting that the press release be published. (10) The Internet Wire staff treated the press release as authentic. (11) The press release described various problems at Emulex, including the restatement of earnings, the resignation of the company's CEO, and a SEC investigation into the company's practices. (12) Internet Wire published the press release the next morning. (13) Bloomberg, the worldwide news organization, picked up the story from Internet Wire and issued the statement. (14) Bloomberg did not investigate the veracity of the press release. (15) Within sixteen minutes of the Bloomberg headline, the Emulex share price dropped by sixty dollars. (16) NASDAQ halted trading and Emulex exposed the fraudulent release. (17) Bloomberg then reported that the press release had been false, and the stock price climbed back to the price at which it normally traded. (18)

During those sixteen minutes, Jakob was able to cover his position at a profit. (19) And despite a recovery of the stock price, the fraudulent press release caused an "estimated $2.2 billion lost market capitalization and $1.10 million in loss to investors in Emulex securities." (20) A class action suit for securities fraud was filed on behalf of those persons who had sold common stock or call options or who had purchased put options in Emulex after the market opened until trading halted. (21) The court determined that the plaintiffs had failed to adequately plead scienter and the case was dismissed with leave to replead. (22)

Another type of attack that can cause severe economic losses is what Margaret Jane Radin, Professor of Law at Stanford Law School, aptly names "netjacking." (23) A Distributed Denial of Service ("DDoS") is a severe form of netjacking. (24) Rather than break into a system to steal data, a hacker attempts to prevent users from accessing their own network for reasons known only to the hacker, such as "revenge, economical or political gain, or just plain nastiness." (25) A DDoS attack may be deliberate or accidental, but it is "considered to take place only when access to a computer or network is intentionally blocked as a result of some malicious action." (26)

The Computer Security Institute, based in San Francisco, released its 2001 Computer Crime and Security Survey in which 186 of 538 total respondents collectively reported approximately $378 million in financial losses in the past year due to computer security breaches. (27) Other statistics included a report of 85 percent of respondents experiencing breaches of their computer security systems, 70 percent pointing to their Internet connections as a frequent point of attack, and 31 percent stating that their internal systems were targeted for attack. (28) Denial of service attacks

resulted in a reported loss of millions of dollars to Yahoo!, Amazon. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Blame Game: Can Internet Service Providers Escape Liability for Semantic Attacks?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.