September 15, 2019

LaBrea Unavailable Due To Illinois SuperDMCA

Tom Liston, the author of the award-winning LaBrea security software, has announced that he will no longer make LaBrea available, because of concerns over the Super-DMCA, which has already become law in his native Illinois.

Network administrators can use LaBrea to set up a kind of virtual tarpit that entangles attempts by outsiders to scan their networks. (Network scanning is the online equivalent of walking down a hallway and trying to turn all of the doorknobs you find.) LaBrea uses a clever bit of indirection to trap scanners. Unfortunately, that indirection involves concealing the source and destination addresses of some network packets, so it raises Super-DMCA concerns.

I’m sure the supporters of the Super-DMCA in Illinois didn’t know that network scanning can be frustrated by a subtle method involving the concealment of packet addresses. They didn’t mean to ban LaBrea. But they may have done so accidentally. That’s what happens when you enact overbroad technology regulation.