External costs

Students and university staff are not the only ones affected by the campus security violations. Such violations have far reaching consequences in other communities as well.

One such study suggests that the W32.Blaster worm may have contributed to the cascading effect of the black out on Aug. 14, 2003 .On the day of the blackout, Blaster degraded the performance of several communications lines linking key data centers used by utility companies to manage the power grid. The inability of critical control data to be exchanged quickly across the grid could have hampered the operators' ability to prevent the cascading effect of the blackout. The Blaster worm also hampered the ability of utilities in the New York region to restore power in a more timely manner because some of those companies were running Windows-based control systems with Port 135 open - the port through which the worm attacked systems. Because of the global nature of the Internet, the computers at such utility companies could have been infected by worms and viruses from any infected host connnected to the network. A campus-wide virus epidemic adds a sizeable number of infected hosts into the global figure of infected machines. This increases the overall probability of the computers at the utility companies getting infected at any one time.

Break-ins to computer systems on campus often result in the stealing of personal data located on the victim's harddrive. This information includes one's list of email addresses, software product keys and even credit card numbers. An attacker tries to obtain email addresses from the computers they break into for the purpose of spamming, increasing the amount of redundant global email traffic. Product keys can be sold or used for operating illegally copied software. This worsens the growing software piracy market and affects the revenue of software manufacturers. Finally, credit card numbers are used in credit card scams often by organized crime syndicates.

Lastly, attackers routinely try to break into campus computers because of the high bandwidth campus network such computers have access to. Access to a high bandwidth network is highly desirable to an attacker who intends to carry out some form of DOS(Denial of Service) attack on some major site on the network(like Yahoo! for instance). DOS involves hijacking vunerable machines on the network and using such machines to send massive amounts of redundant network packets to a victim machine. This normally results in a system overload on the victim side, making it shutdown or have really poor performance.