The BBC has responded to criticism of the Click botnet experiment claiming it was educational and ‘was a first for broadcast journalism'.
Mark Perrow, executive producer of Click, acknowledged discussions about the experiment in a blog on the BBC website. He claimed that demonstrating what botnets can do was ‘the most powerful way to alert our audiences to the dangers that they face. It's a wake-up call to switch on that firewall and improve our security on the internet'.
He said: “A lot of the debate has been about whether we did the right thing digging into the murky world of hackers and organised cybercrime. In seeking to demonstrate the threat, had we put ourselves in the position of those we wanted to expose?
“We felt that there was the strongest public interest in not just describing what malware can do, but actually showing it in action. A real demonstration of the power of today's botnets - to infect, disrupt and damage our digital lives - is the most powerful way to alert our audiences to the dangers that they face.
“We think that what we did was a first for broadcast journalism. We were amazed by the ease of use of the botnet, and the power of its disruptive capacity.”
He further refuted claims that it was promoting botnet building and use, saying: “No one watching our programme could learn how to build a botnet or where to go to buy one. But what is very clear is the level of threat - especially to home users who don't have the benefit of corporate-level security.
“As the hackers continue their silent running, we thought it was our job to expose the mechanics of their hidden economy. Please watch the full show and see what you think.”