Monday, November 07, 2005

Infected PC's - who's problem are they?

The Australian govt communications watchdog (ACMA) has started looking for people who have infected computers. This seems to be following on from a successful 'cease and desist' order from Big Pond which evicted 6 customers from its network in April 2005.
This seems a strange reaction from a company to their customers. My position on this is a little more extreme than most - so long as a virus is not affecting me, i don't give a "£$" what it does (disclaimer: i own a mac for home for just this reason, if my work pc goes wonky, i just throw it at the paid professional to get fixed).
In the beginning, when viruses were bad-geek hobbies, you could find your hard drive getting deleted by accident, now however, viruses are written for a reason by extremely competent programmers (i hear russia and eastern europe are a good source these days) who don't want you to clean your hard-drive - YOU'RE NOT THE TARGET! why would they destroy a nice warm host? (aahhh, the biology metaphors are just eerily accurate).
If something that does me no harm, and through no effort on my behalf, is being used to 'do bad things', why is the onus on me to keep on top of it? It's like sueing me because i leave my car unlocked and it keeps getting stolen for use as a getaway car by crims - yes, locking my car might help solve the problem, but i suggest that having better security at your bank might do more good than harrassing me.
In case my rambling has obscured the point, here it is again - viruses and worms are an industry problem. They are exploits of holes in bad software and persist through lax controls. The people best able to deal with PC zombie's are computer programmers, and the best people to fund the effort are those who make a lot of money providing internet services, not little old ladies who use the web for email and surf for recipes.
The analogy is credit card fraud. No-one loses their credit card because someone was able to steal their wallet and make fraudulent purchases (although your credit rating can get tanked...). Yet another copout by the computer industry. Why oh why do they constantly view their customers as the enemy?


Blogger Ivan3142 said...

Hi Joe,
Cool site.
I would hazard a guess that the minute a large (defn: able to sustain legal costs) entity sues M$ (for example) on the basis of poor quality of their product, there will be a commensurate effort to shore up its weaknesses. Until that time, the costs of protection will devolve to the user.



9:45 PM  

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