[LINK] Ponderings on the effects of computer viruses
Wed, 2 Oct 2002 08:50:06 +1000 (EST)
On Wed, 2 Oct 2002, Mark Hughes wrote:
> In fact, "you'll have lower costs if you don't use Windows" appears to be
> having more effect on driving change than "you'll have lower data loss if
> you don't use Windows".
Of course, in general data loss -> financial loss -> higher costs.
> And this leads me to wonder whether the threat of "viruses may spread your
> private information around the web" may have more effect on Users than
> "viruses may cause you to lose your data".
A worthwhile proposition, IMO.
The fact is that most of the *really scary* viruses (i.e. those that
automagically infect Windows systems), that we *know* about, have been fairly
benign. Whether due to a coding fault, or to a proof-of-concept intent,
they've really not done much damage to end-user systems.
The day that someone takes the source code for one of those benign
incarnations and makes it do something *very* nasty (e.g. install a
monitoring executable on the machine; or even simply format the HDD)
is the day that we will see 'end-users' start seriously considering
alternatives to bugware.
We scan for viruses on inbound/outbound emails - something
larger ISP's can't/won't do. About 10% of the 'outbound' notifications we
get (this means that one of our customers has a virus/worm - and in general,
these are few and far between these days) results in suspension of
service for a client (because even after we *ring* them ; tell them what's
on their machine ; and the steps to follow to remove it - some still don't
I can *definitely* say that if the results of a virus were, in general,
more 'in your face' there would be much less apathy. Most times, we contact
a client about a virus on their system, rather than the other way around.
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