[LINK] Consumer computer security

Rick Welykochy rick at praxis.com.au
Sun Jan 14 12:53:26 AEDT 2007

Kim Holburn wrote:

>> Attack of the Zombie Computers Is Growing Threat
>> Sensor information collected by his company is now able to identify  
>> more than 250,000 new botnet infections daily, Mr. Wesson said.
>> “We are losing this war badly,” he said. “Even the vendors  understand 
>> that we are losing the war.”

The blame for this should lie squarely on Microsoft's shoulders.
But I preach to the converted :)
(And we did chew through the topic of software liability on
this very list last year)

>> Serry Winkler, a sales representative in Denver, said that she had  
>> turned off the network-security software provided by her Internet  
>> service provider because it slowed performance to a crawl on her  PC, 
>> which was running Windows 98. A few months ago four sheriff’s  
>> deputies pounded on her apartment door to confiscate the PC, which  
>> they said was being used to order goods from Sears with a stolen  
>> credit card. The computer, it turned out, had been commandeered by  an 
>> intruder who was using it remotely.
>> “I’m a middle-aged single woman living here for six years,” she  said. 
>> “Do I sound like a terrorist?”
>> She is now planning to buy a more up-to-date PC, she said.

Interesting case in point. What on earth is this woman doing with a
Win98 box on the Internet? There ought to be a law!

One thing still amazes me. After all the data loss, application corruption,
lost time and money, reboots and crashes, people go out looking for
"a better PC". It doesn't exist, folks! Stop beating yourselves, wise
up and get something reliable and secure.

> On 2007/Jan/13, at 8:50 PM, Alan L Tyree wrote:
>> Hi Linkers,
>> I'm looking for some help here. I'm writing a submission to ASIC on  the
>> review of the EFT Code of Conduct. One of the things that Industry has
>> been pushing for is to make consumers liable for losses caused by
>> computers infected with malware.

Oh, I wish! In other spheres of the economy and society,  people are
actually responsible for damage they cause by negligent use of
equipment, etc. But then again, in other spheres, manufactures and
service providers are responsible as well.

It is illegal to connect unapproved devices to the telecommunications
system in this country. It is illegal to operate carriage service without
proper licencing. Amazing then that it is just fine to connect a device
to the Internet that can be used to send spam, launder money, distribute
child pron and be used to attack other connected devices and the entire
network. Amazing!

>> The argument I wish to make is that consumers are hopelessly ill
>> equipped to secure their (Windows) computers. Can someone point me to
>> real research/statistics about the way that people *actually* run  their
>> computers?

Securing a computer system is a job for well-trained and experienced
IT people. It is not now and never will be a job for the consumer, no
more than fixing a car or repairing the electricals will be. The job
of a software manufacturer is to provide reliable and secure product.
Until that responsibility is legally enforced the problem will just
get worse.

I wish I could point you at some research done in this area, Alan,
but I haven't run across anything yet.


Rick Welykochy || Praxis Services

Almost every man wastes part of his life attempting to display qualities
which he does not possess.
      -- Samuel Johnson

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