A report by Sophos, an antispam and antivirus company, is getting a lot of attention on the web today. According to the report, fully one third of spam is spread by computers infected with a Remote Access Trojan (RAT). With the spread of broadband, always-on internet connectivity, more and more machines are becoming infected, largely due to the fact that most people have no idea how to secure their boxen.
The report doesn’t really talk about solutions, but there is one that’s obvious: All PCs should ship in a locked-down state. Obviously that won’t help when Joe Sixpack downloads a file scarfing program that installs some evil software on his computer, but I’d be willing to bet that most of the current zombie machines were just never secured in the first place.
Yes, this will mean that Joe Sixpack will have to go through some headaches to open up his machine, but you know what? We’re way past the time when Joe Sixpack was the only victim of his box being owned.
This also ties in to the recent Dell announcement that they will no longer support spyware removal. According to Dell:Use of spyware removal software may conflict with user license agreements of other applications installed on your system. Please consult your user license agreements for further information. Dell does not endorse the use of spyware removal software and cannot provide support on these products.Which makes a lot of sense for Dell in that they avoid two problems in one fell swoop: 1) Any legal issues, as stated; and 2) The huge cost of phone support for helping people get rid of the evil little things.
A lot of this most is likely also due to the horrid lack of access controls in Windows. Most people run their machines as Administrator, just because it’s a massive headache to have to log out from a user account and then log in as Administrator just to install some software. I really, really hope Microsoft is going to roll in some fundamental changes in Windows XP SP2. These kinds of problems cannot wait for the release of Longhorn, whenever that will be.
Why pick on Microsoft when an ignorant user can wreak havoc on any operating system? Nobless oblige. When you have 95% of the market, your poor decisions hurt the most people even if, as in the case of spam, they happen to be innocent bystanders.
Posted Wednesday, 03 December, 2003 by Nic Lindh
Another book roundup, including some stellar athletes and soldiers, what might be the most jaded, soul-weary protagonist ever, and some grimdark fantasy.
The Internet is getting creepy, and Nic is breaking out his tinfoil hat after newspaper paywalls push him over the edge.
Nic is tired of tech sites obsessing over Apple’s financials and business strategy. So very tired.
Nic reads a book about the processed food industry and is incensed.
Computers are complicated. This brings out the irrational in people.
Nic proposes the loan word Rechthaberei be incorporated into American English.
The Core Dump is back! Books were read during the hiatus. Includes The Coldest Winter, Oh, Myyy!, Tough Sh*t, The Revolution Was Televised, The Rook, Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore, Gun Machine, Fortress Frontier, Standing in Another Man’s Grave, and The Memory of Light.
This site will return in February.
From a true patriot to a world-weary detective, a dead god, and a civilization about to sublime from the galaxy, this book roundup spans the gamut. Includes Where Men Win Glory, Wild, Inside the Box, The Black Box, Three Parts Dead, Red Country, and The Hydrogen Sonata.
Springsteen gives a concert in Phoenix. It’s fantastic.