Click Here To Defeat Evil

Microsoft routinely releases new security updates, many of which are given it's highest severity rating "critical". Here's a typical announcement:

"A security issue has been identified that could allow an attacker to compromise a computer running Internet Explorer and gain control over it."

I'm not making this up. Is this funny to anyone else? They do this every month and they are still the most popular web browser in the world! Don't get me wrong, the browser is good, as long as you don't mind "attackers" gaining control over it once in awhile. Who are these attackers? Is it a cyber-geek with coke bottle glasses and an evil glint in his magnified eye? Could I tell if I saw one on the street? Would he have a lot of pens in the top pocket of his gangsta leather jacket? Does he have pentagrams sewn into his polyester leisure suit? I know only one hacker, but he swears he's a "Light-Side" hacker. He hacks only for good.

And what if we received these kinds of letters from other manufacturers? "A security issue has been identified that could allow a pirate to board all pleasure boats running an outboard Mercury 150 and joy ride it to Mexico for Cinco de Mayo. Install this jack screw on your rudder immediately."

So let's review with an analogy because this is "critical". If you had a steel combination safe (your computer) in which you stored precious belongings, (your data) and you towed this safe around in a wagon through many of the world's most dangerous cities (surfing the internet), Microsoft announced that there are 8 easy ways, and 4 just "so so" ways for thieves to break in and take everything you've got. But let's stay positive, the good news is, you can patch it all right up with a click. What could be easier? Maybe that's why we forgive them so often. Wouldn't it be great to get an email from GM saying your vehicle will soon be stolen but click here and it will be alright.

It's nice that they announce the holes and the patches together, that way I'm not so worried the whole time before, while I browsed Internet Explorer around care free down the mean streets of the internet completely innocent. I could have been E-jacked by I-marauders, demanding that I hand over every E & I in my wallet.

The truth is, the good guys are winning the security battle online, why? Because they are rich and can hire the best light-side hackers money can buy. Even hackers known for evil all wind up working for large corporations. A headline of one going to jail for 18 months is a resume item on the lap of every CEO in the world with computers to protect. Now they're a cyber security expert, with all the dark secrets for sale! The speaking engagements start pouring in, "Come meet the man (or woman) who sent a KaGillion emails from a billion computers to Microsoft during lunch break. He did his time at Club Fed, and now works for the Department of Defense.

So cyber villains may come and critical updates may go, I just click and fix my way along the information highway and say a little prayer that the world's "attackers" never know I exist until they're on the payroll of the good guys somewhere.

Rick David writes a humor column called, "Don't Laugh It Could Happen To You" for http://sandiego.merchantamerica.com

In The News:

A game changer in IT security  MIT Technology Review

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