Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Worms Anyone?

It appears that over the weekend another internet virus the Zotob worm and several variations of it such as Rbot.cbq, SDBot.bzh and Zotob.d, infected computers at several large news companies such as The New York Times, CNN and The Associated Press.

It appears that this worm is attacking computers with older operating systems such as windows 2000. Microsoft has posted security patches to help fix the problem and they are currently monitoring the situation. According to Ms Wilson, the director of Microsoft Security Response Center, they have seen large variations of this worm since it was launched. As several hackers will take the work and alter it in hopes of creating more damage to the networks they infect.

Interestingly the more recent windows platforms, such as Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP systems that have the newer security updates are less vulnerable to these attacks. Wait a minute did I just say that Microsoft newer systems are less vulnerable, are they getting it right….humm…

What I find interesting about this is that Microsoft was already aware of the issues and had posted the patches for this type of problem well before the worm was ever released. Yet despite these warnings people haven’t taken the time to secure their systems, and when they get infected they will blame Microsoft for not protecting them. Which leads me to an old saying my grandfather used to say, “You can lead a thirsty horse to water but you cannot make him drink”? Why don’t these folks keep their computer systems safe? I don’t know but, what I do know is that you cannot blame Microsoft for this.

I know that many folks in our class like to dislike Microsoft, as a company they are too slow or not innovative enough or one who stymies competition. Take the apple folks who always say their computers are better and that they don’t crash, and don’t have the same security problems that Windows systems have. That may be true to some extent, I don’t know as I am not a computer expert. But what I don’t see are articles discussing/identifying these teenage hackers ganging up on the non Windows systems. I don’t see the legions of hackers taking a worm and within hours of its release creating a dozen different variations of it so that they take down Apple boxes or Linux servers etc... Dare I ask how secure these systems would be if they had this type of following going after their systems & boxes. Or shall I be as bold to ask would the makers of these systems or web browsers such as firefox who hale themselves as so much better then Microsoft, have the fixes/patches to these problems posted to their web site well over a week before the worms are released. I could be wrong but I doubt it.

The fact is since Microsoft has such a large share of the market hackers will always attack them as long as they are on top. But I ask folks where would we be today if we didn’t have Microsoft. My guess… Everyone would have apple computers and these apple computers would all be full of worms. Everyone would be complaining about the problems the apple systems have. And yes their would be a small band of folks saying try this windows product it works well and guess what we don’t have worms.

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