[OT] Conflicker worm

Richmond Mathewson geradamas at yahoo.com
Wed Apr 1 04:24:07 EDT 2009

Maybe I'm a smug b*gger, but I have been reading all sorts of
stuff about the potential danger posed by the "Conflicker" worm/virus.

There are all sorts of 'helpful' articles about how to avoid the
effect of this virus.

These sorts of panics come round in a cyclical sort of way (cue some
academic to run up a nifty PhD thesis on modern mythologising) and
they always follow the same pattern.

1. What, to my mind, is extremely odd about all these articles is they
   never once mention the way to guarantee 100% that you will not
   be affected by the virus:

   Use an operating system that isn't made by Microsoft.

2. What I also don't understand is how Microsoft can merrily go on
   producing variants on an operating system which is vulnerable to
   this sort of attack.

   Microsoft have put up $250,000 to catch the author of Conflicker:
   wouldn't that money be far better spent making sure that the next
   version of Windows didn't leak like a farmer's riddle?

3. People are still prepared to go on buying an operating system
   which is vulnerable to this sort of attack.

4. W. C. Fields.

As open source software become more mature, and some commercial
firms are releasing their software under a type of Free license,
surely Microsoft's complacency (ah, got it, that's the word; 
'complacency') becomes increasingly unsupportable.

The other word that comes to mind is 'complicit'. Maybe I have
a dirty mind, but sometimes I can't help thinking about something
that happened about 4 years ago:

Canonical sent me a box of Ubuntu and Kubuntu CDs; so, naive as a
Spring chicken, I wandered round the town (Plovdiv, Bulgaria)
offering these CDs in the many shops that sold second-hand PCs.

No takers! Why?

At every single shop the response was the same: We know that Linux
is in very many respects superior to Windows; but if we installed it
on the computers we sold we would lose most of our custom; not because
people want Windows, as we could explain and demonstrate to them the
superiority of Linux, but because a customer with Windows installed
will return to us with software problems on average once every 6 weeks 
and pay us to sort it out.

W. C. Fields; again.

sincerely, Richmond Mathewson.

A Thorn in the flesh is better than a failed Systems Development Life Cycle.


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