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Liability for running an unpatched PC?

By September 30, 2003web-tech

Dennis Kennedy points to Fred Langa’s column in Information Week entitled “Enough Already: Microsoft Must Change” which does a great job of explaining the recurring Microsoft security problems. He ends with this observation:

“I think running an unpatched, unprotected PC is a form of negligence analogous to driving a car with bad brakes or broken headlights: You’re going to get yourself into trouble, and also make things worse for everyone around you. Just as drivers who share the road must also share responsibility for safety, we all now share the same global network, and thus must regard computer security as a necessary social responsibility. To me, anyone unwilling to take simple security precautions is a major, active part of the problem.”

I agree that it would be good to impose this liability on someone. I favor Microsoft, since it is in the best position to make the greatest change. But that won’t happen. And I know that we’d never tolerate making the individual user liable. Frankly, neither would Microsoft, because at that point the users would flock to other operating systems.

In fact, I’m here to tell anyone that has had problems with their PCs recently that Apple OS X is a great place to be. I switched my primary laptop to OS X about 4 months ago. I haven’t had one pop-up ad. No viruses, and no spyware. My computer rarely needs to be rebooted and has crashed only 3 times. And, just like they say in the Apple commercials, ‘things just work.’ I’ll always have PCs in my life and I’m glad I’ve learned how to care for them properly. But I’m also glad that I have a computer with low maintenance needs. I plan on buying more like it, and less of the PC flavor. As the Godfather said, “nothing personal, just business.”

Oh, and this just in. Looks like more MS vulnerabilities loom on the horizon. Hi-ho, Hi-ho, it’s off to patch I go…


P.S. If you appreciate these kinds of observations, you might want to read this as well.

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