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July 13, 2010 / gus3

Willing Victims of Proprietary Software

When people arrange their computing needs so as to be bound to such an insecure system as Microsoft Windows, despite being warned from every direction about the dangers of doing so, then I have no sympathy for them when their systems get pwnz0r3d. For example:

Person A works for company B. Company B mandates use of Windows for access from outside corp network. Typical.

Scenario 1: Person A picks up malware unknowingly, and transmits it to company B’s servers. Two days later, every single desktop on the corp network powers off suddenly and without warning at 2:05pm. Tough noogies. (Before you ask, yes, I saw something very similar happen. Twice. In two different workplaces.)

Scenario 2: I am person A. I tell company B that any Windows-only policy of theirs concerning my personal equipment, including my home network, is null and void. If the company wants me to work from home, using only Windows, the company can provide and maintain the equipment and connection at their expense.

I have no problem with working from home, nor do I have a problem with using a VPN to do it.

But I do have a problem with mandating Windows onto my home network. If they want me to work from home, they will either (1) set up their outside access to allow non-Windows systems to connect, so that my firewall can afford some protection, or (2) provide the Windows computer and the connectivity, so that Windows stays off my home net.

In the meantime, the company and the employee will argue about who was infected first, the company will fix the tablet/netbook/whatever, but the employee will be stuck with the cost of fixing his home system(s). And Microsoft laughs all the way to the bank. The warnings are out there, all over the place, and Microsoft still can’t put together a secure system. People will lock their cars, lock their doors at night or when they leave home, but they’ll use Windows, plug in stray thumb drives, and browse with Internet Excoriator. Maybe they’re betting that fat criminals who hardly ever go outside will be easier for the cops to catch?

No sympathy from this direction.

(Updated and bumped.)

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