Sunday, February 19, 2006

Is There An Ointment For That?

I love my computer. No really. After years of suffering through the Blue Screen Of Death and watching my connection speed and system resources slow down like a 69 Hemi Cuda on 83 octane unleaded I switched to a Macintosh. I didn't switch for the safety from virii or that smug sense of superiority that comes from using a computer that no one else is. What drove me away from Microsoft was the overall unstableness that comes from an operating system that's designed to work with any number of hardware bus, processor and bios combinations. Throw in a registry that is unmanageable and a heavy reliance on those DLL's that are too easy to overwrite and you have a computer that, like the Chevy Vega is rusty right out of the showroom. So for protected memory, an OS that is written exactly for the machines it ships with and software that doesn't share Dynamic Lookup Libraries I shelled out three times what a similar Dell would have cost.

A lot of people, sick to death of the neverending spyware and virus battles switch to the Mac specifically to avoid that problem. For me that's just a bonus like not just having all wheel drive but being able to lock the differential so that the other three tires keep spinning when one wheel loses grip with the ground. So what does some scumbag do when he (it's always a male) notices a few sheep making a break from the herd? Some cyberthugs have written a program to mess with Apples reputation for near invulnerability. The virus protection racket (Norton) and the Microsoft sheeple are loving this. They're shouting loudly to anyone who'll listen "See Macintosh was only virus free because no one was writing virii for an OS that only a few people used." The problem with that is Oompa Loompa and it's cousin Leap are not virus programs. They're trojan horse programs. They're harmless unless they trick people into not just downloading them but running them and then getting the user to enter the master password for the operating system to allow the installer to make changes to the system. The Leap virus file comes in as an archive called "latestpics.gz". Any computer user (Mac or PC) should and probably would be suspicious of pictures that need the admin password to be viewed. If it gets that far it attempts to send itself to everyone on your iChat buddy list and infects the last three executables that were opened. At that point it dies out since it renders the last three programs inoperable. Oompa Loompa is similar but doesn't try to propigate.

In any case, they're trojan horses not virus programs and they still need to fool the user into taking an action that in this day screams 'don't open that' louder then a whole movie theator full of fat black women watching a horror film. It's sad that so many haters in Microsoft land are revelling in Apples misfortune rather then turning their attention to the real problem that virus and other malware writers are causing. In 2006 computers are no longer just hobby toys or specialized business machines. Computers have become crucial infrastructure for education, commerce, communications and simple everyday life for a majority of American households. They're as crucial as clean water, 911 service and smooth roads. Protecting computers has become a multibillion dollar industry and every attack causes downtime, causes data losses no less reprehensible then if some criminal parked a truck full of diesel and lawn fertalizer next to the cable company.

So does the FBI and DOJ use any of the immesurable powers of the NSA and CIA to track down the punk ass who wrote Ommpa Loompa or the Sasser Worm and charge them with crimes and mete out punishments commensurate with the costs their malicious creations have caused? No. The adult who wrote Sasser was ratted out by his friends and got 21 months probation. Instead, federal law enforcement is protecting the internet not from malware, spyware, worm, virus or trojan but from American Citizens who want to see titties.


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