Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The upside of viruses for Microsoft and...

For years, commentators have pilloried Microsoft for its historically insecure coding practices.

But could there be a covert business strategy associated with the endless stream of bugs?

Viruses continue to plague computer users. 38 percent of US households reported a virus infection in the last two years, and 20 percent of all users had significant computer trouble because of it... Consumer Reports believes that, over the past two years, malware infestations have resulted in 1.8 million households replacing their PCs in order to free themselves of viruses and the like...

That's right: nearly a million households a year replace their entire PC in order to cleanse it from the scourge of malware.

Thus, could someone argue that Microsoft surreptitiously encourages insecure coding practices in order to ensure a steady stream of upsells within households? Seems implausible to me:

Consumer Reports suggests some sensible precautions: use a firewall and security software, take care when using public computers, and... consider Mac. "Because Macs are less prevalent than Windows-based machines," we're told, "online criminals get less of a return on their investment when targeting them..."

My next conspiracy theory: is Apple secretly staffing developer-saboteurs within Microsoft to ensure a steady series of security bugs?

Ars Technica: The state of the net - not so strong

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