Friday, March 20, 2009

Peeved

I know that I need to update my anti-virus to stay secure and I understand that it is a critical component of my computer security but I can tell you that it is really pissing me off at the moment.

It seems like every time I turn on my PC and at least once during the day I get this message to update my signatures. By default you don’t usually get these messages as it all happens in the background but because it was happened so often I changed the default to prompt me so I could keep track of what as going on.

So when I booted up this morning I get another update message like so:

As I said initially, I know this is necessary and I’m not picking on any vendor, since I all believe they have the same issues to some extent but it just goes to show how bad things must be out there on the Internet if I’m constantly getting these updates.

Now getting the updates is fine but the way that it bogs down my machine when it applies the updates is infuriating! It isn’t a short period of time while that happens either. It seems to be getting longer and longer. As you can see from the latest update, that’s 2.3MB to be downloaded and installed. What happens to the poor people on slower Internet connections?

It all goes back to my contention that we are losing the battle against the bad guys on the Internet. How many years has it been now and yet it seems that number of vulnerabilities, viruses, trojans, compromises, spam, etc is not only increasing but increasing exponentially. We are building our future on a platform that was never designed to incorporate security, it has simply been ‘tacked on’ later as an after thought. Given that PC’s are now in the hands of people with absolutely no idea about how to stay secure we are increasing our vulnerability everyday. We are creating a larger and large playground for the criminal underworld to flourish.

Articles like “1 in 3 Windows PCs vulnerable to worm attack” and “Downadup worm now infects 1 in 16 PCs says Panda security” further highlight the problems. This doesn’t help either:

The worm exploits a bug in the Windows Server service used in Windows 2000, XP, Vista, Server 2003 and Server 2008.
since it clearly highlights that no matter how much “security” is taken into account with software it is still created by humans (usually under commercial restrains) and can never be perfect. Don’t be under the illusion that vulnerabilities solely exist in Windows, they potentially exist in every piece of software every written. We hear more about their effect on Windows machines because they are most popular. Software developers do create and release patches but not very many people actually apply them, so we have the worst of both worlds.


I must admit that I think it is almost getting to the point where vulnerable machines need to be denied access to the Internet or automatically fixed. That again opens up a whole can or worms in regards to accessing people’s private machine and other software compatibility issues but I think we need to consider what is the greater evil here. If people don’t patch and protect their machines they make the eWorld so much more dangerous and less friendly for everyone.

We live in a strange world where on one hand you need a license to drive a car yet on the other you don’t need one to create another human life. Maybe it is something that is just going to be a fact of life forever now but I can tell you that at the moment it is really pissing me off!