Many of you may be forgiven reading that my past number of blogs that Microsoft had dropped off my radar, maybe I had gone soft on them or something. The honest truth is that they had not actually done anything that had annoyed me and then Apple had being doing some really really stupid things...
But the time has come ... Microsoft have done it .. they have well and truly annoyed me beyond belief. On the 2nd of march at the RSA security conference in San Francisco Scott Charney who is the Corporate Vice President for Trustworthy Computing at Microsoft said that we need to quarantine machines that are infected by viruses etc from the internet (very good idea actually) but that it should be paid for by governments taxing people with internet connections and that part of that taxation should be paid to microsoft so that they can fix the problems (very very very bad and stupid idea).
I see a number of huge problems with this situation and some of them are as follows :
- The highest % of machines infected with viruses and spyware are all running on Microsoft operating systems, in fact off the top of my head I can only think of 15 or so viruses that run on Macs and 3 that will run on unix variations. So microsoft want the governments to tax the users and pay them to fix thier problems ? surely they could have actually done some decent development and actually relelased software that is akin to swiss cheese ? surely the way to do this would actually to be tax Microsoft and give that money to the ISPs so they can setup the quarantine setups ?
- As it would be a tax, everyone who has an internet connection would have to be taxed. So myself like so many of the people I know who don't only run MS based operating systems would also get taxed even though they are not part of the problem. Alternatively consider people who have spent a lot of time and money ensuring that they do things correctly, they spend a lot of money on firewall software and current up to dat anti-virus systems (or they are behind corporate firewalls etc) they still get taxed even though they are not part of the problem. Surely this is not fair or just.
- Microsoft in thier ignorance suggested that possibly this sort of tax should be treated like a healthcare tax, I mean it is supposedly a public saftey issue. That would mean that every member of a population would be taxed because microsoft are incompotent. It means that it wouldn't be required for you to have an internet connection to be taxed, rather every person would be taxed. Imagine it your maid or gardener would be taxed because Microsoft are incompentent. This can't be moral.
- In a country where we pay possibly the highest rates for internet connectivity and we pay line rental twice on dsl lines (it is true consider your bills). They would expect us to then pay a tax on top of that to get an internet conenction ? Someone in microsoft needs to be taken out and shot for even suggesting it. I really dislike having to pay what we pay now for internet connections, there is now way on this little green planet that I could actually consider paying an internet tax. Especially when it is to have us the population pay Microsoft to fix thier incompetence.
Look, to be honest I think thier idea to have ISP's quarantine machines that are infected is not actually a bad idea, I feel that it is actually a decent way to solve the spreading of viruses etc. Yes it is going to cost the ISP a little bit more money to ensure that things happen properly and that connections are locked away until you fix the problem. The model is actually fairly common and been used for a unmber of years in corporate environments. The firewall a machine to hell and back enabling it access to wsus and AV updates until the machine is clean. Then you add it back onto the network when everyone is happy it is fixed.
But why do I need to pay for every tom dick and harry that are stupid enough to get infected, because they can't configure Anti-Virus software to update and ensure that the definitions are up to date. Considering that if I am not prepared to pay for my neighbours stupidity why would I want to pay Microsoft for thier incompetence ?
I am lucky to be one of those people that could pretty much swap over to the alternative operating systems and be happy. To be honest the only reason I haven't is because gaming companies don't port thier games to a unix variation so I need a windows box to be able to play games. But at the same time thier are lots of really user friendly linux versions out thier that make it simple for users to install and go.
Early I said microsoft suggested that this was a public safety issue, well with some research I came up with some figures, it is suggested that there are roughly 3.8 million machines in the world that are infected with a trojan of some sort or another, which makes them part of one of the many bot-nets around. Roughly 1 million of those machines are in the states. Supposedly those machines were used to launch just under 200000 denial of service attacks in 2008.
So to sum it all up, I like the quarantine idea I think it would work, it just needs to be funded and monitored. I really really don't like the taxation idea in any format. Although, I think maybe what is needed is a stupidity tax, lets make it a corporate tax levied at companies that are incompetent and do stupid things. Like for example release and operating system what is close to swiss cheese. Now how about we use the stupidity taxation to pay for the quarantine idea ?
Your thoughts people..