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Why malware never stops

The other day I was on site at a client setting up a VPN so the owner could work from home. For some reason, his decision to do this seemed to be very popular with the employees, who were unusually helpful and genuinely concerned as to how soon this could be working. I can't imagine why they were so enthusiastic, but the owner himself had some concern.

"My home computer has gotten very slow. I only bought it last year, and it's just awful now".

I figured I knew the answer, but I had to ask: "Was it slow when you bought it?".

"Oh, no. Really fast then. But it's just gotten slower and slower. I don't use it much, it's mostly the kids.."

Visions of RIAA lawsuits flashed through my head, but I thought we'd leave that discussion for a little later.

"You have virus and spyware software on that PC, right? You do Windows Updates?"

He shrugged his shoulders. "Well, no, like I said, it's mostly the kids who use it.."

This is the problem. Multiply it by several million other people, many of whom are now connected to broadband or DSL 24x7, running unpatched and totally unprotected PC's. This is someone who understands why he needs to keep his business systems protected, but for home.. well, "it's just the kids..".

Viruses spread farther and faster than ever before. When almost all home users were dial-up, at least the darn things were shut-off and disconnected from the Internet most of the time. Now more and more are connected any time they are turned on. Wide open targets, almost begging to be turned into slave machines which will spread more virues or be used as spam relays - or both.

Is it any wonder we have such a big virus and spam problem?

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A refund for defective software might be nice, except it would bankrupt the entire software industry in the first year. (Andrew S. Tanenbaum)

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