Truth About Computer Security Hysteria
Bill Gates does not sell antivirus software
Friday, 19 May 2000
STOP BLAMING MICROSOFT for your virus woes. Bill Gates does not sell antivirus
In case you don't know it, a virus must first reach your computer before it can ever hope to do
anything. Antivirus packages insert themselves into the email stream so they can scan attachments on arrival.
They check for viruses at the email gateway, on the email server, and inside the user's email software. Therefore,
blame your antivirus software if ILoveYou reached your PC.
"But Rob," you whine, "viruses overwhelmingly target Microsoft products! The folks in Redmond
should do something about it!" I repeat: a virus must first reach your computer before it can ever
hope to do anything. Microsoft has no control over the network cable or phone cord snaking out of your
box. Bill Gates can't fire anyone who sent you an infected attachment.
Chairman Bill discussed the ILoveYou virus in a recent Network World
interview. I want you to
read his comment:
Stop blaming Microsoft for your virus woes. Bill Gates does not sell antivirus
software. Go out and buy a better antivirus product.
NW: Visual Basic script is a key tool on the Windows platform, but is it also a vulnerability that
needs to be addressed in any way, given the 'ILOVE YOU' virus?
GATES: There is nothing new about this virus. If you have enclosures that are scripts,
programs--anything--and people double-click on those, those things run. They run as programs. We certainly
put up a lot of warning. The fact is, people are clicking on those enclosures and ignoring those warning
Now, administratively we let people get rid of those types of enclosures, but it's really too bad because it
means you can't send somebody any kind of executable. But if people want to give that up, we give them the
administrative tools that make that possible. If you don't think people are going to pay attention to those
[attachment] warning screens, then you have to give up mailing executable enclosures.
Remember the old joke? "Powerful software, cheap price, great security. Choose any two." Gates said
the same thing here. (You know what Microsoft went with.)
So, can you buy security on top of everything else? Sure. Experts universally recommend third-party products.
Unfortunately, shallow thinkers blame Microsoft when other companies'
products fail to do their job.
You want protection from viruses? Do what Gates said: turn off your ability to receive attachments. Can't live
without your beloved attachments? Buy a better antivirus product than what you
Face the truth, people. And stop blaming Microsoft for your virus woes. Bill Gates does not sell antivirus
Shallow thinkers blame Microsoft when other companies' products fail to do