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Truth about computer security hysteria
Truth About Computer Security Hysteria

Rob Rosenberger

Do you want to be locked in a stalemate?

Rob Rosenberger, Vmyths co-founder
Sunday, 16 January 2005 ASK YOURSELF A philosophical question. "What do the makers of antivirus software really do for society?"
"Solve" is the root word for "sol­u­tion." Yet the makers of anti­virus soft­ware don't actu­ally solve any­thing. Right now they keep us locked in a stale­mate...
We can't rely on the makers of antivirus software to save us from viruses. After all: new viruses routinely slip past their defenses. Melissa, ILoveYou, Kournikova, Nimda, and many other viruses succeeded largely because antivirus software failed its duty. What do the makers of antivirus software do to prevent virus creation? Microsoft poured $5 million into a reward program to aid in the capture of virus writers. The makers of antivirus software have poured roughly $0.00 into a similar reward program. Do the makers of antivirus software put their lives on the line so others may live? I'll let you decide if this counts. (But know this — a very strong rumor in the antivirus industry says Vesselin Bontchev won't put his life on the line like this virus expert did.) Contrast the makers of antivirus software with, say, firefighters. People who get paid to fight fires don't ignore a fire hazard when they see one. They fill fire extinguishers and clean up piles of oily rags in order to prevent fires. They teach fire safety to children. They selflessly put their lives on the line so others may live. Firefighters ultimately serve the public. Antivirus firms ultimately serve their shareholders. What, then, do the makers of antivirus software really do for society? Do they merely keep the barbarians at the gate? If so, then we need reinforcements. Right now our cyber-defenders keep us locked in a stalemate. "Solve" is the root word for "solution," yet the makers of antivirus software don't actually solve anything. So ask yourself a philosophical question. "What do the makers of antivirus software really do for society?"