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By eweek  |  Posted 2003-06-03 Print this article Print

Jim: I hope this short opinion article, "Idiocy Imperils the Web," gets the attention it deserves! You hit the nail on the head, putting into words something those of us who have to clean up mail servers and listen to the complaints of idiot e-mail users have thought for years. Its to the point that e-mail users should be required to prove basic reasoning skills and pass a test before they can have an account. Of course, these are the same people who respond to spam offers for free pasta pots, digital cameras, and manhood increasing pills, further propogating the use of spam. I guess if it wasnt for the idiots, we wouldnt realize how smart we must be!
Gary Varnum
Jim: While I think the focus of your article is clever, I also think that you stopped short in blaming only the end user, the individual who opened that unsolicited message with a virus attachment. Ive been using computers for over 30 years. I can remember when the only thing that you could do with e-mail was send text. What about pointing the finger at the software vendors who have made it easy for viruses to spread? The ones who supply browsers and messaging systems that automatically open attachments for you? [Ok, its an option, but the default is typically on!] The ones that follow links to Web pages, and execute code that isnt yours, if you want them to or not? [Again, an option, but if you disable it, you suffer significant losses in "functionality" e.g.. there are legitimate Web pages that stop working!] It used to require a recognizable system flaw for a virus/worm to enter a system, gain control and then spread. That is no longer the case. Most out of the box systems will have enough configuration flaws that leave them vulnerable unless an experienced system admin has fixed the problems. Given the number of novice administrators in the world, there is no question that viruses/worms will spread until vendors start selling software that is designed, engineered, and tested to prevent their spread. Since that goes against the trend of ever increasing features and expanded functionality, dont hold your breath! Frank Pirz


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