The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

28 April 2007

Beyond "let's blame Microsoft"

In Vent #529, I posed this question:

If your machine has been hijacked and turned into a zombie, are you responsible?

Adam Gurri seems to think so:

Honestly, I think the internet has been around for long enough now that people ought to know better. I say that if you're cruising around with an unpatched IE, you almost deserve to get a virus.

Normally I am not keen on blaming the victim, but geez, it's not like Microsoft works diligently to keep you from getting patches and updates: if anything, they're hyperproactive about shoveling out the replacement bits.

So fix your damn browser. Or get a better one.

Posted at 5:51 PM to PEBKAC


Or get a better one... 2 thumbs up!

Posted by: Diane at 9:40 PM on 28 April 2007

That being said, it disregards the fact that older, less experienced computer users are getting online every day. My mom has flirted with the idea, and she would undoubtedly click on anything flashy or attention-grabbing, collecting some viruses or spyware along the way. She's 71-years old, and I'd venture that she's a typical older user.

It's sort of snobby and elitist to carpet bomb everybody who every gets a virus with the "they should have known better" meme, and a bit irresponsible. Adam should know better.

Posted by: skh.pcola at 12:17 PM on 29 April 2007

Good judgment comes from experience, which in turn comes from bad judgment. Down at the shop, we've had instances where we've scraped a user's machine down to the bare metal to get rid of some particularly nasty infestation, and gotten it back two weeks later with a relapse. First time, well, okay, at least there's a lesson learned. Second time, we're looking for loopholes in the homicide statutes.

So maybe we should be forgiving — once.

Posted by: CGHill at 1:08 PM on 29 April 2007

It's sort of snobby and elitist to carpet bomb everybody who every gets a virus with the "they should have known better" meme, and a bit irresponsible. Adam should know better.

Ok, keep in mind that I wasn't saying this as regards to just anybody who happens to get a virus using an unpatched IE. The article I was responding to was referring to a particular kind of virus spreading through Google Adsense that only worked on unpatched IE.

The article went on to talk about it as if it were evidence of the inherent problem with Google's system, when it seemed to me that it was just the inherent vulnerably that comes with using an unpatched version of IE.

Maybe saying that "they should know better" is harsh or even naive--a better way to put it would be to say that if Adsense can't overcompensate for the failings of unpatched IE, it wouldn't really be unique in that way.

Posted by: Adam at 2:16 PM on 29 April 2007