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WHY ARE COMPUTER VIRUSES STILL A PROBLEM?

Posted by Tim Bryce on May 4, 2015

BRYCE ON TECHNOLOGY

– Why have we been battling security problems for over forty years?

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

I recently experienced a “malware” problem on my computer. For those unfamiliar with the term, malware represents a software virus planted on your computer to monitor and track what programs you execute and web sites you visit which is valuable intelligence from an advertising perspective (not to mention a good way to hack into your machine). The only problem is, tracking your every move is illegal to do. Discovery of this problem surprised me as I run what is considered one of the most popular antivirus programs around, yet it allowed this malware virus to infiltrate and blossom on my machine. Consequently, I had to purchase an anti-malware software product which astonishingly identified and eliminated over 500 such malware bugs on my computer. Now I am wondering why I need to maintain my main antivirus product if they cannot identify these annoying bugs.

I have been working with computers for a long time; everything from mainframes, to minis, and personal computers, not so much as a programmer but more as a systems analyst and user. Nevertheless, computer viruses were essentially nonexistent on mainframes and minis, but it wasn’t until the PC came along that we started to experience hackers planting viruses on our computers. Think about it, we’re now at least 40 years into the PC era which many consider a long time. Yet, there is yet to be any real progress in terms of conquering the virus problem. Maybe it is not intended to be.

Back when we were using IBM’s OS/2 operating system, a significant departure from the Windows platform, we experienced little, if any, viruses. I believe this had a lot to do with the design of the operating system itself. I am also told Apple and UNIX users experience few problems. Yet, when I entered the Windows world, I discovered a plethora of viruses, bugs, and vendors offering security solutions. This simply may be due to the popularity of the Windows operating system, or is it an ironic coincidence that vendors offer a multitude of solutions, none of which are obviously bulletproof.

The antivirus industry is a multimillion dollar business. It is so big, one could easily speculate there is an incestuous relationship between the antivirus vendors and the operating system vendor, such as a kick back. If true, there is absolutely no intention of ever conquering the problem, just let it continue and collect the cash flow.

Again, what makes me suspicious is that after forty years we have nothing to show for correcting this problem. I think we’ll find the cures for cancer and diabetes well before the cure for computer viruses. Frankly, I think the antivirus industry is nothing but a huge scam.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:  timbryce.com

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Copyright © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  INFORMATION RESOURCE MYOPIA – Segments of Information Technology departments see only what they want to see.

LAST TIME:  PALMETTO BUGS  – What purpose do they serve?

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

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5 Responses to “WHY ARE COMPUTER VIRUSES STILL A PROBLEM?”

  1. Brian Haffenden said

    Hi Tim, Interesting article. Highlighted below you are hitting the proverbial nail on the head. Cynical I may be, but close to the truth? Absolutely. Stay well, and keep ‘em coming. Brian

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tim Bryce said

    A P.K. of Palm Harbor, Florida wrote…

    “Windows is the main target for malware because that’s where the money is. Think Watergate: “follow the money.”

    To answer the title question: Viruses are still a problem because there is money to be made. Much smaller motivations are mischief and experimentation. Burglaries and thefts still occur because there is money to be made.

    Now cell phones have moved into the target, especially android, which allows users to turn off safeguards in order to access a wider variety of apps. User education is the best weapon. iOS phones have to be modified (“Jailbreak”) to allow non-apple-approved apps.

    Tracking can be greatly slowed, but at a cost of convenience and even forgone access to some sites. You can surf anonymously, but it takes effort, tools (Tor browser) and time.”

    Like

  3. sirchristiantheheck@reagan.com said

    Well,you’ve convinced me that my NEXT laptop will be an APPLE MAC. I am also sick of viruses and mal ware. Thanks for making my mind up for me.

    Like

  4. Anthony said

    I think you are right Tim, I know someone who put together a manual for a well known tool company and he does not think a lot of Windows and that is one of the reasons. I have heard that Apple users do not have to by extra protection.

    Like

  5. […] WHY ARE COMPUTER VIRUSES STILL A PROBLEM? […]

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