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Thursday, 22 December 2016 13:03

Welcome to the silly season of security beat-ups

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The silly season is the time when security companies figure they can get under the skin of normally sensible people, by spouting chicken little stuff and using gullible writers to spread their message that the sky is falling and it will all get worse in the year to come.

And when the people, terrified so much they can hardly quell the shaking in their hands to hang out their Christmas stockings, ask "how can we be safe?", bang comes the answer (it's always the same): "buy our product x, y or z."

It happens every year and yet people are silly enough to swallow this stuff and not look for the cause instead of the effects which is what the security companies offer to help them fix.

No security company will come out and talk about the terrible security in Microsoft Windows. No, they all have a vested interest in keeping mum and talking about "computer worms" and not Windows worms. The worse things get, the better for their bottomline, so who would bite the hand that feeds them?

As I've pointed out before, ransomware has been the killer this year – and where does it all come together? Windows, of course.

Yet, which anti-virus company, which security company, which consultant, will strip things to their barebones and tell the public the unvarnished truth?

Don't expect anyone to break the unspoken vow of silence that the IT industry has maintained from the time when Windows was pushed on the unsuspecting masses and became the most widely used desktop operating system on the planet.

This year, we even have one of these worthies proclaiming that free software is worse than software that needs to be bought. Only the ignorant would buy this myth, but it is still propagated. I speak from personal experience, not from anecdotal experience.

Given that you have second-rate products being brought in to fix third-rate operating systems, what hope in hell does the average punter have? Propaganda and astro-turfing are both at an all-time high and profits are all that matter to the companies pushing various lines to credulous journalists on the make.

And then we complain that less people are buying newspapers or reading what we write online!

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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