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29 Reasons to Not Get Vista

Microsoft Windows Vista hits (assaults) consumers on 30 January 2007. Starting with New Years Day that gives you twenty nine days to think about the big mistake you're about to make.

Every day of January 2007 until Microsoft Windows Vista is released you can read yet another good reason why it's not a good idea to get it.

12 January 2007 Reason #12: It's a spam machine.

Spam - 'unsolicited commercial email' - is the bane of the Internet. It's an annoyance, it's a continual pest, and everyone gets it, right?

Right. But what you probably don't realise is that if you're running Windows you're sending it.

90% of all spam today comes from infected Windows computers - not computers in general but just Windows computers.

Other computers don't send out spam at all - only Windows.

How does this happen?

Quoting from Wikipedia:

'Spamming is economically viable because advertisers have no operating costs beyond the management of their mailing lists, and it is difficult to hold senders accountable for their mass mailings. Because the barrier to entry is so low, spammers are numerous, and the volume of unsolicited mail has become very high. The costs, such as lost productivity and fraud, are borne by the public and by Internet service providers, which have been forced to add extra capacity to cope with the deluge. Spamming is widely reviled, and has been the subject of legislation in many jurisdictions.'

But no one's succeeded in getting rid of it. And the reason is simple: too many people are running Windows. Windows and Windows alone is the main - some would say sole - source of spam on the Internet today.

In the early days the number one vehicle was the 'open relay': an unguarded and incorrectly configured mail server. Spammers poked into these servers - and given the nature of Internet mail to always try to get a message to its destination, the spammers could count on the mail servers doing their dirty work for them.

But gradually the people running these mail servers got 'educated' and began plugging the holes the spammers got through. So lucky for them then Windows had become popular. With its nonexistent security model Windows became the perfect target for the current generation of spammers.

One way or another the spammers infect your computer - almost always without you knowing it. And once your computer is infected, it is ready to (literally) take orders from so called 'zombie generals': non-Windows computers under the control of hundreds of thousands of Windows computers just like yours.

Your computer might silently make its presence known on an IRC channel and await instructions; spam service providers assemble their armies and sell their services to the highest bidder, perhaps millions for a single hour.

And you won't even know what's going on. You might suspect your Windows computer is a bit sluggish, but otherwise you'll have no clue. With the greater bandwidth available to more and more people today the spammers with their fleets of infected Windows computers can send out millions of spam messages per hour. Thousands of those messages are actually sent out by your computer.

By June of last year an estimated 80% of all spam was generated by infected Windows computers; this correlates to 55 billion spam messages per day. From Windows computers just like yours.

Do the math. With 900 million Windows computers on the planet, that's 60 spam messages per day per Windows computer. Including yours.

Spam is illegal. It's a felony. Do you want to be involved in criminal activities? Do you want to risk going to prison?

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