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Week of May 5, 2000
The ILOVEYOU worm was begging to happen. The world at large was on its knees for it. Its unabashed success is due not only to fortuitous social engineering but to a number of easily remedied system blunders on the cosmic scale:
- Microsoft pushes IE and Outlook to crush Netscape because emerging middleware might otherwise make Microsoft Windows irrelevant.
- OEMs have to provide IE and Outlook and exclude competitive products or go under.
- Outlook ships with amazing factory defaults which among other things allow the wanton execution of code such as the ILOVEYOU worm.
- Sysadmins who are aware of this distribute Outlook 'as is' anyway on millions of computers world wide.
- Mailboxes are flooded weekly with updates on all the new security holes found in Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Internet Explorer, Microsoft's use of Java and Visual Basic scripting, et al. No one does anything about it.
- The Microsoft Windows shell outdoes its own unparalleled track record by hiding the file extension of the worm on many machines. The worm has the extension VBS, and if double clicked will execute, yet on many computers Microsoft displays the TXT extension instead.
- People don't pause to consider that TXT should normally be attached inline.
- At the US Department of Justice the verdict is in but the punishment has not yet been meted out. But the world has hereby paid dearly for the crimes of Microsoft Corporation.
- People had been given ample opportunity to use Internet tools of their choice;
- Microsoft hadn't attempted to destroy middleware such as Netscape and Java;
- Microsoft hadn't forced ISPs, OEMs and OLSs to exclude competitive products;
- Microsoft hadn't been so childishly worried that their precious Windows would lose its relevance;
- Microsoft had been prepared to, as Bill Gates outlined in his own book, forge into new areas of computer science instead of brutally trying to hold back the hands on the clock;
- Microsoft hadn't attempted to systematically 'moronize' the PC user;
- Security and system administrators had taken their jobs seriously;
- Factory defaults in Microsoft Internet utilities had been corrected before they were distributed world wide in LANs everywhere;
- Anyone, anywhere, had used an ounce of thought at any point along the way:
Then none of this would have happened - none of it.
The ILOVEYOU worm has not affected Linux or UNIX users. It has not affected Mac users. It has not affected Netscape users.
The ILOVEYOU worm has only affected those who use both Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Outlook - no one else. And the people responsible for this chaos are the ones now profiting off it.