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Dear Mr Foo

'I'm part of the solution.'

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Dear Mr Foo.

I read the post from Mr Bar with great interest. I know it wasn't a plea for suggestions as much as a plea for users to be more aware of the dangers and less vulnerable to social engineering attacks when on the net.

I feel the responsibility to bring this up for discussion. Please consider my points for discussion with your peers. It's a very difficult and contentious subject.

The Internet should be an environment within which one can explore the great human adventure. It should be a place open to collaboration and sharing. It should be a place where one can efficiently perform one's work without fear. It's a shame so many are besieged upon the dark fronts as so succinctly presented in Mr Bar's communication.

It's been proven time and again the Microsoft operating system doesn't belong on the Internet. It's fine as a standalone operating system but wasn't designed to be so secure. It must be very expensive to maintain the relative safety we have with our computing infrastructure. I commend the staff for the terrific success they enjoy. Meanwhile the chinks in the armour grow, the efforts to cover them become more frantic, and the cyber enemies become more potent.

I understand from my reading of the experiences of other persons that there are serious defects in the operating system of Windows. Its code base is flawed in a serious fashion that allows exploits. I've included information references for your further research.

I understand a paradigm shift would be costly in hardware and human effort. The rewards for the effort I see are great.

Recovering one's life after identity theft is costly and time consuming. Denial of service attacks against companies are costly. Proprietary data theft is a threat to corporations and the security of our nation as a whole.

I believe it comes down to a fundamental decision. The choice being twofold. Accept the status quo with the associated costs fighting the effects of the attacks to the security of our computing infrastructure. Or be a leader in effecting change. The goal being a secure computing base. The responsibility being a willingness to accept the costs associated therein. Alternate platforms exist for a safer user experience. It requires a fascination with ethical leadership. A willingness to lead by example.

I propose an option that would be an alternative to the malaise of accepting the status quo. Set an example to the community of computer users that there are safer platforms to use. In the form of bringing pressure to the software provider of choice. The pressure being to demand from the system and software providers a better product. Stop accepting such a dismal security model. It's no longer a trivial concern of choosing a product and using it just because that's what they have to offer.

It's more important than that. It's a vital need to protect the corporations, the citizens, and our financial infrastructure. The holey cheese of Microsoft Windows is key to the problem. Its use should be relegated to isolated test equipment not connected to the Internet.

I understand why corporations and the country are forced to put up with such a miserable situation. The astounding pace of growth in the computing industry has been breathtaking.

It has overtaken the persons, the visions, the plans of the leaders of the computer/software provider industry. It's difficult to make a move against the weight of such inertia.

It's time to take stock of where we are and the insecurity we face and then formulate a plan. How to guide and influence the direction of safe computing. It's holding to account a corporation selling a product known to be full of security holes and demanding a better product. Or moving to a fundamentally safer platform.

Unix being designed as a multi-user environment has the foundation to be secure on the Internet. I experience this. From within the cocoon of my Apple Mac G5. It's 6 years old. But it is a hard piece of iron and still spins like a top. Unix secured hardware.

However the threat remains from without. I remain vulnerable because so many servers and private computers are Windows based and are vulnerable. People are made prey to data miners and keystroke loggers. Servers can be infiltrated for credit card and personal information. Identity and financial theft is a real and growing problem.

I've made a decision. I've made a conscious effort to be part of the solution and not part of the problem.

 - Asbestos Salamander

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