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Secure the Internet?

Mack Diesel levels off against TPTB.

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TPTB are at it again.


Give up your Internet freedom they say because of the big, bad, scary h4X0r5...

Freedom isn't convenient. You have to be constantly on guard against entities who wish to take it away whether politically (bankers) or in technology (hardware and/or software DRM). That's just too much work for feeble-minded sheep.

We all know in here that the real problem is WINDOWS. Microsoft purports that you have 'freedom' with Windows in that it comes bundled with many different hardware configurations. The problem is that the hardware is built around Windows (when it should be the other way around). There is also the problem with the availability of alternatives. Can you walk into a store and get a PC with a different OS or even no OS? In the real world? The answer is more than likely no.

Linux/UNIX is free. Not just free as in beer, but free in the sense that it is open, can be studied and improved upon, and made to work with security in mind. However, anything can be broken, and one must be vigilant in keeping a secure system. Can we peek inside Windows and find all of the flaws? The most anyone can do to improve Windows is to buy the latest version. But does that guarantee security? You still need a firewall and AV suite. The AV rainmakers certainly don't want Windows to be secure - it will kill their bottom lines. Is that freedom?

Are we still free in the world of Apple? With OS X, yes - to an extent. Aside from the TPM, we still have root access and do practically whatever we want. We still have the CLI. Most importantly, we still have alternatives (Thunderbird vs Mail, Firefox vs Safari, Adium vs iChat, etc). However, given Apple's attitude with their iFads these days it won't be long before that attitude extends to the Mac. Freedom with the iFads? Hah. Apple made this clear up front. Yet people still buy the iFads in droves. For convenience? They might think so. But what if it's just a perception of convenience? What if you want to run an app which is banned in the walled garden of Apple? Not so convenient now, is it? Sure, it can be done. But with that comes a risk of being bricked back into submission.

Which leads to the next important point: security. Apple claim that they have this walled garden for security. Yet time and time again we see that it can be broken.

Is Windows secure? Duh - we know the answer to that one. Yet the AV rainmakers are there to save the day - or so we think. Even with AV, nothing can stop Zeus. But there is the feeling of 'being secure' just because of the presence of AV. In other words, it's nothing more than theatre.

Just like great (leaking) firewalls put up by governments who wish to enslave their not-so-savvy citizens, naked body scanners in airport terminals while cargo goes practically unchecked, and speed/red light cameras which do not actually stop speeding or red light-related collisions from taking place (except recording them and taking your $$$) draconian measures are being continually talked about or put into place by interests who seek to control freedom under the guise of security while those 'secure' measures have been shown to be broken time and time again. So where is the convenience in all of this?

Mack Diesel is a technology writer who uses both Mac OS X, Ubuntu, and open source in general.

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