Strong opinions, weakly held

The state of the art in interface spoofing

Jeff Atwood has a great series of screen shots describing how malware distributors spoof user interfaces to convince users to install their software. The more operating system and browser vendors do to prevent people from inadvertently installing software they don’t want, the more the malware distributors do to entice people to override the security measures that are in place to help install software that can only harm them.

This is just one of many arms race scenarios that plague the digital world. As DRM improves, people come up with better ways to crack the DRM. As Blizzard comes up ways to keep people from artificially inflating their arena ranking in World of Warcraft, players come up with newer and better ways to game the system. And as antivirus and anti-fishing software gets better, criminals figure out better ways to enlist the user in circumventing that software.

What I’m trying to figure out is where it ends. How much freedom must computer users volunteer to give up in order to be able to use the Web relatively safely?

1 Comment

  1. The average person who doesn’t care about computers must give up all their freedom, because they don’t care to or won’t learn basic knowledge that will help them. (I say this as a bitter IT drone dealing with end users every day for the past 10 years.)

    The problem is that having their freedom taken away — probably a necessity to protect them, as they’ve shown they can’t be educated — will also take away mine.

    Right now, I run Linux in an attempt to preserve my own freedom for as long as possible.

    But it’s probably only a few more years until large corporations wrest complete control of the Internet and computers away from their rightful owners, and we trade freedom for perceived safety.

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