Rob Pegoraro, a Washington Post technology columnist, offers an analogy for the current Microsoft Windows security, or rather the lack thereof:

To get an idea of how Windows got to be such a mess, think of it as a house that was built on an island in the middle of a lake, deep in the countryside. Because you're so isolated, you don't need to worry about keeping strangers out — your security rests on being physically separate from the rest of the world. So it doesn't matter that the windows can only be latched shut with great difficulty, that locks were picked to match the decor (no ugly deadbolts here!) and there's an extra key hidden under the doormat. Now take that house and move it into the city. ...

This is in the context of multi-page horror stories in the 15 August 2004 Post business section re Windows worms, viruses, trojan horses, etc. Various authors describe how they spent dozens of hours and hundreds of dollars in attempting to recover from catastrophe. They struggle to install firewalls, anti-virus software, operating system patches, and the like. Strangely enough, the blazingly obvious solution to their woes is only alluded to briefly, in a sentence or two buried at the end of a few of the articles.

Mr. Pegoraro and colleagues have overlooked the root of the problem. Consider a far more apropos metaphor:

Imagine a future in which your mind can be downloaded into the physical body — aka "bOD" — of your choice. After a couple of decades more than 95% of the population has gravitated to a single company's product line, opting for various models: the Pitt, the Lopez, the Kucher, the Oprah, the Elvis, the Lakshmi, etc.

All of these bODs run customized versions of the same underlying immune system, developed at great expense by genius biochemical engineers and optimized for disease prevention and cross-bOD histocompatibility. Any bOD can accept blood transfusions and tissue transplants from any other bOD. Medical treatment of a bOD is precise and efficient, since all bOD physiological parameters are identical, as are all responses to drugs and other therapies.

But scalawags and ne'er-do-wells, as well as criminals and mass-market advertisers, have found flaws in the bOD immune system. Every day new infections appear and, of course, spread with exponential speed throughout the population of bODs. An industry arises to provide countermeasures, and bOD owners find themselves stopping by the local doc-in-a-box on a weekly basis in order to get the latest vaccination shots, prophylactic upgrades, and T-cell service packs installed. It's a never-ending race, at ever-increasing expense.

Meanwhile, the few percent of the population who haven't signed up for monoclonal status ...

(see also CutTheVolume (5 Mar 2004), GamingTheSystem (17 May 2004), ... )

TopicProgramming - TopicSociety - TopicEconomics - TopicHumor - 2004-08-15

(correlates: SoulNumbingTedium, ForTheVisuallyImpaired, CelebrityImmunization, ...)