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Is there an antivirus software conspiracy?

By MaryWeilage Editor ·
What do you think about a potential antivirus software conspiracy? Do you agree with Jonathan Yarden that at least 90 percent of computer users are ignorant about how computers work? Share your comments about a potential antivirus software conspiracy, as discussed in the Oct. 18 Internet Security Focus newsletter.

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simplistic / naive

by Gruvdog In reply to Is there an antivirus sof ...

There would be no money trail if virus authors were on anti-virus payrolls (ney sayers think before you flame me on this one).

Secondly the author makes the assumptions that such a money trail is: a) sought by law enforcement at all, and b)not well hidden if it exists. Both are naive assumptions.

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Antivirus conspiracy

by Millennium7900 In reply to simplistic / naive

Because 90 percent of computer users have no idea about computers, isn't this WHY antivirus software is necessary and why virus's are successful? DA??

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I agree with Jonathan

by Rodney.Owen In reply to Is there an antivirus sof ...

Like Jonathan I have worked in the IT industry for over 20 years and now teach others about how to work within the IT industry. It is funny that many virus out breaks coincide with the end of the University Software Engineering course and that many of the viruses released are rehashes of the old ones.

The success of the malicious code is directly linkable to the number of home PCs that don't have anit-virus software installed, no spyware removers installed yet are connected to the Internet with persistent connections.

Also the malicious code only appears after the details have been published somewhere.

It's time that users, those who know about PCs and those that don't, to take responsibility for the success of the malicious code. If the holes are plugged then the code cannot run.

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by HalC In reply to I agree with Jonathan

Maybe you guys have been in IT too long.

How many precautions and programs does a user need to run to keep "safe" nowadays. Look a some of the other posts and your own clean-up arsonal. Things are out of hand for the average computer user and it is NOT their fault. I personally believe that Joe User should not have to worry about all the details of patch levels and intricacies of firewall settings just to use their computer. Most of the blame lies squarely on the operating system and software vendors who don't seem to have a clue about secure software engineering methodology. There aren't even patches for all the identified holes!

Oh and another thing, your second paragraph is total bunk. Being on a university network, we see new viruses/variants almost weekly that are not recognized by the latest definitions and we wait with baited breath for yet another release that includes the latest threats. The virus spreads in spite of the fact that we are running anti-virus software.

Things should be getting easier for the general user and in some ways they are. However, security is definitely not one of those ways.

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Three Motivations at Least

by saphil In reply to I agree with Jonathan

I agree that there are a certain number of script kiddies who are all about bragging rights and who take previous worms and change them in minor ways to be able to brag about it.

There are also a few more serious programmers who write code to steal information and credit card numbers. These people rarely seem to get caught, though they are shut down pretty quickly.

There may also be terrorisic motivations as well, though I think most of the terroristic people want to kill, not just inconvenience, their target populations, so this does not seem like a large group to worry about.

There may well be government agents whose JOB is to disrupt business for the purpose of spreading fear, uncerntainty and doubt. Not necessarily US government agents, but the concept is not a real reach when you consider the other things governments do to further their own interests.
Do not forget Eschelon (the biggest packet sniffer in the world) run by the good old US of A for its own inscrutable purposes.

The conspiracy probably doesn't include the antivirus companies. They are living off of the fears of probably 70 percent of the users in the world, who are buying antivirus software to protect themselves from a perceived 90% of the users who are supposed to be inexperienced, confused or something. Yeah, I know the percentages do not add to 100, but that is my opinion. Why does nobody think these worms and trojans that run only in windows environments are written by people who design software for MacOS or Linux? That would make more sense, and they are a far more shadowy group than the people who sell AV software.

Wolf Halton

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Jonathan is right 100% !!

by daniel.ddr In reply to Is there an antivirus sof ...

This so-called conspiracy is pure balloney and reminds me a lot of previous conspiracies that have generated so many dire situations. Very often, people tend to hide incompetence if not hate or worse behind such balloney.

I have my own LAN protected by a harware firewall, WINDOWS XP SP firewall, SPYBOT Search and Destroy and AVG anti-virus (both updated every week). On the top of that, I check updates at Microsoft twice a week. I run 3 computers and have been working with computers since 1984. I never ever had a problem. Moreover, I enjoy been on guard since I learn every day new stuff.

By the way, I have banned diskettes since 1990 and will never open something I don't know without running AVG. Also, I go to the on-line SecUser anti-virus once a month. Obviously, I do not kazaa whatsoever but I use VNC for remote work when I need to.

Keep up the good work


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Could Be 60% wrong !!!

by rodo In reply to Is there an antivirus sof ...

I do agree with some things Mr. Yarden has said about software conspiracy but I don't think (specially in USA) that 90 percent of computer users are ignorants or simply don't pay attention to details !!!!!

Rodolfo Sebastiao

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could have fooled me!!!

by husp1 In reply to Could Be 60% wrong !!!

Strange, I seem to spend a majority of my time removing spyware from peoples PC's and most have minimal to no protection at all!!!! have you seen how many rely on the firewall in XP only? After removal I install spybot, avg, adaware, and winpatrol, these provide at least a minimal protection base and have a user friendly interface that most end users can work without difficulty.

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Duty of care is with suppliers of vulnerable products

by fthynne In reply to Is there an antivirus sof ...

Your figure of 90% ignorance may be somewhat high, but I am sure that the majority of users do not understand the dangers they face, even though most are aware that dangers exist.

Given that level of ignorance, the suppliers of vulnerable software should take much more care to eliminate those vulnerablities and, until they have done so, should make it very clear to buyers that they need to service their systems with anti-virus protection and updates, and with their own software updates on a daily basis - and warn them how much time they might spend doing so.

If that frightens some potential users away, then so be it.

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Jonathan is 99% right, but one thing...

by rickb In reply to Is there an antivirus sof ...

...He supposes that a conspiracy would involve reward for virus writers... And it probably would have to, whether it was money, prestige, employment, i don't know.

But a working conspiracy would also involve some exclusivity, ie the virus writers would have to be the source of the vast majority of threats, so that they could coerce the security software companies into reward. This is a flawed theory.

Many, many people look for security vulnerabilities of all kinds. Many of these people are not interested in reward from the anti-virus vendors, etc., but are more interested in the hunt. Others genuinely want to do harm.

In this environment, any collusion between even the most prolific virus writers and the most corrupt anti-virus vendors would fail when other 'freelancers' started causing trouble by releasing new threats.

Among the likely conditions of a working conspiracy would be advance knowledge of specific threats, and therefore a fairly quick (but so necessary, which equals valuable, which equals sales) response, further enhancing the reputation of the anti-virus industry. Slammer, Blaster, and other outbreaks make this very unlikely, so just a few virus writers outside the conspiracy would cause real trouble.

I think there is no conspiracy. There is no need for one. The virus writers have a target-rich environment with the poorly secured software so popular, and the anti-virus vendors have plenty of value to offer.

We are the victims of poor design, not *just* unethical virus writers.


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