Windows User: How Sad Is It That I Don't Trust Microsoft?

If you are a long time reader of TMO, or perhaps the Mac Web in general, you will have read your fair share of rants about Windows and/or Microsoft. Whenis the last time you read a rant about Windows and Microsoft in the Washington Post from a Windows user not talking to a Mac audience? Leslie Walker is a tech columnist for the Washington Post, and her most recent column is about the latest craze to sweep the Windows world, MSBlast.

MSBlast is a worm that has very quickly infected hundreds of thousands of Windows computers, bringing some networks to a crawl. The worm seeks to take over a Windows box exploiting a recent security hole that has actually been patched by Microsoft, though most Windows users have not installed that patch. Once infected, the machine will seek to find other Windows boxes with the hole, infecting them, too. All infected boxes are set to launch a Denial of Service (DoS) attack on Microsoftis software update service this Saturday, which will keep people from downloading the very patch needed to correct the problem for the duration of the attack.

All of this is what has Ms. Walker tense. She asks why Microsoft canit make Windows more secure, and criticizes the companyis efforts since launching its "Trustworthy Computing" initiative some 18 months ago. More importantly, she says something we found to be very poignant. From the column:

Sure, Microsoft has been urging people running Windows to give their machines a regular security tuneup, either by activating Windows XPis auto-update feature so Microsoft can do it for them or by downloading every free security "patch" that Microsoft publishes online to fix Windowis vulnerabilities.

I confess I had done neither. I didnit trust Microsoft enough to have its computers automatically communicating with mine, so I had never switched on auto-updating.

And as for getting patches myself, Microsoft releases dozens of them a year, almost all without consumer-friendly instructions as to what they do or in what order they should be downloaded and installed.


How sad that I donit trust the worldis largest software company enough to allow it to fix my own computer for me. And how pathetic that the creator of the operating system running more than 90 percent of the worldis computers canit figure out how to protect its customers, 18 months after vowing to do so in its "Trustworthy Computing" initiative.

In the full column, Ms. Walker offers some comments from a Microsoft spokesperson who discusses some of his companyis efforts to improve security in Windows. We recommend the piece as a good read for those interested in the Windows user outlook on using a computer.