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Virus writers are industrial terrorists – MS

Bunker mentality seizes Redmond

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Virus writing is comparable industrial terrorism, according to senior .Net developer evangelist Michael Lane Thomas.

Writing about Microsoft's Strategic Technology Protection Program, Michael Lane Thomas said that if people seek alternatives to Microsoft's IIS because of security concerns (as Gartner advocates) this "would only accomplish what the industrial terrorists want".

"As long as the spirit of innovation is preserved and destructive viruses are recognised as industrial terrorism, Microsoft will continue to provide revolutionary ideas," Lane Thomas writes in the Point/Counterpoint column on devx.com.

Warming to his theme, Lane Thomas compares the terrorists who hijacked aeroplanes on September 11 with "industrial terrorists [who] analyzed IIS Web server security until they found a weakness".

To formulate his argument, Lane Thomas compares the developers of Nimda or Code Red with Mohammed Atta and his cronies.

Chamber's Dictionary defines terrorism as "an organised system of violence and intimidation, especially for political ends". Virus writing falls a bit short of this. Microsoft's own Encarta records "bombing, kidnapping, and assassination, carried out for political purposes" as aspects of terrorism, but not virus writing.

Lane Thomas' article, counterpointed by a more persuasive (we think) discourse by security consultant Brian Martin, seems to be soapbox oratory on behalf of Microsoft.

Included is the assertion, earlier made by Microsoft's Scott Culp (manager of the Microsoft Security Response Center), that worms are inevitable when you have complex software and the belief that user procrastination about applying patches is a major cause of the problem.

There's little acknowledgement that Microsoft, which will always be a target for hackers, needs to improve the base security of its products. But there is evidence that the company is improving in this regard. The Strategic Technology Protection Program, which aims to simplify and speed up the delivery of software patches, and Microsoft's closer relationship with security firms both point this way.

Lane Thomas' article displays the kind of bunker mentality associated with people under heavy fire. It also exhibits a classy mixed metaphor.

"Did the Code Red worm exploit a flaw in the underlying technology or the flaw in human nature commonly known as procrastination? You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink, and shooting the rider because his horse allowed itself to get dehydrated is not the proper response," Lane Thomas writes.

No, we don't understand what that means either. ®

Update

Lane Thomas' article has been removed from the devx.com Web site and the content can't be accessed through the Google cache. Perhaps someone realised his comments struck the wrong note.

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