21st Century Protection Racket?

So another e-mail virus, mydoom, is speading like wildfire.

Like many of the more recent viruses, it “spoofs” the “From” field of infected messages by using addresses it finds on infected computers, so that innocent users of uninfected computers are getting unjustified complaints, sent automatically by e-mail gateways with virus protection, accusing them of sending infected messages.

The accepted wisdom is to make sure that you are running anti-virus software and that the virus definition files are fully up-to-date; but this requires payment of an annual license fee to an anti-virus software company. I’m lucky — my employer has a corporate subscription to a pretty good anti-virus product that makes it easy to keep my protection current — but not everyone is so fortunate.

I can’t help thinking that this could easily be a kind of 21st Century protection racket: “Buy our anti-virus software: Or else!” Of course, the anti-virus software companies vehemently deny that they have any involvement in the creation and distribution of computer viruses… But it would be so easy for them to periodically release new viruses covertly, and virtually impossible to trace it back to them.

Of course, history and experience show us that private corporations always behave honourably, and never indulge in illegal and unethical practices in order to boost their bottom lines…

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