Spam. Buffer overflows. Spyware. More spam. More security breaches. More and more and more that has absolutely nothing to do with anything I want to use my computers for.
I am relatively insulated from this stuff. My primary machine is a Mac, my mail server is Linux, my web server is on BSD - I certainly don't have the constant barrage of threats that Windows people have to put up with. So when I say I'm getting sick of it all, I have to think that those who are more exposed and vulnerable are way beyond that: they must be wishing that they didn't need computers at all. Actually, I have heard just that sentiment more than once: a wistful, sad, "I know we can't but gosh I wish we could" comment on the never ending assault.
For businesses, it's an annoying cost that feels very much like being ripped off by neighborhood gangs. For those of us where computers also had a hobbiest aspect, where we actually enjoy bending boolean logic to our will, this is like vandals trashing our homes - it's both costly and personal. That people who are like us, people who probably at some point shared our fascination with computing would cause misery and expense for others is a sacrilege. We know logically that computing skill and simple morality have no automatic relationship, but we still feel violated, cheated, lied to: how can "our" people do this?
It is painfully obvious that they can. And that they will. Unfortunately, the virtual thugs will continue to assault us, and it's hard to imagine any real improvement, any lessening of the threats. Whether the motivation is financial, political, or simple japery, I don't see it stopping. Nor do I see effective countermeasures - the game simply escalates, and becomes more expensive for all of us.
I never thought that I would look forward to the day when I shut it all down for the last time: when I no longer care to run a web site or a mail server, when email sent to me will bounce back or simply disappear silently. Yet, I actually do look forward to that now. It will be bittersweet, certainly, but where I once thought that email and the Web would always be part of my future, I now think that a clean cut, a total cessation of involvement is likely. More ennui than Luddite regression, more frustration than fear, but the same end. Sad, isn't it?
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More Articles by Tony Lawrence © 2012-06-27 Tony Lawrence
Legend has it that every new technology is first used for something related to sex or pornography. That seems to be the way of humankind. (Tim Berners-Lee)