Fear of Internet Banking Fraud Motivates Switching To GNU+Linux

the recent PDF vulnerabilities which were patched only for Adobe Reader 8 and not 7 are being exploited via banner ads. As if there haven’t been enough banner ad attacks this year now we have another one targeting one of the most popular applications in the world this weekend. At this rate there won’t be many safe applications left to use.

I find it kind of funny when people are so close to making that mental “click” that proprietary software is so woefully inadequate it is important to avoid it altogether, but don’t follow the reasoning through to the end.

No proprietary applications are safe to use!

For users of proprietary operating systems like Mac OS X and Windows, the old advice about not running programs from unfamiliar sources is now absurd - there is no fundamental distinction between program code and data - so opening a PDF file can lead to installing rootkits that force adverts on you, spy on you, and even steal from you.

My good friend Ian Forrester recently posted a video of a speaker from Cambridge University describing a rootkit that beggars belief: designed to simply redirect online banking transfers you make in a completely automated fashion.

Those things are out there on the web just waiting for suckers using proprietary software to load them.

Bruce Schnier’s keynote at LCA2008 (ogg video, speex audio :-) talks about the difference between real security and the feeling of security, and how these diverge.

As people increasingly feel that their software can’t be trusted, its more important than ever to suggest that it is because it is proprietary software. Fear has motivated a lot of big social changes in the last few years - and not many good ones - so this shouldn’t be too out of the ordinary but actually lead to a positive social change…

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