I’m in the Philippines to look at their preparations for an automated evoting election in May. This morning’s visit to the hotel’s business center wasn’t a good omen: no antivirus software on their computers.
This might not tell us very much about the potential for disaster in an election which is supposed to be entirely electronic, but the staff’s attitude might. When I told her that her computers weren’t running antivirus, she nodded and said she knew that, as if to say that was a luxury this $120 a night hotel couldn’t afford.
While we could blame Microsoft for badly designing DOS and Windows in the first place, we must also ask why people has such a bad understanding of computer security. Most people I know are not aware of the need for anti-virus software on Windows, nor of the existence of many good *and* free (as in beer) AV software. Instead, they run years-out-of-date bundled AV software from brand names such as Symantec or McAfee.
Part of the blame must go to computer vendors. Knowing that many people don’t upgrade their AV subscriptions, should they not at least offer a choice on first boot, between a free trial and a free AV? But that would jeopardize the lucrative bundling business…
And you think people are stupendously misinformed about biological vaccinations… the digital counterpart is even worse. Granted, computer virii and worms don’t kill… yet.