Bonum Certa Men Certa

Cost of Windows Zombies to the Economy Could be Trillions

"Our products just aren't engineered for security."

--Brian Valentine, Microsoft executive



All about the money



Summary: The cost of Windows to the economy is higher than most people realise

THE OLD estimates of 320,000,000 or so zombie PCs on the Web simply mean that Windows botnets are bound to cost a lot of money. They cause great damage and waste hours per week, per person, depending on the person's occupation. Conficker shows that Windows flaws tend to be seriously severe. Microsoft continues its tradition of ignoring and overriding user settings by installing patches without permission.



SOFTWARE GIANT Microsoft has been installing updates against the wishes of users who have set up their computers to stop them deploying patches without permission.


This is done for security reasons, but it does raise serious questions. Microsoft essentially owns one's PC once Windows is installed on it. Not even user settings are obeyed. Regardless of this practice which has gone on for years, the Windows botnets problem remains unresolved and everyone pays the price. Here are some new figures about the cost of SPAM alone (there are many other costs).

And just in time. According to Ferris Research, a San Francisco and London-based e-mail and groupware analysis firm, “spam will cost $140 billion worldwide in 2008, of which $42 billion will be in the United States alone.”

[...]

That’s largely because spam hasn’t been bound to the U.S. in years. Instead, spam comes from botnets. These are made up of anywhere from dozens to tens of thousands of malware infected Windows PCs that their controllers use to spread spam around the world.


Will Microsoft pay the bills to compensate for this? One of my Web sites, for example, goes beyond the allowed traffic because well over 90% of the traffic there is devoured by Windows zombies. It has gone on for months and it is costing a lot of money, not just time.

Those who are responsible for this chaos whine about it too. Gates describes it as "irritating".

"Like almost everyone who uses e-mail, I receive a ton of spam every day. Much of it offers to help me get out of debt or get rich quick. It would be funny if it weren't so irritating."

--Bill Gates



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