PERSPECTIVE ON SECURITY HOLES

You’ve probably read some of the articles about security holes in various operating systems and programs, each one describing a theoretical possibility that hackers might do pernicious things to your computer. Most of the articles in the mainstream press are focused on Microsoft products, but rest assured there are many, many more reports in the technical press, and the security problems are by no means limited to Microsoft.

Wired Magazine has an interesting article to help you keep it all in perspective. Despite the thousands of hackable holes that lurk in e-mail, on websites, in files and operating systems, there has been virtually no real impact on most computer users. “Some security experts suggest that malicious code attacks do happen but are dismissed by most users as just another wonky Windows software crash. But those same experts also cheerfully confess that most exploits aren’t all that exploitable, and that the security industry profits by stirring up fear and frenzy. Experts also wonder whether they and their colleagues devote entirely too much time to pouring over program code looking for possible exploits.”