Old news and no news but no good news.

So the BBC Breakfast News department are at it again. They are presenting the usual trotted out technology story about safe surfing and being safe online and not once do they offer the advice :

“Consider using a different operating system”

In Tips to help you stay safe online , Mark Ward covers all the usual ground that we can expect to be trotted out to the Windows community about staying safe online. To cover this story on BBC Breakfast we have the usual example PC broken into in under half an hour. Then we cover all the same use Antivirus, use Anti Spyware use Spam filters and  avoid suspicious emails trite that they have to cover to explain how to say safe.Yet never say to the reader , hey consider a different operating system.

These journalists must know by now that they will receive a large collection of emails and opinions from Linux and Mac users who will point out that those tips only apply to Windows users , not “all” computer users.

Lets review the advice :

Antivirus.

If some one sold you a car and then told you the brakes were an optional extra due to the cars “innovative and user friendly” design. You would contact Watchdog to complain. Computer users however have been blindsided with advice that Antivirus software is a necessary part of their day to day computer experience. 

 Firewall.

A Firewall for Windows has at least been included in XP and will be in Vista but thanks to the requirements for making Firewalls user friendly they are all but useless to a majority of users. Since the operating system will not provide protection against unwanted programs and applications running on their machines ( see above ) the firewalls can be quite ineffective.

Spyware.

This has to be the best bit of marketing since the Emperors new clothes. If you dont want a Virus you certainly dont want spyware. So why do I get sold two products in place of one good product. Or better yet one good operating system ?

Update

Finally some good advice, although the reporter this morning pointed out that you “will know” when Microsoft or Apple are emailing you because it comes direct from them.Most users already have a hard time running Anti-everything software on their machines are going to know when its Bill, not Billy writing to them.

Apple

And then comes the little dig at the end . They wont actually discuss that much of  the above are not  required or that other operating systems just dont have this much trouble. Theres been no examples and demonstrations that show they suffer are an equal problem or share an equal burden of viruses and spyware just a small sweeping statement.

I guess on some level we who dont use Windows for day to day work and home life may be almost to afraid to smugly suggest that we dont get the problems; pride comes before a fall and all that. Except like the article above in using this quote I am being innacurate, the correct quote is from Proverbs 16:18

Pride goeth before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.”

So are we being sniffy of other operating systems ? ( okay yes some of us are ) but if we are so good at communicating and so good at sharing information can we not take a moment at think , when was the last time we had a virus on our Linux or Apple desktop ?

Im genuinely interested to know of anyone among my oh so few readers has actually caught a virus from an email and had it install and populate and activate it self and then replicate it self to other users via email on their Ubuntu or other distro desktops. Im going to bet £100 ( to be given to the charity supported by my BNI Chapter ) that no one can demonstrate to me a working Virus that acts just like those Windows emailed one under Ubuntu desktop, It just doesnt happen. I can accept that phishing is not a operating system related issue though when it was covered the BBC did not at the time suggest using a different Browser. 

If you have read the BBC article and want to contribute then please contact the BBC and let them know what you think at either the BBC Have your Say website or the breakfast website .

Thanks for reading.

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