September 26, 2004

"Pop-up" solutions?

I, like practically everyone else on the Internet, have had my fair share of encounters with pop-ups caused by things like spyware and adware. I recently came across an article that suggests Microsoft was looking to fix this problem, but it seems their fix isn't working for my computer, and I think I may know why.

According to CNET, Microsoft's Windows XP Service Pack 2 was meant to block pop-ups caused by programs like spyware and adware. I downloaded this update not long after I bought my computer, and I am still bombarded with them almost everyday.

I know all too well that very few "quick fixes" like this are meant to fix the whole problem; however, I find it hard to imagine that Microsoft was putting forth an honest effort. Why? Because Microsoft actually programs its own software to directly create security issues, as is discussed in this comprehensive article from (note that there is a possible conflict of interest here, since the author of this article distributes Microsoft software through his company... However, since I am proving Microsoft's fault and using a "pro-Microsoft" source, this mention is more out of courtesy than a need to qualify the source).

It is no surprise that Microsoft, a company often found to be synonymous with the term monopoly, is responsible for this. They would much rather create the potential for harmful content to reach their customers while they are gathering loads of information from almost every PC with Windows XP installed, rather than provide a true remedy which would mean cutting off their own sources. Take for example this quote from which points out one of the many security issues with Windows XP; the fact that they're gathering information directly from PCs.

"2) Microsoft has programmed Windows XP to contact other computers and transfer information from the user's computer to the other computers:

a) If you have only three DVDs that your children watch sometimes on your home machine that is always connected to the Internet (through a broadband connection), you may not care that Microsoft knows when they watch them. If you seldom use the Windows XP help facility, you may not care that Microsoft is able to know the level of expertise of the people who use your computer."

If Microsoft truly wants to aid consumers by eliminating problems such as spyware and adware, they need to fix their own programs first in order to ensure that they themselves aren't the cause of this dilemma. In fact, the author of the article I linked to at also wrote this little proposal/clarification.

"The author is not anti-Microsoft in any way. There appear to be management problems at Microsoft, but the author would like any problems to be fixed, rather than have the entire world suffer through Microsoft doing poorly."

Hopefully, the problems will be fixed soon, or many Microsoft customers will continue to suffer from the holes in their security blanket.

•This article was written in response to Samantha's blog entry and student panel presentation. Another such presentation that dealt specifically with Microsoft as a harmful company was given by Melissa.

Posted by ChrisU at September 26, 2004 01:29 AM

Er, no, don't mind at all Melissa.

Posted by: ChrisU at September 28, 2004 12:52 AM

I hope you dont mind if I link to your blog?!

Posted by: Melissa at September 27, 2004 04:27 PM
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