[conspire] A bit more on that "worm"

barton barton at applitec.com
Mon Nov 14 11:48:46 PST 2005

Don Marti wrote

>Users are vulnerable to security risks not because
>they're insufficiently "educated" but because the IT
>industry has "educated" them to click through software
>installs and other counterintuitive, scary things in
>the first place.
Interesting articles. Thanks.

I think the biggest problem is the EULA's are not the right place for
messages about loading UNWANTED software on ones machine. This type of
invasive activity should be very visible not hidden in some unreadable
legal jargon that is five or six pages long. License agreements have
gotten entirely out of control -- and ridiculous. No one reads them
because most of the time they make no sense and are probably not
enforceable in the long run.

Before any company installs software on a system they should present the
end user with a clear description of what the software will and won't
do. This should not be a book it should be a paragraph. There should be
a clear description of how to get rid of the software if you don't want
it and there should be a BIG "Install" "DON'T INSTALL" button. The text
should be in a readable large font. A license agreement can be shown
afterwards but the information about installing extra stuff should not
be hidden in such a license.

I don't think it is the IT industry that has "educated" users to "click
through" installs. If anything it has been IT and Security people that
have warned users about the hidden agendas in many an install. Users
click through because they have the expectation that a legitimate
company (like Macromedia) would not install anything except what the
user has asked for when he agrees to an install.

I guess the problem is that companies will not be ethical if they don't
have to be. If there is a buck in the deal they will too often convince
themselves that it is okay to do things that are less than up-front and
ethical. I think it is past time that some laws be passed to help
companies decide and understand what is right and what is wrong.

Barton L. Phillips
Applied Technology Resources, Inc.
Tel: (818)652-9850
Web: http://www.applitec.com

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