“Windows doesn’t separate the authorities required to install new software from those required just to view attachments; so you can get infected by an executable program when you thought you were looking at a file. That’s because Windows started life as MS-DOS, which was always intended to be a single-user product, not shared among users with different levels of authority over the machine. The antivirus companies couldn’t protect people because in general they can only ward off programs they already know about.” Charles Arthur reports for The Independent.
“At one stage MyDoom-laden viruses made up one in 12 of all e-mails travelling over the internet,” Arthur reports.
“Now, I am certain that I’ve never sent any viruses, because I’m using Mac OSX, and there are no viruses on that platform. So I was confident that I wasn’t a culprit when I e-mailed one site that claimed I had sent it a virus, asking it to stop increasing the amount of pointless e-mail traffic. ‘Your virus software is making the virus problem worse, increasing the e-mail load by sending messages to people who have not sent viruses, because as you know, all mass-mailer worms now spoof the ‘From:’ address,’ I wrote,” Arthur reports.
“I got the reply: ‘IMHO it is better to reply and warn people that they may be virus-infected than to ignore the problem and hope it goes away. If you do not want your e-mail address used as a spoof, educate the people to whom you send e-mails to not run viruses.’ It’s a nice idea that we could stop all our internet neighbours getting virus-infected; the same approach to petty offences in real life would bring the crime rate down to zero overnight. Assuming that it were possible – which it isn’t, in real life or online,” Arthur reports.
“Antivirus companies began appearing in 1986. Windows 3.1 appeared in 1992. The first mass-mailer virus, Melissa, appeared in 1999. Since then viruses have improved hugely, carrying their own e-mail-sending program, able to choose from addresses on the machine. Antivirus products struggle to keep up; Windows struggles to protect you (and it) from yourself (and itself),” Arthur writes.
Full article here.