Little Rant by Eightball & Thundercloud
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Pirates Of The Cybersea
extort, we pilfer, we filch and sack.
Drink up me 'earties, Yo Ho!
Maraud and embezzle and even hijack.
Drink up me 'earties, Yo Ho!
Yo Ho, Yo Ho! A pirate's life for me.
Yo Ho, Yo Ho! A pirate's life for me.
(Yo Ho, Yo Ho ©1967 X. Atencio & George Bruns)
I have always liked
the "Pirates of the Caribbean". You know the parrots, the eyepatches and pirates
sitting 'round drinking rum by the barrel. I know, it's only a movie or is it a ride at
Disney World? Or both? Still, when I was young, I could hear the timbers creaking, the
sails billowing, and the waves splashing. I basked in that imaginary Caribbean sun and
breathed the salty air. I had a great imagination and I imagined I was a little pirate. I
wanted an eyepatch too but never got one. Now it seems I was just a crazy kid. If I told
you about a hat I used to wear as a young boy, I'd surely be giving away my age. I
think I'll keep that a secret.
Anyway, back to the
pirates. Little did I know that years later, a brand new breed of pirates would come
'swashbuckling' onto the scene. They don't wear eyepatches (I don't think) and they
probably don't have parrots riding on their shoulders. They don't ride the salty swells;
they ride the cyber waves. They might drink rum by the barrel although I doubt it. They
are more the "pina colada"
in-the-tall-frosty-glass-with-the-umbrella-sticking-out-of-it type. I can just see them in
their Hawaiian shirts drinking and chortling with glee as they reminisce about the all the
hapless people they've duped. Yo Ho! They're partying with money pilfered from poor
unsuspecting souls who really believe in a fairy tale called "The Free Lunch".
Yes..these are the new pirates. We call them: "The Pirates Of The Cybersea".
Let me digress:
Recently, we've been receiving letters from advertising companies who proudly proclaim
that their new popups can defeat all of the new popup blockers. They're actually proud of
this. They want us to display these new anti-popup blocker popups on our sites. They want
to pay us a lot of money to do this. We turned them down. We figure if someone installs a
popup blocker, they don't want to see popups. Duh! That seems like a no-brainer. So, why
would we want to irritate those who visit our site with these "new generation"
popups? Money? What do they take us for? Pirates?
We knew, when we
first heard that Windows XP-SP2 was coming, and that its version of Internet Explorer 6
included a built-in popup blocker, programmers would be hard-at-work discovering ways to
defeat it. After all, at that point in time, over 95% of the people browsing the Web were
using Internet Explorer. It's the "big-target" theory at work. (A theory that
Mozilla, Firefox, et. al will soon discover, much to their chagrin, to be more than just a
So, it's only a
matter a time before the Internet will be a blinking, bopping, bath of popups, sliders
(you know the ones that slide in from the side and cover up what you're reading) and
worse. Now that they're about to overcome most of the popup blockers, it is only a matter
of time before we see a resurgence of the once ubiquitous and particularly nasty
"driveby download". And, this time it may be worse than the first time. Who
knows how many computers were trashed by these nefarious downloads? The number of spyware
programs installed via this method was astronomical. It may be worse when it comes back
around this time because now you have a new group who have, on the advice of
"experts", ditched their Internet Explorer browser in favor of Mozilla/Firefox
Why does this make
a difference? Aren't those browsers "more secure"? There is nothing worse than
walking around thinking you're protected when you're not. It's like wearing a hard hat
made of eggshells or a football helmet made of glass. "What does this have to do with
anything?" You're asking yourself. A lot. Here's why.
Those who use
Mozilla/Firefox cannot use Windows Update. This is not an intentional barrier erected by
Microsoft to prevent those who've chosen to use another browser. It is simply because
Mozilla/Firefox do not support "Active-X" the good/bad feature of Internet
Explorer that has been exploited ad nauseum in the past. Those who make the switch to
Mozilla because someone told them to, will most likely will forget about their Windows
Updates. A couple of visits to http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com/
a couple of times of seeing this and they'll forget all about "updates".
That will mean their Windows will not be updated and that could spell trouble. And, trust
me on this, there will come a day when Mozilla/Firefox will suffer the same woes that
Internet Explorer has long suffered. How do I know? Am I clairvoyant? No, but I know the
Internet and I know Mozilla/Firefox. I can see where the holes will be found already. In
their effort to make a fully-functional replacement for I.E. they've added a features and
are allowing others to develop enhancements.They call one type of enhancement
"extensions" (really just add-ons). You can install these extensions on its
toolbar. Does this sound familiar? So, how long do you think it will be before "Name removed due to threat of lawsuit",
Gator, SmileyCentral, eZula, CoolWebSearch, or a bevy of new similar companies find a way
to create extensions for these browsers and a way to entice users to install them without
raising any immediate alarms? Who knows, it may spawn a host of new spyware companies:
More pirates sailing on the cybersea. Yo Ho!
Will this come to
pass? I really think so. How will they do this? I don't know. I'm not a hacker. I'm not a
programmer. I'm not a pirate on the cybersea. Money is the ultimate motivator for many,
and millions of new people experience the Internet for the very first time every day.
There are always millions of new "fish" in the cybersea. Many more will make the
switch from Internet Explorer to alternative browsers. Many will make the switch not
because they want to, but because they've been "advised" to for
"security" reasons. But, the false belief that they're somehow invulnerable will
make them very easy targets for the pirates of the cybersea. As long as there are pirates,
motivated by the huge treasure that they can glean from scumware, we all should sail our
ships warily across this vast cybersea.
Personally, I will
put my trust in Microsoft and Internet Explorer. I think they'll be able to react and fix
"issues" that arise more quickly and more responsibly than a
"not-for-profit", loosely-knit group of volunteer programmers. And, before you
write and dismiss me as mad, I want to point out one thing: I am not taking anything away
from Mozilla/Firefox. It is a great browser and it has many nice features. There is
nothing wrong with using it as an alternate browser IF you use it for the right reasons.
But, to use it because someone told you it was "safer" or "more
secure" are not the right reasons. What is true today will not be true tomorrow.
Security and safety on the cybersea are transitory things. They are Illusions, spectres,
ghosts. As fleeting as the wind and as certain as the sunrise. For as long as there are
pockets to pick, browsers to hijack, and riches to pilfer, there will be security problems
and issues regardless what software you use to browse the Web.
Keep your guard up
and always be wary, because the pirates of the cybersea are just waiting to loot, ravage,
and pilfer. Don't you believe the "experts" who tell you one browser or another
is going to keep you safe from the pirates. Temporarily? Maybe. But not for very long.
Have fun, use your
head, and above all, use common sense. There's no question: They're out there. You can
almost hear them singing..."Yo Ho, Yo Ho, a pirate's life for me!".
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