Eightball and Thundercloud's RANT

Our Little Rant by Eightball & Thundercloud
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Oh What A Tangled Web We Weave

Oh what a tangled web we weave,
When first we practice to deceive!

- Sir Walter Scott, Marmion, Canto vi. Stanza 17

Sir Walter is probably rolling over in his grave. Tangled Web indeed! Not only have we weaved a tangled Web but a tangled world as well. It's the only world we have but it's not likely any one of us is going to untangle it. But. we don't have to like these tangled webs.  And, I don't. It makes me wonder: "What in the world are we doing? And, where exactly are we going?"


I am certainly glad I am not the parent of a adolescent child these days.  With all the uproar over Janet Jackson's Super Bowl wardrobe failure just over a year old, I would have thought that American television would have gotten the message. Apparently not.

The Levitraź TV commercial is a stunning collage of stupidity, bad taste, and tactless content. In this tasteless commercial, a smarmy, groveling, middle-aged woman, with all the class of a five-dollar hooker, fawns unabashedly over a man while babbling incessantly about the virtues of "the quality experience" that Levitra provides. Whatever happened to women's liberation? What happened to love?

Making brief and baffling appearances in scenes which must have been shot either by a drunken cameraman or filmed with intentionally bizarre camera angles - a man, who looks like the type that spends far too much time primping - and is all too well acquainted with the fawning of drooling females - smiles oafishly while this woman prattles on sycophantically.

The man and the woman are, no doubt, the epitome of Hollywood cool. That makes me glad I don't live anywhere near Hollywood.

Now, it's bad enough that some advertising firm was actually paid good money to dream up such drivel, but it's even worse when this piece of rubbish is shown during the 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm time slot. This is the time of day when many families might have a chance to watch TV together. I am trying to picture myself the father of an eleven or twelve old boy or girl and watching this commercial with them. I wonder how I would answer the inevitable questions such a commercial would spawn: "What's 'erectile dysfunction' dad? Can we watch MTV now?"

A tangled web indeed. Does anyone care anymore?.


Oh goodie. Now that the anti-Microsoft faction has pounded home the message to the masses about the virtues of the Firefox browser over thirteen million people are using it. It seems the best features of Firefox is that it is like Internet Explorer but without the vulnerabilities. Best of all, Microsoft didn't make it.

Firefox is a nice browser, to be sure. And, when it was in only the hands of the geeky and serious computer freaks it was great. Now, that Firefox is a major player and has been pushed, ad nauseum, into the eager hands of the common folk - there is heap-big trouble is brewing on horizon.

Ironically, the browser that is being applauded by those in-the-know and anti-Microsoft fanatics alike, will be the browser that will pave the way for a new breed of spyware and adware, more sophisticated and more insidious than ever before. In a way Firefox and its disciples will be to blame for creating a brand new generation of slimeware. The likes of which we've never seen before.

Here's what Richard Stiennon, Vice President of Threat Research for Webroot software (developer of SpySweeper) had to say:

"...Stiennon said while spyware for (Internet) Explorer has become widespread and relatively easy to create, it will be the more advanced spyware writers who turn their sites on Firefox. "It'll be the more sophisticated guys that'll write Firefox spyware," he said. "I predict that by the middle of the year, we'll start to see it." Stiennon also said Firefox was created specifically, in part, to avoid the kind of spyware that has riddled Explorer along with worms and adware. "Firefox was written for the existing world of Internet Explorer exploits, but it has its own vulnerabilities that will be exploited," he said. ..."

And as we have said many times before, if you think one browser, one email program, any one application is going to keep you safe, you're living in a dream world. Firefox has now entered the big league and and now will have to play big league ball..

Here's what we wonder: The two top programmers for Firefox have left to join Google. Firefox had only twelve paid programmers to begin with, are they now down to ten? What will Firefox do when the avalanche of slimeware aimed at it starts rumbling down the mountainside? Will the ten or twelve programmers and their minions - volunteers all - spend all their time trying patch security holes wage a daily battle against the new breed of spyware that is coming? Or, will they simply throw their hands up and join their buddies at Google? If they stay and fight, just how long do you think it will take for them to issue patches once the siege begins? A month? Two months? Six months? A year? Never? Well, with all its faults and all its meanderings, Microsoft has the will, the money, and the programmers to keep pace with the miscreants who would seek exploit all the flaws in its software.They might always be a step or two behind, but they're never that far behind.  I'll put my money on Microsoft for now. I don't think Firefox has a chance in a war with spyware developers. When Google releases its browser, Microsoft Internet Explorer might have serious trouble maintaining its already eroding market share.

The next generation of slimeware will use what we call "installation by deception". Indeed, several major slimeware companies have already modified their Web sites and installation routines to implement "installation by deception". The tangled Web will grow more tangled still. And,  thanks to Firefox for allowing this to happen. By allowing browser "extensions" they've opened a door that they cannot close. Sorry, Firefox, I'm afraid your glory is fleeting and your kingdom not sound. Google? Are you listening?

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