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Dysfunction Junction: Microsoft, security, cronyism and a bailout nation
Posted 03/25/2010 | By: Editorial Staff
We warned you. (See our editorials Microsoft comes clean, Vista was dirty, Microsoft 1975 to 2009 your PC simplified? and The cyber buck stops where?) At the recent RSA 2010, Microsoft Vice President of Trustworthy Computing Scott Charney brazenly suggested: "Tax the internet to pay for computer security breaches."
We told you that the position of cyber security coordinator was a bad idea. We further told you that having a former Microsoftie as the cyber security coordinator was a really bad idea. Does anyone doubt that Scott Charney will get support for this idea from former Microsoft Chief Security Officer and now U.S. Cyber Security Coordinator Howard Schmidt? How about Janet “I never met a tax I didn't like" Napolitano?
When we heard this suggestion, we immediately flashed back to former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, who previously headed Goldman Sachs. He was the one in charge when his former employer needed a bailout. Different dog, same fleas. You so-called leaders fleeced us once with that, but never again.
Here are our suggestions and options to deal with computer security breaches. Unlike Scott Charney's, they contain no conflicts of interest, are devoid of all hubris, call for common sense and best practices, and require no new taxes. Yes, read our lips:
• We oppose any new tax, period, especially if it punishes the wrong source. Taxes would never find their way to a real fix anyway. It would just continue to deflect blame for a practice that is fixable and reward a company that is 30+ years negligent.
• If Microsoft really believes that money will solve the problem, then they should look no further than Bill Gates. No one has asked and answered the question: how much would it take for Microsoft to write a new, secure operating system from the ground up? Apple bought NEXT, which is the blueprint for the Mac OS X for $100 million dollars. Look where they are today (see below).
• Take your business elsewhere. It’s not hard at all to migrate from Windows to the Mac. It has been happening now for the past five years. Apple's market cap is $200 billion and growing. They now have $40 billion in cash to fund R&D; the results of this are tangible. Their recent stock price is $222 a share. Microsoft's has stagnated for the past decade around $24 per share. Microsoft's own employees favor the iPhone. What does that suggest? Microsoft has now had over 30 years to create a secure OS. The failure on their part to do this has caused great havoc and blowback to most end-users. You know it’s the beginning of the end when their head of trustworthy computing’s only solution is to tax the internet.
• It was short-sighted men of expedience who got us into this mess. It will be take men who can think and act on their feet, men who can protect their own networks without a government coordinator, a former prosecutor, a big sister or a handout. We’ll decide for ourselves how to use our own personal and corporate funds to fight cyber insecurity. You start doing your part by concentrating on protecting the government networks and building a secure OS.
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