90th birthday party done

Do you have worms?

Ah, what memories of childhood that brings back. Seems that was the first thing a mother thought of when faced with a fidgety child.

No, my comment was tongue in cheek, I meant computer worms of course. More of them in the news, the latest targeted to Windoze 2000 systems. What often happens is Microsoft finds yet another security flaw so dutifully releases a patch and the "hole" it covers over. Someone reads about the problem and figures out a virus or a worm to exploit it. Whether you're affected usually depends on whether you've applied the patch. And therein lies the snag. Used to be these people took months to write their code to attack your system. Then it became weeks. Now it can be a matter of day.

Microsoft has tried to automate the patch update process, but some people don't do updates ever. Perhaps they'd prefer to not let Bill Gates access their system whenever he wants. Maybe they have an illegal version. They may not do backups either - they're the hardest hit - as are their friends. I had a friend a few years ago like that -not only did her computer send out SPAM, but it faked my email address! So I got lots of angry emails from people on her address list, accesing me of infecting their systems. Her excuse? Too busy to upgrade her system. Others are part of a corporate network where updates and patches are controlled by the IT group. Unfortunately, the group often needs a few weeks to assess the impact of the patch on their specific configurations, and coordinate a roll-out strategy. In the meantime -systems get infected and bring the whole network down. When I was in that situation a few years ago I ignore the rules and enabled firewalls and did the updates on my own - but many employees aren't foolhardy knowledgeable enough for that.

But enough for now - I'm feeling fidgety and need to head off downtown looking for adventure


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