What we know today as the "Internet" was just an experiment back in the early 1960s. Much of the development that happens today relies on an open architecture and the knowledge of how things work. The Internet's open architecture allows anyone, anywhere in the world, to make significant contributions to our body of information, software, and abilities.
What makes the Internet revolutionary is also the very thing that makes it vulnerable. The Internet's open architecture also offers potential for headaches. Our computers can be infiltrated by others to cause significant problems. The trouble might include:
The recent development of the personal computer (PC) enabled a single person to conveniently use applications like spreadsheets, word processing, email, web browsers, and more. These applications ran on top of a PC operating system that was designed to facilitate file sharing with other PCs. In the design of operating systems, little regard was paid to security.
The most widely used consumer operating systems--Microsoft's Windows98 and WindowsNT, and Macintosh--are proprietary, or closed. We can't tell what's going on inside our own machines. These systems were not designed so that we would need to know. They were designed to easily run programs and to facilitate file sharing.
NetAction has long been active in a variety of Microsoft-related concerns. You might be interested in checking out our archives at http://www.netaction.org/msoft/.
Microsoft's operating systems, by far the most widely used, were not originally designed to support such interdependent access as is provided now by the Internet. Nor was it designed to inform us of the nature of its internal problems. The applications have become more tightly integrated with the operating system, allowing functions (including malicious code) to move through users' files and applications without our knowledge or consent. In a twist of unintended consequences, most people are now dependent on Microsoft operating systems... which are designed to be vulnerable.
"...when taken straight from the box, most of its security options aren't turned on to their highest levels."
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