Symantec and commercial spyware

I have no sympathy for the consumers of Solid Oak as discussed, if that is the right word, in the well circulated Chloe Albanesius article dramatically entitled “Update: Symantec Screwup Is ‘Worse Than Any Virus.‘”

Yes. Let’s be as sensational as possible far beyond the point of legitimacy. Good plan, Chloe. I’m sure your frothing editors at whatever brand of Ziff Davis are very happy.

If you have read this article and don’t understand what I mean when I say that the customers have it wrong to deploy spyware to police their systems, please allow me to explain. If you are deploying the cliche-named cybersitter or snoopstick, of course they should be detected and disabled by default. They are spyware and have the same behaviors as other spyware.

Institutions intending to control the content of web, and other internet traffic, need to have a captive portal approach with content management or they will fail. Treating the workstation as a trusted resource, in nearly all cases, is a mistake. Unless a lot of time and effort is spent in its deployment using technology that has been developed for this purpose, it is always going to be a piecemeal and fault-prone solution.

To get a handle on network traffic, you must take steps to secure your network and not focus on the weakest link that is the workstation. Instead, institutional consumers would be best served by looking into proxies that provide content management to control website destinations, malware scanning, and allowed application traffic.

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