Wednesday, 2 July 2008

BBC churnalists fall for another marketing stunt

Spam experiment overloads inboxes (BBC News, Tuesday, 1 July 2008)

The hidden message is: buy McAfee's software or you're screwed.

Surfing the web unprotected will leave the average web user with 70 spam messages each day, according to an experiment by security firm McAfee.

Surfing the web, in the usual sense of visiting web pages, cannot attract spam by itself. If you visit a dodgy web site operated by spammers, they can see your IP address, but they can't find out your email address, unless you tell them. After tracking down more reports on this meaningless experiment, I found that participants were encouraged to do just this.

surf without spam filters

Huh? The person who wrote this may know the meaning of the word "without". Well, one word out of four is not so bad, not for the brilliant, well-informed boys and girls from the technology section of BBC News.

By "websites were installing malware" they may be referring to drive-by downloads, due to the Windows Metafile vulnerability. What is conveniently ignored is that Mac OS and Linux are unaffected by this. Also unaffected are most browsers running on Windows that are slightly less crappy than that pinnacle of crappiness, Internet Explorer. The article does not mention what platform and browser were used in the experiment, perhaps because this would not serve the business interests of McAfee. But one can guess.

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