Closed platforms could cut high costs of fraud and spyware

Closed platforms could cut high costs of fraud and spyware

Summary: Consumer Reports found more than $8bn in online fraud, another $7.8bn spent by consumers to repair or replace computers damaged by spyware and viruses--over a two year period.

TOPICS: Security

Consumer Reports found more than $8bn in online fraud, another $7.8bn spent by consumers to repair or replace computers damaged by spyware and viruses--over a two year period. It is amazing that people still use the Internet and find it useful.

The Consumer Reports figures don't factor in the hidden costs of click ad fraud, which could be as high as one click in eight being fraudulent. Consumers pay because of higher marketing costs by retailers.

And also what about the lost time people spend dealing with viruses, spyware, spam etc. There must be several billions dollars in lost productivity that should be added to the damages caused by fraudsters and spammers. That is a very large bill to pay and yet it is one that people still seem to be willing to pay because of the other benefits.

But not everybody is going to be willing to continue to take risks on the Internet and that is a problem that the industry needs to tackle. How do you make it safe for users?

There are a number of different approaches and technologies to use. AOL, for example, could have created a walled garden, a safe(r) place for users. Instead it decided to open up to the Internet, an example of it again, choosing the wrong business strategy.

Users could be told to use security software and to keep an eye out for social engineering scames but this requires a considerable level of education in installing and maintaining the security packages.

Another approach is to create closed platforms as in the cell phone market. The cell phone service provider chooses the phones, the applications, and handles billing. A cell phone service is a more secure place than the wilds of the Internet.

Why not a GOOG or YHOO PC? It could be inexpensive, it could be sold as a service. And it would have consumer applications such as photo editor, word processor, spreadsheet, etc. It would have a browser but it would only communicate with trusted web sites, GOOG validated sites, for example.

And if it used technology such as that from Wyse, it could be set up as a thin computing system and it would be highly secure because a central server would determine what applications it would run, and prevent spyware or any other malware from causing damage or exposing users to fraud.

Topic: Security

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  • Not good to have proprietary internet

    What you are proposing is a propietary access to the Internet. That is not a good idea. It leaves too much power in the hands of potentially too few.

    When only two or three big players have almost complete control of the Internet for the masses, then all information can be either filtered or given diminished opportunities for dissemination.

    Control of news in that manner essentially provides mind control. It is better to allow the Internet to develop freely and openly.

    An alternative solution is to create grants and scholarships designed to provide open source and freely available tools to easily combat spam, malware, viruses and worms. Such software should be easy to manage but allow advanced controls if desired.

    If the right wing wants certain control packages then they should create them and market them to their constituents. Same with left wing, forward wing, rearward wing, upper wing and lower wing groups.
  • Weird numbers

    Not sure I believe these figures.
  • Seems like you're proposing a closed internet

    Tom, how would you like it if the freeway and road system only allowed you to take a bus and only allowed you to visit certain places?

    Why do people always want to see, and use, a new tool (in this case the 'net) differently from existing tools?

    Tom, why do you think AOL chose the wrong business strategy this time? I'll agree they took the wrong approach the first time (closed system, like Apple did with the Mac)... but now they're new believers in an open internet. Seems like you're faulting them no matter what they do.

    Thin clients (eg Wyse) are useful and appropriate in many situations, I believe there is a huge market with respect to providing a secure, well-managed environment for new users. But beware of jumping overboard with a new technology - one-size will never fit all.
  • Cut costs - and drastically cut benefits

    The Internet gives unrestricted access to a wide range of sources of information, goods, and services. That's why people use it. A closed system limits those choices, eliminating the main reason for using the Internet. It's like throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Most Internet scam losses can be prevented by better educating users about how to avoid them, I think that should be the major focus.
  • I would not use the internet

    you're proposing for any purpose but online banking, and since the cost associated with a closed system would probably be prohibitively high to use it for just one purpose, I guess I wouldn't use it at all. What you're proposing would probably kill the internet for all intents and purposes, but who knows, maybe that would be for the best after all.
  • Education.

    The best way to get rid of spyware is to hold Microsoft accountable for their design flaws that allow spyware to enter the system in the first place. Educating peole about this would be easier, of course, if Microsoft didn't keep promoting various useless or even dangerous bandaids as 'solutions' to what's a very simple problem... once you actually commit to dealing with the problem.

    The best way to get rid of fraud is education. AOL has always been more or less a walled garden, and yet AOL users have not been immune to phishing and other frauds. Quite the opposite.
  • Guaranteed bankruptcy... let's give 'em enough rope.
  • "google pc which talks only to trusted sites"?

    [i]"google pc which talks only to trusted sites"?[/i]

    Wow. I mean, just, wow. I am speechless. Nothing I can think of can match the stupidity of this.
  • On the other hand....

    Use a system which is both inherently more secure
    and a much smaller, moving target and sit back
    and watch the ABM and NBM crowds beat each other
    up. Works quite well for me.
  • Stalin would be proud

    This idea will go over well in China. I have no pity for these people. Security issues have been in the headlines for years and 90+% of these people still do nothing to educate themselves. like my grandfather said, if you pee into the wind, you can't complain about a wet face. You get what you deserve......
  • Proprietary Internet

    You present me with the alluring choice of an
    illegal, prosecutable thief or a legal thieving
    nanny. I'll go with the thief, and the pleasure
    of learning about security, over trusting any
    corporate structure of any kind with my Internet

    Where are the corporate IS departments, and why aren't they doing the jobs they're paid to do?
  • Compuserve Never existed ?

    There were walled gardens early on in the development of the internet. They were expensive, restrictive, failed to compete and ceased to exist. The marketing push for microsoft xboxlive restricted microsoft internet is getting a bit droneish. I shudder at the next major bug to come out of microsoft, it will be public knowledge, exploitable and sans patch for over a year and carry an add for XBOX LIVE.