Re: Stupid users (was Re: Is there a term for this?)

Subject: Re: Stupid users (was Re: Is there a term for this?)
From: Steven Jong <stevefjong -at- comcast -dot- net>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Sat, 11 Feb 2012 11:29:13 -0500

(I sense this is rapidly turning into a skirmish in the ongoing OS holy war, and hasten to get my shots in before the moderators stop it… 8^)

Defending Snow Leopard, the eponymous Phil Snow Leopard wrote (I summarize):

> 1. *You* are not in control of your computer, the OS is. What it saves, when it saves it, what appears on your screen and when it appears are out of your control.
>
> 2. *You* are not in control of what is stored on your computer.
>
> 3. Lion is *hugely insecure*

I agree with your points 1 and 2, but the problems created by the OS capturing everything you enter are much less prevalent than the problems created by an OS *not* capturing everything you enter. (Hey, I've seen the viral videos of presenters whose pornographic screen savers start up during their presentations while their backs are to the screen, and I know that's going to happen to people when they start their programs in front of the boss. In the larger scheme of things, I don't care.) I think worrying about what is and isn't captured is outmoded thinking, like worrying about what command lines are being generated under the desktop facade.

I did not know but accept your point 3, with the caveat that you're only talking about the security of the data after the machine is physically stolen, which is a special case. In the real world, there are many more weak links to be worried about: the fact that the most common password is 123456 (not mine, I added a seventh digit 8^), the unprotected Wi-Fi link, the possibly insecure links to cloud storage, and, with another OS that I won't name, the prevalence of actual trojans that will steal your data while you're downloading pornographic screen savers.

(False story: I was saying at lunch just the other day about how I never use my credit card over the Web, as I handed my card to the waiter…)

I will also say "hey, wait a minute!" to your arguing that Lion is hugely insecure *unless* you use FileVault which is very secure.

It strikes me that Apple might well flip the switch in an upcoming release and turn FileVault on by default, forcing us all to have secure disks. Some people will doubtless complain that we're being denied the choice of keeping our data insecure. Some of the rest of us will have to write "12345" on slips of paper and hide them in our top desk drawers 8^) The tech writing connection is that some writer at Apple will then have to write a very clear, friendly treatise on how to select a password that is secure but memorable, so the casual home user won't panic and forget it when their hard disks crash. (That's likely to be me 8^)
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