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people apparently tricked into permitting spam in

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Joined: 07 Mar 2002
Posts: 303
Location: west caldwell, new jersey, united states
people apparently tricked into permitting spam in PostFri Jun 17, 2005 5:26 am  Reply with quote  

Julian Penrod
4 Fairfield Avenue
West Caldwell, New Jersey 07006
(973) 220-1601

June 15, 2005

Letters to the Editor

Dear sirs:

As foul as it is to engage in the malignant and low, it can be just as malignant to be aware of them and not acknowledge it.

There are few unaware, now, of what many have apparently expected as the inevitable perverting of the advantage of the internet, namely, spam, spyware and adware. In all their various forms, keeping track of one's movements on the internet, downloading advertisements at will, literally hijacking a system, they have proved at least as pernicious as worms and viruses. Indeed, many likely operate the same way. Have you ever noticed that, after an infestation with spam, your computer's memory never seems as extensive as it was before, as if some unacknowledged files have taken up residence in your machine, masquerading as vital parts of your operating system, and, therefore, not easily removed!

To avoid these infections, people spend huge amounts of money on spam-blockers, virus and spyware alert software, security systems and firewalls. Just protecting one's computer from assault seems a sizable fraction of the total expenditure in the market every year!

In the face of all of this, it would not seem likely that many would be tempted to play games with the protection of their computer. But, in fact, it seems that there are a fair number who will let themselves be talked into it!

Recently, a new "service" has entered the market. Named GoToMyPC, it offers someone the ability to link to their computer over the internet and literally take control of the operation of the machine, by remote control! The commercials obligingly depict a businessman relaxing on some vacation, then being told that something they were working on is needed back at the office. Subscribers to GoToMyPC, they are able to use the nearest available computer, connect to theirs over the internet, and print out the files on their hard drive, from a distance. The speciousness of the idea seems more than eminent in the fact that this is the only scenario their commercials seem to feature, namely, someone not wanting to interrupt a vacation, even though something needs to be done back at the office! There are no other circumstances, it seems, under which GoToMyPC would be needed, yet their target audience seems more than bone-headedly willing to buy the premise that they desperately require the "service"! And how often is it that someone's vacation is necessarily interrupted by paperwork needed back at the office? And couldn't they just tell someone there where to look?

In the end, what is GoToMyPC but a systematic lowering of defenses for your computer? If you can enter your own machine, how unlikely is it that some other entity might not be able to use the same methodology to enter? Maybe while you're working on your machine! Invading software could sit in a server until it detects someone using the open gate of GoToMyPC, then invade! How unlikely is it that GoToMyPC might have an "agreement" with purveyors of spam to provide them access to a significant number of computers, at the drop of a hat?

It wouldn't be the first time that many users have had their instincts unwittingly used against them, by greedy corporate shills! When many see a web page with content they are interested in, that they will want to look over later, their first tendency is to save the page. As with so many who use their computer without knowing more than 1% about it, they might use the default settings in their machine, without knowing what they do. The Save option, for example has the default of storing Web Page Complete, that is, every attachment, applet and picture, along with the text and HTML code, are saved. Apparently aware of the vulnerability many suffer, through this impetuous behavior, the conniving seem to have latched onto the idea of attaching adware and spyware to graphic files. These are downloaded when someone Saves a Web Page Complete, infecting someone's computer without their knowing it! Saving a page as Web Page (HTML Only) doesn't download the pictures on a page, and prevents at least that form of invasion!

GoToMyPC essentially seems to provide no more protection from infection as was there before firewalls and security software were put in place, if not even less! Because the very nature of the "service" lends it to allowing unauthorized individuals to control your computer! What, for example, would prevent someone from accessing your computer while you were away, and installing GoToMyPC? The web site boasts that installation only takes two minutes! They can, then, set up their own account, put in their own user name and password, then have the freedom of entering and controlling your computer whenever they wish! The system promotes the fact that it allows complete remote controlled access to the internet, and use of email; someone using it unethically could have all your files downloaded somewhere else, then erased! Then they might download some internet material as Web Page Complete, and infect your system with hidden spam!

It appears that the members of the programming community feel they are so superior to everyone not in the community that they have an arrogant disdain for them! They seem to feel they have the right to try to foist on them anything that will disadvantage or inconvenience them! It was they, remember, who programmed spam, adware and spyware, in the first place!

The public must make their displeasure and their refusal to be used known!

They must flood editors' desks at newspapers, magazines and television and radio stations with letters demanding that they do in-depth articles on GoToMyPC and other similar "services". They must inundate politicians, from town councils to Senators and the president, with letters and emails demanding that the legality of GoToMyPC and similar services be checked! They must warn those they know not to subscribe to the "service", or to leave it, if they signed up!

Just because some contemptuous individuals may have a depraved indifference to the rights of the people doesn't mean that the people shouldn't consider their own rights!

Julian Penrod
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