Software and OS developers should take responsibility for security

Posted by   Virus Bulletin on   Feb 15, 2008

While 51% of users say computer security should be the responsibility of the user, nearly a third of users feel it is up to software and OS developers.

According to a recent poll, 51% of visitors to the VB website think that end users should be held ultimately responsible for computer security - but another 31% feel it is the responsibility of the developers of software and operating systems to make sure their products are sufficiently robust in the first place.

While Microsoft has made efforts to emphasise security in its products since the inception of Bill Gates' Trustworthy Computing initiative six years ago, its efforts don't seem to have had much of an impact on end-users' perceptions - one respondent said: "Large companies, such as Microsoft, need to set security as a priority, not an afterthought."

Respondents also criticised developers for a lack of information available to end-users in an easily accessible format. PC consultant Jim Hill says: "There is a basic conflict between convenience of use and computer security that can never be fully resolved, just as locks on doors are less convenient than open doors. To the extent that software and OS developers are unwilling to create secure products, they have a moral responsibility to educate their end users in a way that is far more understandable to the user than, say, Microsoft's security bulletins."

Clearly, software and OS developers, the security industry and governments/law enforcement agencies all have a part to play in computer security, but without arming end-users with the relevant information in a format that is clear and accessible to all, there will always be a hole in the loop. Those of us in the security industry would do well to remember that not all end-users are fully conversant in technical speak - any technical translators out there?

The results of the poll can be seen here.

Posted on 15 February 2008 by Virus Bulletin

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poll security vb
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