BBC Team Exposes...its Windows-centricity (Again)

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There's something of a brouhaha over this report from the BBC:

Software used to control thousands of home computers has been acquired online by the BBC as part of an investigation into global cyber crime.

The technology programme Click has demonstrated just how at risk PCs are of being taken over by hackers.

Almost 22,000 computers made up Click's network of hijacked machines, which has now been disabled.

The BBC has now warned users that their PCs are infected, and advised them on how to make their systems more secure.

The issue for many seems to be whether the BBC was right to infect people's machines for the purpose of “educating” them about about the vulnerabilities in their systems. I don't want to address that here, but a different point: that nowhere in the article does the word “Windows” occur.

And yet, I'd be willing to bet that none of those 22,000 machines ran GNU/Linux or Mac OS. Because the fact is, that the vast majority of machines on botnets are running Windows, and that this is yet another problem caused by the Microsoft monoculture.

But nothing of this is mentioned in the BBC piece. Instead, it is presented as if botnets were some inevitable part of computing life – something you might get, just as you might catch a cold, because, hey, these things happen.

This is, of course, nonsense, born of spending too long putting up with the Blue Screen of Death and other artefacts of the Windows ecosystem. Using an operating system that is designed to be secure – like GNU/Linux or Mac OS – greatly reduces the risk of having your machine hijacked in this way (maybe not to zero, but it's better than nothing).

This means that an important point to make in this context is that moving to one of these platforms is a great way of increasing your security.

The fact that the BBC failed to mention this in the report is just the nth example of its biased, Windows-centric reporting, and undermines any credibility it might otherwise have in this area.

Now read: Did BBC break computer misuse act with botnet?

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