So Much for Self-Enforcement

We live in a world of ideals. Unfortunately, you won’t find many of those ideals in the real world.

Case in point: businesses have the ability to recognize their own problems and enforce proper security measures on their own to make sure that their customers are protected.

It seems like we’ve heard this argument before. Politicians saying that businesses don’t need the EPA overseeing changes; companies telling their stockholders that they can enforce policies better than any government organization.

And then what do we get when we believe them? We get stuff like Enron and BP spills.

In a much smaller way, this trust in business to do the right thing can also lead to vulnerabilities in computer software. Every software developer will say that it has created programs that will allow you to work more efficiently without compromising your security. But are these promises true? Or are the developers making promises about subjects they know very little about.

Recently, Microsoft decided to do a little of its own investigating into the security features of software and apps created by other companies. What they found should not surprise you.

  • Facebook has a vulnerability to clickjacked links
  • Picasa has a vulnerability that can allow hackers to take control of certain features in the program, allowing them to publish and change pictures

Hey, not exactly millions of gallons of oil covering the sea, but still something that Internet users must pay attention to on a daily basis.

That we have to rely on Microsoft to unveil these problems is particularly concerning. Google (which owns Picasa) and Facebook should be more forthcoming. We all know that nothing is perfect. We just want to know what risk we face.

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