One of the worst Internet viruses in Asia happened this week and proves once again how much duct tape keeps the Internet alive.
For the Blaster worm, one of Beijing's local television stations reported on Wednesday and Thursday night that calls to Internet support desks spiked in the last couple of days as more unpatched computers became infected with the worm. The worm uses an exploit that was patched by Microsoft already, but that many errant administrators still have not installed.
The hard truth of all this is that there are some pretty awful computer administrators and technicians working in our industry–a technical school diploma and Microsoft certification are not enough credentials anymore to prove that one has the ability to command an enterprise network. But then some might argue that their expertise is fine, and it is Micro$oft that is flawed–this is just an excuse though for not doing one's job (again, the argument can go both ways).
For those bona-fide network administrators watching all this, you're probably either thinking: 1) Who the heck are the lazy administrators who did not patch the computers in the first place; 2) What does it take to train users to not infect themselves; and 3) Why don't people use Linux already?!
Except for the first question, the other two don't have easy answers. We've met real, live technology investors who didn't know what FTP does or means; we've met digital media ad agency executives who have no firm grasp of what CPM means or how it relates to online ad campaigns yet they spend millions of dollars annually on behalf of their clients; we've met telecom business development folks who don't understand why simple WAP can't accept moving, animated images; and we've met computer programmers who couldn't grasp that sometimes a web address does not need to be prepended with "www" in order to work. So if all these so-called Internet experts don't know fundamental things about their own niche of the Internet industry, how can we expect normal, non-technical users to grasp quasi-technical concepts like downloading new virus definitions?
Maybe technology is moving too fast. Perhaps we need to slow down the pace of development in order for the masses to catch-up. Maybe we, ourselves, need to catch-up too. Each day the industry has new developments, and keeping on top of advances is mind-boggling. Keep in mind many companies have now hired Chief Knowledge Officers just to maintain a level of preparedness for the future.
You use duct tape to patch a hole in a hurry. And our daily lives are a mishmash of duct tape: buzz words to fill in gaps in our own knowledge, press releases to cover corporate financial flaws, and anti-virus software to plug bad operating systems. And when things break again, you add more duct tape. And today, most of the daily Internet work we do goes through lots of this duct tape–in fact often the servers we send email through have more software on them to stop holes, viruses, and flaws than actual software to perform the sending of an email.
In the end, there is money to be made from filling in the gaps that occur in the great leaps of technology. So in the meantime, we just need to prepare ourselves for the future and try not to fall into the holes.