The Continuing Decline Of Email

Dan Gillmor’s current post on about MyDoom is interesting reading as are some of the comments attached to the post. Dan writes that he doesn’t open any attachment that arrives in his email that he hasn’t specifically requested. I also adopted this policy some years ago and I think it has served me well. Unfortunately it means I automatically have to delete most of the emails my mother sends me (which usually have an e-card or something attached). Is my mother the only one in the world who does this?

And internally at MS, most people now send a link to a Windows Sharepoint Teamsite to share a document, rather than attaching it (which of course saves our bandwidth as well as reduces the threat of a dodgy attachments).

However, some of the people commenting on the site believe users shouldn’t be blamed for opening files containing virus-laden attachments. Instead, some argue, Microsoft should be blamed for allowing so many security holes in Windows / Outlook. Someone called Lee Riemenschneider even suggests that virus writers might be “trying to compensate for a lack of action by the courts in limiting Microsoft’s anti competitive business practices and are fighting the next PC revolution“ and draws an analogy between the virus writers and the Boston Tea Party. No-one yet has mentioned RSS as one of the antidotes. Where is Scoble when we need him?! 🙂

Comments (5)

  1. moo says:

    We already have spam in IM boxes, and RSS feeds.

    Wait until RSS feeds get rich content 😀

    I managed to use a unicode exploit in a yahoo chat room to get around a special delimiter filter to embed an image and flash object. Can you imagine the damage and advertising potential 😀

    Basically I recoded the page bypassing the blocked character sequence.

    Thats the risk of internationilized applications and rich content formats.

    To me email is the last option for communication or persistent communication.

  2. KC Lemson says:

    I’ve seen far too many slashdot threads where they seem to think that outlook’s design is that it will see an attachment on a message and automatically execute it without user intervention. With misinformation like that, who needs the truth? The truth is boring.

    And I agree with Mr/Ms moo, it’s just a matter of time until the evildoers figure out ways to exploit the other communication mediums.

  3. Scott says:

    KC: For a while there was a big risk with some of the HTML and scripting exploits and Outlook specifically with the preview pane. If your first experience with anything is bad, are you more or less likely to try it again? re: /.ers – I think their belief that Outlook is auto-executing attachments is commendable. It shows their belief in humanity and their willingness to think that no one, after all of the warnings and press coverage about clicking on attachments in email, is stupid enough to click attachments. 🙂

    I quit using Outlook for personal email years ago, I either use a web based client or Thunderbird. Outlook had far more functionality than I needed for personal email. I "preview’ any attachments by looking at the name of the attachment. Anything with vbs or scr as an extension gets deleted right away, which was a pain when I was helping a guy with some WSH admin scripts, exes get saved and scanned.

    For the most part though, IM had supplanted my need for email.

  4. moo says:

    I only use outlook express for usenet as outlook 2002 still cant handle NNTP feeds. It cant even handle RSS feeds.

    Im tired of rich content in emails when its NOT needed same for chat clients, its not needed. Thats the problem with such software, Mr.fancy pants gets behind a compiler and codes crap.

    I make a client, it works it works well, no fancy bloat, if they want they can use some spasticated client with knobs n whistles and run crying its not working and wonder why.

    Look at yahoo, they cant even parst the text out of html, its a simple matter of scrapping the HTML coiding and just outputting the text, its not hard for normal people but it is for them apparently.

    I select plaintext option but half the time i dont get it.

    IM is spamm central now, Blogs are also being faked, so is web content. Next up RSS Feeds.

    I remember 7 years ago approximately there was ZERO commercialism on the internet now its riddled with it. That was the days of MOSAIC browser on SunOS.

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