: : "I think it's very severe," Levy said. "It could be used to create something just as bad or even worse than Melissa, he said, speaking of a virus that swept the Internet in March."
: : - where do we want you to crash today...?
: : Microsoft; the bad dream of all good capitalists.
: I've never understood this. What is it about creating bugs and viruses that is so attractive to hackers? I mean, is there merit in causing others trouble?
If you check the article, it doesn't mention that the guy created a virus; it merely comments that he found a hole a virus could be used to exploit.
In this case (as with so many others) the security hole is due to Microsoft's inability to provide high-quality, reliable, software.
Pointing that out is no more wrong than pointing out that someone has left their front door open.
On a more general sense, dark-side hackers (also known as "black hats") do exist; and some of them like to demonstrate their power over you by destroying your data. Most real hackers disdain them as immature weenies who like destroying things for the hell of it.
The only way to defend yourself against dark-side hackers is to make damn sure that you run a tight ship, security-wise. To be secure, you need to a) run a reasonably secure operating system (like Linux or Unix) or b) be extra vigilant when using an insecure system like Windows.
The problem with Windows is that the operating system assumes you to be a technical novice and utterly uninterested in how the OS works (and how the security works); this would be fine if Windows were totally secure; however, Windows is anything but secure.
Companies usually get around it by hiring samurai and tiger teams; people whose job it is to try and break into their network and thus find security weaknesses. This is frequently a job practised by people who used to be black hats themselves; poachers make the best gamekeepers.
However, the whole black hat/white hat conflict is usually something of a game; it's a battle of wits in which data is the target.
And people who don't know their security are second-class citizens here on the 'net; I'm not saying it's good, but if you store any confidential data on your hard drive (even your phone number!) and use an insecure system, you are inviting anyone who is interested to walk off with your data.
To be frank, most Windows users are roadkill, security-wise; the only time they ever realize that security is important is when it's a bit too late...
I'm not saying it's good; but it's a power thing; by straying onto an electronic medium with no understanding of the medium, you are giving power to those who do know the secrets; and some people do like to abuse that power.
Knowledge is power; you do not have the knowledge, thus you are not powerful. I'm not saying it's right or wrong; it's merely the way it is here.
Welcome to the real world, Neo.