Misleading News – Netbook Security

Recently there was an article in mainstream media about Netbook Security. The original article was posted on Reuters here and syndicated by Hindustan Times here.

This article assumes that user’s security and privacy are functions of the hardware and computing power and since netbooks are low in computing power they do not provide the sufficient security and/or privacy to users.

The security and privacy of the user is a function of Operating System and applications running on top of the given hardware. This means even if you have low computing power but robust and secure OS and applications, user’s security and privacy is enhanced without resorting to adding any artificial security measures like anti-virus and firewall which requires more computing power.

In the article the author(s) have conveniently ignored this fact and failed to provide the true facts. The article fails to get any quotes from all the players in the market including the users and only presents the views of Anti-virus and security software vendors.

Since the security and privacy of users are functions of an OS and Applications naturally if these netbooks are pre-loaded with more secure and robust OS and Applications like GNU/Linux and Mozilla Firefox, OpenOffice, etc. then the argument of more computing power does not hold any water.

In this difficult times it is even more imperative that users/consumers have choice in accessing the information at the least possible cost including acquisition and maintenance cost. A regular notebook/laptop computer costs anywhere from 200% to 1000% more then an average netbook and consumes far more power without offering any significant advantage for first time and majority users.

All netbook vendors should be encourage to provide netbooks pre-loaded with GNU/Linux and similar Free (as in freedom) OS along with Free (as in freedom) Applications which are far more robust and secure then closed source OSs and Applications which needs additional licensing cost and more computing power to enhance security and privacy of users. The netbook vendors thus should be able to save a fortune in licensing cost per unit anywhere from 15% to 40% of the hardware cost. The part of savings can be passed to consumers and part to increase their bottom line.

In the bargain if the anti-virus and security vendors are the losers we can only say – tough luck, better get into different business before it’s too late! It’s not good to mislead people with such half cooked and misleading articles.


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