TechPublishing Now MS Certified

TechPublishing Now MS Certified
Professor Robert McMillen, MBA Microsoft Certified Trainer and Solutions Expert

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Who are the worst people in the world? Programmers.

There have been many people accused over the centuries as being the "worst ever". It is easy to point out Hitler, and other war criminals, but we live in the internet age. This is an age where most people under 40 have never played a record album, and most under 20 have never played a CD.

By that reasoning we have to place the blame of who are the worst people in the world on terrorists. Terrorists cause terror and cost money, along with murder and mayhem. I would say that although a person who bombs other people are horrible people, I think the worst people are the ones who never strap on a bomb but also cause terror in their own way.

The worst people in the world are programmers. Yes that is what I said. Is it all programmers? No, but most of them. Just as not all lawyers are bad, but many of them are. Lawyers just aren't as bright as programmers, although some are more ambitious. I've known many of both, so I know of which I speak.

Think about programmers for a minute and what mayhem and murder they have caused. Lazy anti social programmers tend to work at night when no one else is around. They like it that way. They don't really want to talk to anyone else. They do communicate through email and instant messaging, along with other ways to other programmers, but they really don't want to talk to anyone to collaborate on mundane issues such as security of their code. They sleep most mornings because they can, and work at very odd hours compared to most people. This anti social and anti collaborative behavior leads to some serious mistakes.

Programmers are so lazy they don't write most of their code. They copy and paste other programmers code to save time. They don't want to be bothered to do it right. I have seen countless examples of this in my job as an IT consultant. Some programmers cause outages by copying sample code from other programmers and  neglect to even replace the sample code with the proper words for the program they are writing!

What is the result? Their sloppy code causes vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities are constantly exploited by hackers. Hackers are also programmers. This leaves us with basically two types of programmers: ones that are too lazy to write code properly causing weakness, and the ones who exploit it.

According to Kaspersky Labs, hackers steal over $1 Trillion dollars from the world every year. They do this by exploiting weaknesses in code to lure people to their death in Nigeria, steal data and hold it for ransom in Russia, turn millions of computers into drones and zombies to attack helpless websites of businesses and governments. $1 trillion dollars is the GDP of many countries combined. There is no other industry, other than oil, that makes that much money. And don't forget, hackers don't pay taxes.

Here are some examples: hackers infected millions of computers and used it against the country of Georgia during the short war with Russia. These infected drones included unsuspecting computers in the US which ran denial of service attacks against banks and government sites so they couldn't conduct business. This is tantamount to  murdering innocent Georgians.

China stole terabytes of data from the US Dept. of Defense. This means they have the basic knowledge of all of our attack plans and defensive systems. This could mean they may be able to block our ability to shoot down their missiles if they decided to attack us in the future. They did it by cracking programming software vulnerabilities. This means all 300 million of us could be wiped out because of programmers.

Antivirus companies are also complicit in having lazy programmers that cost money. McAfee antivirus released a bad patch that caused all Windows computers at Intel to think that key Windows files were attacking the computer. Every employee at Intel was down for an entire day. Think about what that cost Intel and our economy! Intel got their revenge about a year later when they bought McAfee at a fire sale discount to avoid being sued for the losses Intel faced.

Microsoft of course is no better. When Windows 2000 was released many years ago it was reported by a security company that there were 64,000 programming bugs. Even after their first service pack there were still 4,000 bugs in the software. Windows XP through Windows 8 releases are said to be no better. Why would a software company decide to release an operating system they knew would cause businesses to fail by being attacked? Even if they weren't attacked they at least cost businesses billions in lost revenue due to outages. That is also enough to bring terror to any business.

Anonymous and other hackers have attacked many unsuspecting websites and have brought them to their knees for years. They choose people they don't agree with and decide they are judge and jury and bring innocents down. What makes them think they have the right to terrorize companies and governments with whom they disagree? The other thing about programmers are that they are cowards. When Anonymous announced they would attack websites of Mexican drug cartels, the cartels scared the hell out of them to the point where they retracted their statement that they would attack the cartels.

Programmers are the cause for countless businesses to go under by infecting computers and stealing data. They are the true terrorists, They can launch a nuclear bomb, or steal what they want at will. Another website this week said that all 50 million of their subscribers were hacked and risked losing their identities to hackers. They can steal your bank account with that kind of information, and also open up credit cards and put you into crushing unbelievable debt. That is real terror!

If the lazy programmers that write software were to tighten their code, work during business hours when they can collaborate on security with others, and raise the quality of their work, require certification or education minimums, then the hacker programmers wouldn't be able to terrorize us. It takes 2,000 hours to get a license to cut hair. It takes zero time to say you are a professional programmer.

Whether it's creating software or breaking it, programmers have cost us more money and terror than any terrorist bombing could have ever committed, and they will continue to do so for many years and decades to come. Not even the worst characters in history were able to do that.