Proprietary Software Is Often Malware
The point of this page is that the initial injustice of proprietary software often leads to further injustices: malicious functionalities.
Power corrupts; the proprietary program's developer is tempted to design the program to mistreat its users. (Software whose functioning mistreats the user is called malware.) Of course, the developer usually does not do this out of malice, but rather to profit more at the users' expense. That does not make it any less nasty or more legitimate.
Yielding to that temptation has become ever more frequent; nowadays it is standard practice. Modern proprietary software is typically a way to be had.
As of July, 2021, the pages in this directory list around 500 instances of malicious functionalities (with more than 610 references to back them up), but there are surely thousands more we don't know about.
- Back door: any feature of a program that enables someone who is not supposed to be in control of the computer where it is installed to send it commands.
- Digital restrictions management, or “DRM”: functionalities designed to restrict what users can do with the data in their computers.
- Jail: system that imposes censorship on application programs.
- Tether: functionality that requires permanent (or very frequent) connection to a server.
- Tyrant: system that rejects any operating system not “authorized” by the manufacturer.
Users of proprietary software are defenseless against these forms of mistreatment. The way to avoid them is by insisting on free (freedom-respecting) software
. Since free software is controlled by its users, they have a pretty good defense against malicious software functionality.
The security research firm accidentally leaked instructions on how the flaw could be exploited but Windows users should still wait for Microsoft to fix the flaw, if they fix it.
Please note that the article wrongly refers to crackers as “hackers”.
The software used in the treadmill is proprietary and probably includes back doors to force software updates. It teaches the lesson that if a product talks to external networks, you must expect it to take in new malware.
Please note that the company behind this product said they are working to reverse the changes so people will no longer need subscription to use the locked feature.
Apparently public anger made the company back down. If we want that to be our safety, we need to build up the anger against malicious features (and the proprietary software that is their entry path) to the point that even the most powerful companies don't dare.
“The Free Software Foundation (FSF) is a nonprofit with a worldwide mission to promote computer user freedom. We defend the rights of all software users.”
Updated: $Date: 2021/07/15 07:21:12 $