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Tech's all-time top 25 flops

Tech's all-time top 25 flops

These pivotal moments are the history you don't want to repeat

1. Security. Computers influence every aspect of our business lives. We trust them implicitly to manage our records, compute our figures, and facilitate our communications. When will we ever learn?

Thirty years into the personal computer era, and it seems like security is only getting worse. Computer viruses and worms, though simplistic in comparison to any useful application, have proven as resilient as the common cold. The Web, e-mail, and instant messaging have given criminals unprecedented opportunities for fraud, scams, and electronic spying.

In 2007, corporations lost customer data to cyberthieves like never before. And today's vast digital repositories make for very juicy targets that can be copied onto a few DVDs slipped unnoticed in a jacket pocket. If auto manufacturers approached safety the same way that software makers handle security, we'd all be driving Ford Pintos and Yugos. And airline security would resemble the "systems" that buses use to catch fare-dodgers.

Now that we've built a digital world on an insecure foundation, the solutions for security are really hard -- maybe too hard. We may just need to live with the fact that computer technology is largely unsecure, so caveat utilisator.


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