What is ransomware and how do I protect my PC from WannaCry?
With Windows XP SP2, people downloading an installable EXE file will receive a warning like this click here discouraging them from running the file, unless it has been signed using a digital certificate. No doubt, major software vendors are already digitally signing their downloads. But code signing certificates cost upwards of $400 a year, which is not affordable by most freeware and shareware developers, who make little of no money from their efforts.
There are a lot of good freeware and shareware utilities around, many of which are developed by enthusiastic programmers who certainly don't make a lot of money out of it. Will you be discouraged from running shareware and freeware that displays one of these warnings? Will SP2 be the end of the road for developers who write software but don't make a profit from it?
I won't be discouraged by this but I bet many will be frightened off.
I have to admit to being a sort of parasite in cases of shareware. No!! I don't mean I never contribute - I do. What I mean is that I never install shareware that I have not heard recommended - so other keen people are doing the testing and filtering. Very bad of me I know.
Actually it's a pretty good idea to see what others say about something before trying it. That's just common sense. AZ quick Google on the product name should show if there is anything to worry about.
But I'm afraid some people are going to take these warnings at face value instead of trying to find out for themselves.
A shareware developer who just got a certificate told me that you can't get one if you are not a verifiable business entity. So any software written by students or people in their spare time is always going to be saddled with these warnings. A lot of good stuff comes from people like that.
I have cga's approach. I only download at the advise of others, who i trust. But i don't fully trust the 'warning' either, as i always suspect it's microsofts way of trying to make me buy stuff from them, or from those who have paid (bribed) Msoft. A vested interest if you like.
The warning about a non-certificated files is broadly similar to the warning about unsigned driver files which currently exists in XP isn't it?
I certainly would not be dicouraged to use and support shareware. After all most of us have got shareware progs. on our machines and they are there because they make computing easier.
We should do all we can to support freelance coders, computing would be much less enjoyable and far more work without them and their shareware.
"The warning about a non-certificated files is broadly similar to the warning about unsigned driver files which currently exists in XP isn't it?"
Yes, it is, although in the case of drivers the certificate is issued by Microsoft if the drivers meet XP specifications. The certificates for EXE files merely prove that the file was created by the company it says in the certificate.
Some people have had unstable machines as a result of installing uncertified drivers. As a shareware author myself, I wouldn't like people to get the idea that they run the same risks installing uncertificated software.
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