Computer users, beware. The head of the world‘s largest software company worries that consumers who make Internet purchases have become too complacent about the risks of financial fraud and stolen identity.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said in an interview with The Associated Press that a calm period without significant Internet attacks has lulled computer users, even older Web surfers who traditionally have been more anxious than teenagers about their online safety.
"I don‘t want trepidation high, but on the other hand I want people aware of what’s going on and taking appropriate precautions," Ballmer said Thursday. "I‘m afraid that may have declined, a little too much."Ballmer and other technology executives, all part of the Washington-based Business Software Alliance, met in Washington with congressional leaders and members of President Bush’s Cabinet to lobby over Internet security, foreign trade and protections against software piracy.
They also met with AP reporters and editors for a broad-ranging conversation about future technologies, downloading music, keeping children away from online smut and general Internet safety."Convenience is improving rapidly. Things I might have been a bit hesitant to do a couple years ago, I‘m willing to go a bit further with today even with some security concerns," said Stephen Elop, chief executive at Macromedia Inc., which makes popular drawing software and programs for animating Web sites.
The executives said parents should teach children to avoid the Internet‘s seedier neighborhoods. Ballmer said one of his sons carries a laptop to school every day and spends hours online unsupervised."We need to oversee and use technology and teach our children what’s appropriate," Ballmer said. "Some of it‘s still going to have to come from parents kind of teaching their kids what’s right. That was true even before the Internet."