Friday, September 12, 2008

Malware: Whether on the Desktop or the Web, It’s a Perception Thing

Malware will ruin the user experience ...

"Since the advent of the World Wide Web and the growth of ecommerce, social networking, and Web-based applications, greater connectedness and interaction have characterized the personal-computing user experience, both between users and between users and their far-flung applications and systems. It’s not a very daring prediction to say that the amount of connectedness and interaction will continue to increase, offering users many new varieties of user experiences.

In this column, I’ll explore the user experience of malicious software, or malware. My position is that, like many qualitative attributes, malware is in the eye of the beholder. And, I’ll suggest a method that product or service developers can use to assess the risk that their users, the media, or the market at large might perceive their offerings as malware.
What Is Malware?

The term malware refers to an application that causes either perceived or actual harm to a user’s data, software, or hardware or exposes a user’s data or personal information in ways that the user did not intend or is unaware of.

While this term originally applied to desktop applications, it can also apply to Web sites or Web-based applications. While there is typically less risk that Web sites or Web applications might muck up users’ computer systems, the risk that users’ personal information or data might be shared, exposed, or sold without their consent and understanding is probably higher. Often, the price of using a Web application is providing personal information or allowing data to reside in the cloud."    (Continued via UXmatters)    [Usability Resources]


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