I have a good friend of mine – Sandi Hardmeier who has spent many a day fighting some of the worst spyware out there in the wild. A lot of her work goes unrecognised, and at times when it is recognised, it’s done without clearing naming “the MVP from Australia” who has yet again saved many a person from infection. More often than not, she gets no recognition at all as the sites infected do not wish to even acknowledge that they had a problem.
Many times, Sandi via her blog will alert the world to some pending threat – the most recent here in Australia was within the last few weeks when the Ad network supply ads to the Sensis group of sites, including whereis.com.au, yellowpages.com.au, and whitepages.com.au. Sandi was the first in the world to detect it, and once she had confirmed it set about notifying Sensis so that they could remove the offending adverts. Ok – so Sandi saved the world again, what did Sensis do to repay her – Nothing, Nada, Zip. Sure – they mentioned her in a thank you email but what does that do to pay the bills? Think of the damage that would have happened had this gone unnoticed. How many hapless individuals would have had their computers infected simply by visiting a “safe site”.
The long and the short of it is that she does this without requesting payment at all. She has saved many VERY large companies from embarrassment, including earlier this year when the ad network that feeds Microsoft’s own Instant Messenger product became infected. Again – for no payment.
What do I want from you, you might ask – nothing for personally at all. But here is a community warrior that is fighting the good fight and not getting paid for it at all. So – what I would ask, is that if you feel so inclined to go and put a few dollars into Sandi’s PayPal account [email protected]. And to the corporations that she has saved, open your cheque books and offer her something decent. Give the woman a true thank you not just some token mention in an email. Heck you probably don’t even realise that during the day, she’s not even employed for an IT company, but instead works for a legal firm supporting their IT Infrastructure. If you’re one of those big corporations, you might even want to offer her a job helping to protect your interests! She is obviously very skilled at detecting and understanding these things.
I can tell you one thing though, people can only keep on fighting the good fight whilst they don’t need to think about how to pay the bills. Once they need to think more about money than the job they like doing, the stop to do it. Think about that for just a little while.
Update – 27/11/07 – Vlad has something to say about this too – http://www.vladville.com/2007/11/should-free-content-creators-be-commercially-compensated-for-giving-away-things-for-free.html