sábado, 28 de agosto de 2010

Are these actually PC problems?

When this blog was born, I wanted to record everything I was learning from computers. I believe that a computer is a great tool when it works on your side and not against you.

Since I started recording my experiences here, I have seen many problems and read a lot online about many more threats. Interestingly, they are all reported as PC issues. Among the most common situations one can find:

1. Rarely are USB drives clean. It doesn't matter what your antivirus software tells you (AV technologies catch in average 19% of threats according to statistics). Once those jump into your HD, prepare for a whole lot of fun trying to remove them.

2. Portable Hard Disks are not immune to USB viruses. USB viruses think of them as gigantic flashdrives.

3. Security is almost a synonym of insecurity. Even the highly-praised MS Security Essentials got hit and cooperated with viruses!

4. You must be prepared for your system to fail, be it due to a system failure or a user-caused problem. Sometimes it will happen sooner than expected. How about four months (as in this case)? Well, that should give you a reasonable time span for you to make your back ups... Being computers fallible and vulnerable, users should bear and grin when these problems occur.

Well, I disagree. I also bought a netbook four months ago. It is, by definition, a PC, but it has not crashed so far. It does not get infected regardless of how many hours I spend online everyday or how many infected USB drives I plug to it (I have seen 53 different viruses in two weeks). So, it is secure. When people ask me about my efficient antivirus, they open up their eyes in astonishment as they hear that I do not have an antivirus because my OS protects me; it is is my antivirus.

An experienced reader who goes online under PJCOLON once said: "It's disconcerting that when the so-called technical publications report on malware, trojans, botnets, etc, it is always a PC problem they never call it out for what it really is: A Windows OS/application problem. I'm using a GNU/Linux powered PC and I do not have any malware problems. Do you?"

So, PJCOLON is right. Those in the list are not PC-bound issues, but OS problems. The press should start reporting them as what they really are: the intrinsic flaws of Windows, not of PCs. My Mandriva desktop has none of those. Nor does my Mandriva netbook. As far as I have heard, the other members of the Linux family (Mepis , Pardus, Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Fedora, Sabayon, Arch, and the rest) that run on PCs stand solid against viruses.

However, before you migrate to Linux, you must know that, as in any change of OS, a successful migration depends on intelligent choices and understanding of the situation. I will discuss that later.

5 comentarios:

  1. Two of the biggest security problems I see are, first, the sheepish acceptance of viruses by many users. They don't seem to understand that computer viruses are not innocent, natural life forms infecting computers but tools ESPECIALLY DESIGNED BY CRIMINALS in most cases. By letting their PCs become zombies, they are helping crime. Of course, maybe that does not matter much to some Windows users because they are breaking the law themselves with their pirated Windows copies.
    The second problem I see is the blind trust of many users towards their AV software. I have seen cases of people who literally swear their USB sticks are clean "because my anti-virus told me" and then can't believe it when I show them their "clean" sticks infected with sometimes more than one virus. That's exactly why many users fall for the fake antivirus scams online! They just believe everything without questioning it.

  2. Yes. That is my neighbor's case. Her computer is infected and I told her about the thin layer of protection that AV software provides, but she prefers to entrust her Vista computer to the antivirus. Now that she has a cable connection, it's just a matter of time for her OS to start crashing "mysteriously".

  3. @Megatotoro & Mechatotoro; Our students appreciate the warm, sincere welcome recieved from both of you. From ALC, Thanks, it really makes a difference.

    Carla Schroder writes for Linux Today publication; very good read. 2 examples of writing which is on topic:

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz: "It has become clear that there are coordinated attempts to undermine the purpose and goals of the Free software movement, which includes GNU/Linux, OpenOffice, and various compatibility and interoperability layers such as Wine and Samba. The site aims to look at these newly-introduced issues and resolve those that are fuelled and funnelled through disinformation and manipulation."


  4. @ Pjcolon,

    Thanks for sharing those amazing pieces! They go along with the old saying in Spanish: "No hay peor ciego que aquél que no quiere ver". The reply Ms. Shroder got for her email is simply nerve-racking. That's either an example of irresponsible journalism or an indication of conflicting interests.

    Regards to ALC students! :-)

  5. Best regards to the ALC students and teachers. You all make little miracles possible.