sábado, 9 de octubre de 2010

Thank you, Linux! My Windows computer is infected

That's right. My desktop, which runs Windows, is infected and I blame Linux.

As it normally happens in these cases, this new infection in my XP system can be traced back to user carelessness. However, I think that calling me "careless" is not fair for I did everything on the book (and more!) to keep a Windows machine healthy:

1. I have an updated antivirus, which runs full scans when I turn the PC on.
2. My firewall was up and running.
3. I have additional anti-malware software for protection.
4. Firefox is my browser and I installed add-ons for extra security.
5. I neither open suspicious email attachments nor visit questionable sites.

Since I was not careless, I am not the culprit. However, if I did something wrong, this is it: I have been flirting with Linux for over a year. Yes, Linux is guilty, not I, for the infection of my Windows computer!

Let me explain: After a whole year of using Linux (mainly Mandriva, but now Mepis because of an experiment I indulged in), my security sense became somewhat softened. After all, I do not use any antivirus to go online with Linux and the computer has never gotten infected during all this time. In addition, USB viruses cannot jump onto the hard drive and, thus, I suppose I grew over-confident. But it was not my fault! Linux made me do it!!

I used this public computer and saved a file onto my USB drive. Then, because I am accustomed to working without any concern thanks to Linux, I forgot to check the USB contents. When I returned home, I booted my desktop computer in Windows and plugged the infected USB drive.

Since Windows XP has become a little slow, I went for a cup of coffee and, when I returned, my computer was behaving in a way that I had not seen for quite long, yet not one I can call completely unfamiliar. My firewall was flashing alert messages crazily, the antivirus could not be updated, and the system froze on me as I sat dumbfounded. As you can see, THE PENGUIN NUMBED MY WINDOWS SECURITY SENSE!

Had this happened two years ago, my reaction would have been one of total despair and indescribable suffering. I would felt miserable anticipating the days trying to restore my system and I would have probably called myself a large assortment of expletives.

Today, all I can say is...THANK YOU, LINUX!

Yes, thank you, because Windows is boiling with viruses and I just do not care. Linux has taught me to relax when Windows is infected because my productivity is not brought to an abrupt halt. Even when Windows is down, my computer can WORK!

I am not irresponsible; I am realistic. According to this post, awareness is paramount during a computer infection. I am aware that MY COMPUTER IS NOT INFECTED; WINDOWS IS. As a matter of fact, I can boot this same PC in Mandriva and work normally, unaffected by the condition of the Windows partition. I think that it is far more irresponsible to make people believe that Windows problems are equivalent to PC problems. That is misinforming the public, you know?

Oh, but the author also suggests that I should be concerned about my files. Well, if I need a particular file, I can access the sick Windows partition and retrieve it with Linux, so, why to worry? Let the viruses feast on the OS that cannot protect itself appropriately for a while. When I can spare four days or so, I'll take care of the pesky little hungry thingies. Right now, I am extremely busy and have no time to lose babysitting an OS that, like a spoiled child, selfishly craves for undeserved attention.

16 comentarios:

  1. Even though I'm still baffled by your extremely relaxed reaction after knowing your Windows partition is infected, I must agree on one point: Your computer is not infected; Windows is. I think you made a very good point there.

    People normally say "my computer is broken" but actually the computer is perfectly fine...it is Windows the only thing that is broken. It happened to one of my students when his great Win7 Starter failed. Even though I showed him that his computer was perfect and ran Linux without any problems, they told him "the hard drive is damaged"...and he believed it!

    ResponderEliminar
  2. Yes, I have the same problem. I have several dual boot computers at home and at my office. I have a small tax practice and use windows when preparing taxes. So when I boot back into windows, I too, leave my guard down. I have a Windows7 desktop @ the office that would not connect to the internet now matter what I tried. So not knowing if this was a hardware problem or software - I ran Linux, via CD, and low and behold had zero problems connecting. So of course it is Windows that is the problem - not the computer. Esteban Lopez

    ResponderEliminar
  3. @ Esteban Lopez,
    The sad reality is that, in Windows, you can never have be careful enough.
    What Linux distribution did you use to test the network? I'm asking because many people complain about getting connected with certain distros.

    ResponderEliminar
  4. Loved your post. Although I'm 25, I've been using Windows since it coexisted with MSDOS and living with it's bumpy evolution... I'm using Ubuntu 10.10 since today and Ubuntu in general for 3 years. However, I don't know why, I grew more and more suspicious of Windows and every time I boot Windows, regardless of automation I immediately turn Windows Update and ESET Update... So I live in two completely different worlds, one of them full of paranoia. You couldn't be more accurate on the babysitting metaphor (or euphemism)!! I know this blog is talking about Mandriva, but Linux is Linux! Long live it! Abraço de Portugal.

    ResponderEliminar
  5. @ João Duarte,

    I described this state of paranoia here:
    http://mandrivachronicles.blogspot.com/2010/07/computer-paranoia.html
    By the way, congratulations on your new Ubuntu! How is the Meerkat behaving? Don't worry about this post being Mandriva-centered; I appreciate thoughtful comments here. Muito obrigado!
    I might not be very fond of Canonical, but the only public computer running Linux I have seen in my country was an Ubuntu system and, let me tell you, I WAS GLAD! You said it yourself: Linux is Linux ;-)

    ResponderEliminar
  6. Since I started using Linux, I no longer have to take blood pressure medication.

    ResponderEliminar
  7. What a nice chance to play with legacy software. Instead of spending four days rebuilding the box, why not try to make a virtual machine with VirtualBox, which comes with most distributions. If it works, you can save out a copy, so that wipe and reloads are as easy as copying a file. You also might try X forwarding it, so you can share it with yourself and never have to walk to the Windows machine again. Good luck rebuilding the toy OS, with a little creativity you might even have fun doing it.

    ResponderEliminar
  8. Thank you for the suggestion. The problem is that I have not been able to activate VirtualBox USB support in Mandriva, so I cannot have the fun of seeing USB viruses jumping to Windows ;-)

    ResponderEliminar
  9. はは 先生!Really funny post, keep up the good work!

    ResponderEliminar
  10. I never thought about it in that way. I know very little about Linux, but it seems to work excesively more efficiently than any other operational system does. I have taken my computer several times to the computer store to have someone fix it, and all they say is that the computer is broken. Therefore, I usually pay big amounts of money to fix it. It is interesting to look at it in the way that the computer never fails; what really fails is the operational system that we have to buy without any other option at the time we buy the computer. Then, the problem seems to be that Microsoft operational system creators benefit from making their own products fail.
    Robles, M.

    ResponderEliminar
  11. I really do not know much about Linux; however,I know, from experience, how inoperant, slow and victim of its own created viruses Microsoft can be. I have been a easy mark of this program that destroyed one of my most valuable documents. Now that I am so close to adquire a new computer, I cannot wait to dissapear the Windows program that that new computer as the major of them have and see Linux installed. Based on all the amazing comments I've heard recently about Linux, I would like to see it working and to see how good it is. Anyway, I survived to Microsoft. Darroyo

    ResponderEliminar
  12. Is it possible not to feel extremely worried about my computer whenever I am using it? This post is introducing me (Microsoft user) to an unknown world! New viruses threats appear nearly every week on my computer, specifically in the OS, and I wouldn`t say that I am careless user. To have an update anti-virus and to be especially careful with social engineering are important precautions, but there is always a small detail that I fail to notice, no matter how many computer safety measures I take. Something as simple as reading an email can be risky; that is why I was surprised when reading an article named “Note to new Linux users: No antivirus needed” written by Joe Barr. As stated in the article, Linux is not “bulletproof”, but users must go through several steps before allowing a virus run in the computer system. Disappointedly, most Windows’ users are not aware of the advantages that Linux has; moreover, the media and Microsoft seem to obscure the benefits that people can find in the world of the open source software.
    Díaz,C.

    ResponderEliminar
  13. Alarcón, J

    Please, Linux! Be my new Operating System

    As many users of Windows, I have experienced difficulties and losses of important data as a result of viruses which easily jump onto my hard drive. Even though I consider myself a careful user, my system was not immune to viruses, and it started having trouble a month ago when my computer system restarted again and again inexplicably. What you point out is completely true, the computer technician blamed the hardware for the problem; in fact, he made buy a new hard drive and even though he also reinstalled Windows, my computer was unable to come to life. Suspiciously,since I started to have problems as soon as I used my USB drive in my desktop computer, I attribute the operating system failure to the lack of protection and susceptibility of Windows to filter viruses, even when I use an updated antivirus software . Right now, I do not know if the hardware of my computer is really damaged, or the use of Windows as OS is guilty for the failure. I wonder if a new OS as Linux can bring back to life my computer and also protect my sister`s lap top from those “little hungry thingies” that have started causing trouble recently to her computer. I would like to be a Linux immigrant as you and stop babysitting and spending money on my spoiled computer all the time.

    ResponderEliminar
  14. No viruses for Linux? Could that be real? Is Linux the cyber “Paradise Lost”? These were my questions the first time I heard about Linux. It is true: Viruses are the terror for many Windows users that have seen several times how their computers just don’t boot in Windows even when they were careful. I have cried over the dead body of my computer several times (at least that is what I thought before reading this post). I have mourned for my files that were inevitably doomed after a virus infected my computer. We have became so dependent of Windows that we never realize that there are many other OS that would give us the relaxing and almost impossible feeling (at least for those ones, including me, that have never tried another OS besides Windows) of opening a file without the horrible fear of opening a new gate between Hell and Windows. Considering this, I want to feel the same tranquility that you have when opening a file even though it could mean that I would infect my Windows some times, but… well... Windows is just a cloud in the cyber sky…
    NGuillén

    ResponderEliminar
  15. Since I got my computer, I've been asking lots of people for advise about what anti-virus I can use. Since I know little about computers, I've never been able to dedice by myself what anti-virus I should install: some people tell me to use McAfee, others to use AVG (since it is free), others to try Panda, and others to install Norton. In the end, I always go crazy because I just can't determine who is right and who is not because all the people I've asked are supposably experts on the issue; therefore, I wonder: "why is it that I get different answers everytime I ask this question? What should I do?"
    Well... after reading this post, I guess I can rest assure and forget about those questions and their answers: Instead of finding answers, I guess I've found a phrase that says it all: Thank you, Linux!
    Gómez, E.

    ResponderEliminar