Musings of an anonymous geek

March 17, 2005

Laughing in the face of digital danger

Filed under: Technology — m0j0 @ 3:21 pm

A recent BBC article reports that network security researchers have discovered that over 1,000,000 home user PCs have been hijacked by viruses/worms/trojans to collaborate, forcibly, on bringing down websites, spread spam, and propagate viruses. Networks of collaborating “zombie” computers called “botnets” are formed from these machines, the largest of which was 50,000 computers working in perfect harmony. I laugh at these reports…

Microsoft regularly issues patches to help mitigate the security risk involved in running pretty much any one of their products. This in spite of constant lip service indicating that security is the “top priority”. I smile at the quaint, old-fashioned updates, viruses, trojans, botnets, and all that stuff. I haven’t dealt with it in years….

Don’t ask me to fix your windows PC folks. I don’t run it. I haven’t run Windows in about 6 years now. I have just about everything else, though. I have a Mac, a few Linux boxes, a Sun Ultra 5, and some other pretty random stuff. It hasn’t held me back — au contraire. I do all of my audio and video on my Mac, and I do just about everything else under Linux.

Think about it. Does it really make sense to spend how ever much Windows costs now, and then spend another couple hundred bucks to get an office suite (free with any Linux distribution), then spend another several hundred bucks to get graphics editing (free with any Linux distribution), and then spend some ungodly amount of time and money trying to keep your pictures, your email, your files, and your machine safe from malicious attacks? I say no.

And have you been to CompUSA lately? There is an ENTIRE aisle DEVOTED ENTIRELY to tools that you have to BUY to work around flaws in Windows… which YOU PAID FOR! This is absolutely mind-blowing. I walked down the aisle and looked at all of the packages, and I have to say that, while some of them were pretty ho-hum, a lot of them were things I had never heard of in my life! There’s something called a “windows cleaner”. It’s a “disk cleaner”. WTF is that?

By the way, did you know that defragging a disk is a Microsoft thing? Yeah, I don’t do that. Popups? I haven’t seen one of those in three years! Viruses? Yeah, the dopey kids who write those don’t know about cross-platform development, so they only work on…. you guessed it… windows. Trojans and worms? They tend to exploit services which are basically programs that run in the background on your *windows* box. I’ve never had one under either Linux or the Mac.

To be fair, Linux *can* be made to look just as nasty from a security standpoint as Windows. Wait. Actually… I can’t think of how to do that, really. Um — disregard that. I don’t think that’s possible. Maybe the Mac, though. 😉

I understand that many, many people *have* to use Windows at work, but at home, I hardly see a reason to use Windows. I’m not saying “use Linux”, I’m just saying “get the hell away from windoze”. If you have reasons to stick with windows (besides Dreamweaver and games), list them as a comment here — maybe it’ll be enlightening to others who come here and see that they’re not alone.


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