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Re: New Microsoft Video

Michael B. Trausch wrote:
wd wrote in <pan.2006.> on Sun, May 28
2006 13:28:

(oops... my mistake)

The public should be shown this video. The upbeat woman at Microsoft is
saying that Windows has over 65,000 viruses, some which have even been
created by "criminals"?  Amazing.

Linux advocates should produce a video about viruses also
(similar theme: professional persuasive spokesman/woman) --

"Microsoft claim that computers are susceptible to viruses.  A lot of
viruses.  65,000+ viruses, some of which are even created by *criminals*.

But lets take a closer looks at the facts... [explain that dealing
with viruses is not a normal part of computing, and discuss alternatives]"

Many people have problems with believing information that flies in the face
of what they consider to be a fundamental truth, however.  People think
that a computer is a computer is a computer if they are the lowest class
of "end user."

And to that end, they will believe that Microsoft knows what they are
talking about more then somebody who has worked with UNIX considerably. Could you imagine what would happen if the current owner of Bell Labs were
to start attempting to refute FUD? How many people would realize that the
history of Linux, UNIX, and other like UNIX-like systems has always been a
degree more secure then Microsoft systems?

Think about it.  Security on DOS?  The question makes me laugh.  Windows
3.1?  Windows 9x?  Consumer versions of Windows NT?  Don't get me wrong --
security has improved marginally with every generation of the Windows
family of systems.  However, UNIX-like systems have been around for years,
and have had a model of security for a longer period of time then Microsoft
has been around.  How old, for example, is the concept of the root user vs.
the regular users?

Sure, there may be the case of a root-exploit on a UNIX-like system, which
becomes greater and greater with frequent use of daemons that are running
as 'root.'  The point, really, is that it is tons easier to manage security
on a UNIX-like system, even without modern advances such as access control
lists, chroot jails, and so forth.

I also like the AOL ads on TV: basically something like, "spyware,
viruses are everywhere... you need AOL to protect you"

Those commercials make me sick.  I hate the fact that AOL makes the
insinuation that their users are incapable of making smart decisions.  Now,
granted, this may be a case for a disturbingly large subset of the public,
but not nearly as much as I think people would have one believe.

I think that in a sense, some of those ads could even be considered to be
outright lying -- just as any ad that claims that viruses are "just the way
things are in the world."

If there are 65,000+ (or 100,000+) viruses for Windows, and just a tiny
handful for other operating systems, something is seriously wrong.

Now, if Linux were the predominant operating system in the market, people
would probably spend more time trying to get into to the system.  However,
given a properly configured system, the "traditional" virus isn't that much
of a possibility.  Breaking into Linux systems may become a bigger problem,
but that would be the way things would work as more people learn how to do
do thing.  Hopefully, more of those people would have altruistic
motivations, and find ways to fix what is broken.

Also, if Linux became the dominant operating system, there would probably be
more attempts at social engineering to get into systems, as opposed to the
traditional breaking and entering that takes place on computer systems.

However, that remains yet to be seen.  I do, however, believe that we may
see it -- even if Linux is not a majority player in the market.

        - Mike

I have the book "The Fugitive Game", which describes the antics of one Mr. K. Mitnick. In it, he describes how he "broke in" to computer systems, and I paraphrase:

"Most of what I did, was talking to somebody else over a telephone line. A gullible human being, usually a secretary. I'd pretend to be like, a phone engineer, and get passwords etc. I'd end up, ninety nine percent of the time, with the information I needed before I even powered up my system."


It doesn't matter how secure a system is/pretends to be, human beings will always ALWAYS be the weak link. You might think that your 150wpm-touch-typist-secretary-of-the-decade out there is the smartest cookie alive, but even s/he falls for it sooner or later. Hell, I've read parts of that book that made me laugh and cry at the same time. One of the top cybercrime investigators in the FBI who was chasing Mitnick boasted that his field notebook was unbreakable. He plugged in and dialled up to the FBI database. Right after he'd logged in, his notebook crashed. Mitnick had beaten him, through his secretary, to the punch - and inserted a targetted virus onto his account. His computer became a paperweight in no time flat.
The funny ending to this story, is that right after this happened, Mitnick called the room they (the FBI) were in and informed them that he was bored, and was on his way out the door to turn himself in at the field office /across the road from where he was sitting/.

When all else fails...
Use a hammer.


Some people are like Slinkies
They serve no particular purpose
But they bring a smile to your face
When you push them down the stairs.

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