Compromised in 20 minutes

Paul

09-22-2004, 05:35 PM

20 minutes is all it takes for an unpatched Windows PC to be infected by malware after connecting it to the internet. This is what researchers at the Internet Storm Center found out. So if you just bought a new Windows PC, make sure you patch all the security holes and install all the necessary security software before connecting it to the internet. Read the whole CNET article here (http://news.com.com/Study%3A+Unpatched+P Cs+compromised+in+20 +minutes/2100-7349_3-5313402.html). It also includes a link to a guide to patching a new Windows system (http://isc.sans.org/survivalhistory.php) .

reon

09-22-2004, 10:00 PM

windows machines with internet explorer are more likely to get worms and virii than other configurations simply because of the fact that hackers write these malware especially for windows and internet explorer.

for example, judging from market share alone, it’s a safe bet that macintosh computers will have about 2,000 percent less chance of getting virus than windows machines. but most people can’t readily change operating systems.

so a good practice is to use a relatively uncommon browser like firefox (http://www.mozilla.org/products/firefox/) and opera (http://www.opera.com/) to surf the net. you’ll lessen the chance of a hacker exploiting a security hole in a popular browser like internet explorer.

of course, regular patches from microsoft is a must. windows update from microsoft’s website only works with internet explorer, by the way.

reon

Paul

10-02-2004, 02:11 PM

windows machines with internet explorer are more likely to get worms and virii than other configurations simply because of the fact that hackers write these malware especially for windows and internet explorer.

not exactly true. if you have a firewall installed, take a look at the log and you’ll see that most attacks don’t have anything to do with internet explorer. you’ll see port scans, and trojan horses looking for a way to get in through windows’ numerous security holes. it’s because windows ships with a lot of ports open. it’s like a house full of cool stuff inside in the middle of the Bronx with doors and windows (pardon the pun) wide open.

for example, judging from market share alone, it’s a safe bet that macintosh computers will have about 2,000 percent less chance of getting virus than windows machines. but most people can’t readily change operating systems.

it’s not because of the market share (read Muckracking, the PC way (http://www.infowarrior.org/articles/2003-08.html)). it’s because it’s so much easier to create viruses for windows. there are more than 71,000 viruses for windows. for mac os x? none…yet. unless you’re running proprietary software that runs only in windows and has no mac alternative, there’s no reason why you can’t readily change operating systems. macs with os x work fine in a windows network environment right out of the box. it’s even easier to set it up for pc networking than a pc running windows :). i don’t have any problems opening and editing windows files on my mac. and if you really need to run windows, you can do it on a mac using virtual pc.

so a good practice is to use a relatively uncommon browser like firefox (http://www.mozilla.org/products/firefox/) and opera (http://www.opera.com/) to surf the net. you’ll lessen the chance of a hacker exploiting a security hole in a popular browser like internet explorer.

firefox and opera are not uncommon browsers. and the only reason why almost all windows users use internet explorer is because it’s the only web browser bundled in windows machines when you buy them. and you can’t even get rid of it.

of course, regular patches from microsoft is a must. windows update from microsoft’s website only works with internet explorer, by the way.

in a mac, the software update software is separate from the web browser. which is just logical, right?

i don’t want this to be mac vs. pc thing, i just want to point out some fallacies that most pc users have come to believe because they heard it from a friend of a friend of a friend of their cousin. i also use linux(fedora), freeBSD, windows xp, windows 2000 even windows 98 at the lab. i spend a lot more time making sure my computers at the lab are secure and free of viruses than my powerbook at home. i don’t even have any anti-virus software on my mac and i just use the built-in firewall of mac os x.

so choosing a secure platform should be a no-brainer, right?

reon

10-03-2004, 10:37 AM

Hello Paul,

first off, i’d like to state the fact that i was a macintosh user and still is a macintosh supporter, although i use a windows machine now. my first mac was a color classic ii, below. has anyone seen a cuter windows machine? i doubt it. in fact, “cute” is not a word to describe a computer running microsoft windows.

http://www1.odn.ne.jp/kudar/Junk/images2/LAN14.JPG

i had a succession of other macs and the last and most powerful one one was the power macintosh 6100/66 dos. it had a whooping 66MHz PowerPC 601 processor, 8MB of RAM (which i upgraded to 48MB), a very spacious 250MB of had disk, and a dos card that could run windows 95.

http://www.pattosoft.com.au/jason/Articles/HistoryOfComputers/PowerMac6100.gif

having used both windows and macs for many years, i can say that using a windows machine cannot compare to the experience of owning a mac. a pc running windows is just a bunch of electronics. now, a mac, well, a mac is different. people owning macs develop an attachment to their machines that is more like friendship, like owning an affectionate pet. if computers are pets, a mac is a faithful dog, while a windows pc is a fish in a tank of water. it might be useful, but you don’t hug it once in a while. and you pc users out there might be surprised that some mac users really do hug their macs once in a while (especially if it’s a color classic or an imac).

i still remember with fondness all the macs that i’ve ever owned, like my pets, while the windows pcs i had were nothing more than motherboards and pci cards.

so…

to answer your post, market share do have an effect on the number of malware attacking a system. i figure that hackers who code viruses and worms for windows are windows users themselves. for example, onel de guzman, who wrote the i love you virus, wouldn’t even consider coding a virus for the mac, as he’s not familiar with it. and even hackers who are familiar with both platforms would have to write their viruses for windows to maximize their damage and spread to as many machines as possible.

i’m sure that macs are more secure than windows. this is a fact. but it seems like an anomaly that there is virtually no virus that attacks the mac. i would think that maybe, mac users are busy doing productive work than wasting their time writing malicious code. and if you’re a macintosh hacker, would you even consider writing a virus that would infect the cute imac? :slight_smile: i don’t know. but having known a few mac fanatics, i would think that if it ever occured to them to write a virus, they would definitely write it for windows machines. :lol:

by “relatively uncommon” i mean firefox and opera’s market share is small compared to internet explorer. and it’s true that this is because ie comes bundled with windows and people don’t bother to get a new browser. i personally like firefox more than opera, and is my default browser. it has that rebel character in it, like the mac, and is gpl software and free. some web pages require internet explorer so i use that, too. it’s always good to have a choice.

reon

Paul

10-03-2004, 12:38 PM

hi reon,

i remember that color classic of yours. do you still have it? 'coz i know people who would still pay good money for that. and yes, you’re right about the looks of macs, most of them are cute, but some of them are real sexy. and yes, a lot of mac users do get affectionate with their macs, they even have pet names for their macs (thank god, i’m not one of them). and it is a fact that people who use macs for work are more productive because they don’t have to deal with OS problems as much as windows users.

about the hacker thing, though, if i were a virus creator, i’d become real famous if i could make the first virus for mac os x. and if i were a windows user at that, it’d be one hell of a triumph, don’t you think? unfortunately, the difficulty of writing a virus for mac os x lies in the fact that running underneath that cool GUI is none other than UNIX. how many viruses have been made for unix systems compared to windows systems? considering there are a lot of *NIX programmers and hackers out there. another reason why it’s far more secure than windows is the fact that Darwin (os x’s version of unix) is based on freebsd, an open source OS. and with open source, it’s easier to discover and plug security holes because you virtually have an army of developers around the world.

sorry, i missed the “relatively” in your post about the browsers. i also use firefox as my default browser for windows and safari in my mac, but i also have firefox for mac installed. the live bookmarks feature of the 1.0PR version is very useful. safari (http://www.apple.com/macosx/tiger/safari.html) also has a similar feature for the version included in the upcoming version of os x, Tiger (http://www.apple.com/macosx/tiger).

nick

12-26-2004, 03:55 PM

apparently, it’s now down to just 4 minutes for un unprotected windows pc to be hijacked by an intruder through the Net.

“Plug in a new PC–and many are still sold with Windows XP SP1–to a DSL line, go get a cup of coffee, and come back to find your machine has been taken over.”

TechWeb has the whole article (http://www.techweb.com/wire/security/54201306). Lessons: 1. make your passwords harder to guess; 2. get regular security patches for your Windows machine (for English Windows XP (http://www.microsoft.com/windows/downloads/default.mspx) or Japanese Windows XP (http://www.microsoft.com/japan/windowsxp/downloads/default.mspx); 3. get a firewall (Zone Alarm offers a free one (http://www.zonelabs.com/store/content/catalog/products/sku_list_za.jsp)).

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