Justin Guitar Community

Tools of the Trade => Computer & OS => Topic started by: Dan Graves on September 05, 2012, 02:06:32 am

Title: Uhoh
Post by: Dan Graves on September 05, 2012, 02:06:32 am
This isn't good news at all : http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/09/03/phishing_without_hosts_peril/
Title: Re: Uhoh
Post by: Dan Graves on September 24, 2012, 07:11:28 pm
And again, uhoh, this time for Google : http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/09/24/google_go_trojan/
Title: Re: Uhoh
Post by: Cue Zephyr on September 24, 2012, 11:53:06 pm
Interesting read, I'd almost switch to Mac.

Thanks for the share, Dan.
Title: Re: Uhoh
Post by: Majik on September 25, 2012, 12:40:23 pm
The Mac isn't invulnerable to viruses, trogans, and malware. In some cases it is more vulnerable. The "virus free" thing is a myth that Apple and their fans like to spread and boast about, but it's absolutely untrue.

What is true is that, historically, Unix and Linux systems tend to be more secure because, architecturally, they are designed to support multiple simultaneous users with different privileges. This generally means that any virus or malware limited to the users "sandbox" rather than being able to run riot across the whole PC. But that doesn't mean they are invulnerable.

You should also note that, as browser capabilities increase in order to support ever more sophisticated web sites, so does the opportunity for attacks that reside within the web browser. These might not do nasty things to your PC directly, but are still capable of stealing passwords and other personal data.

I believe the first threat in this thread applies to all platforms including the Mac.

If you do want to move towards a more secure environment, rather than spending out on new hardware, you might want to try one of the modern Linux distros, many of which are very easy to install and use, and which are free. Ubuntu is the most well known one, but I can also recommend LinuxMint which is based on Ubuntu, but which gives a bigger choice of "look and feel".


Title: Re: Uhoh
Post by: Cue Zephyr on September 25, 2012, 01:05:14 pm
I knew it wasn't malware-free but I thought it was at least a bit better than on Windows.

I can't switch to Linux because I need either Mac or Windows for applications I need for college and hobby.

Thanks for the heads-up and excuse me for my ignorance. ;)
Title: Re: Uhoh
Post by: Majik on September 25, 2012, 02:17:47 pm
It's a very common point of view, so no apology needed. Some things to bear in mind:

* Of all of the hundreds of thousands of "malware" threats out there, the huge bulk of them are historic.

Bear in mind Windows (in various forms) has been with us for around 25 years. Viruses and other malware have been developed throughout this time.

In particular a huge number of these viruses, worms, etc. were developed in the late 90s and early 2000's fueled by a dramatic rise in the use of the Internet, accompanied by the high levels of security nativity  in the early Windows OS and apps (early versions of Outlook and Outlook express, for instance, were totally insecure and were the target of tens of thousands of malware attacks). It was also more common back then for PCs to be connected directly to the Internet rather than via a firewall/router which made them far more vulnerable. Modern broadband routers block a lot of stuff.

Most of these are no longer applicable or effective on modern versions of Windows. Modern AV software will check for them anyway.

* Most AV software checks for malware from other platforms

So when the virus database on your Windows AV package shows a large number of updates, these may be updates which include Linux, Android and, yes, even Mac malware protection as malware can be transferred to and from other platforms via various means such as email attachments. There are, for instance, AV packages for Linux. >99.99% of the protection they provide is for other systems.

* In the last few years of hacking competitions, the Apple Macs have been the first systems to have been hacked. The sheer number of viruses for Windows is much higher but, in general, Macs have been proven to be less secure. There is some truth that Mac's haven't had the market share to be a target, but that seems to be changing: the recent high-profile cases of Mac malware incidents suggest that malware authors are starting to see the Mac as a target.

* Despite reports to the contrary, Linux has been a huge target for security attacks for years.

It may not have much penetration in the traditional desktop market, but based on a fairly recent survey of the top 100,000 websites in the world (http://www.acunetix.com/blog/web-security-zone/articles/statistics-from-the-top-1000000-websites/), Linux is used to host as much as 94% of the worlds websites. Website hosts are in many ways more vulnerable than desktop PCs as they are always on, connected constantly to the Internet with big pipes  and, by definition, have to accept unsolicited communication attempts (where desktop PCs typically block anything unsolicited). One reason Linux is considered to be me more secure is a substantial history of having to deal with a constant onslaught of security issues in challenging environments.

I will add there are a huge number of alternative apps for Linux which replicate most of the functions available in commercial software and, in a lot of cases, have file compatibility with them. It's also possible to run some stuff under Wine.

However, if you need to use specific commercial apps like Photoshop, or to do some activities like hardcore gaming, then Windows is your only choice (although Steam have recently ported their game engines to Linux and under testing have achieved significantly better better performance than on equivalent Windows platforms).



Title: Re: Uhoh
Post by: Cue Zephyr on September 25, 2012, 04:19:47 pm
Hey Keith, thanks a lot for the insight.

Yes, my college includes the use of applications like Photoshop, but also it's other Adobe family members such as Premiere, Flash, Illustrator and After Effects. They specifically teach those programs. Heck, even Cockos REAPER if I'm not mistaken.

Not a gamer at all. But I'd imagine that something like REAPER could possibly run better under something like Linux. I know it's different from a game but it's also processor intensive. But I could be wrong of course.