If you are running Windows right now…

… I urge you to do these simple things right now to protect your machine:

  • RUN WINDOWS UPDATE. Install any and all critical updates. If necessary, install the latest service pack, reboot and re-run Windows Update. It’s so darn easy to do and yet people don’t know about it.
  • Get a decent piece of anti-virus software. Whatever came with your computer is probably crap, or its automatic update licence may have expired by now. Get yourself a copy of Norton AntiVirus or Mcafee Virusscan. Like Coke vs. Pepsi, the choice is yours.
  • Don’t use Outlook Express for e-mail. Outlook Express is like drinking through a straw with holes in it. Use Mozilla for browsing, mail, news, IRC, or if you don’t want to leave your beloved exploit-filled Internet Explorer behind, just install Mozilla Thunderbird for e-mail. Built-in free and effective spam filtering will be your reward.

I’m writing this because I’m amazed at how many bloody unpatched machines there are out there. It just happens that I was up until 2am last night de-worming, cleaning, updating, and patching Sandy’s co-worker’s laptop. It had three different worms on it, all of them expoiting the DCOM RPC exploit from August. One of them was an IRC bot, so likely someone was remote-controlling their machine to do distributed denial-of-service attacks. Sigh. And of course they were running plain-vanilla XP Home connected directly to their DSL provider, with some very outdated virus software that came with their computer and had never been updated.

On the upside, I now know how to defeat nefarious worms that frickin’ close windows while I’m trying to use them.


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One reply

  1. Absolutely, running Windows Update religiously is necessary in this day in age.
    OTOH, how often does Mozilla get to release a new build…?