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 And of course they were running plain-vanilla XP Home connected directly to their DSL provider, with some very outdated virus software that came with their computer and had never been updated.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.

 

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…?

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