Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Back to Windows (sigh!)

I forgot that the firewall product I need to access the corporate network from home only works from Windows. Sigh! I can attest, however, that Ubuntu Linux runs perfectly on an HP Pavilion DV4000 laptop, and that installing Ubuntu Linux has the side-effect of wiping the disk clean for re-installing Windows XP so that you don't re-infect yourself right back again...

So, I re-installed XP, re-installed the HP applications DVD, then let XP load its updates. Then I installed three products -- an antivirus product, an anti-spyware product, and a firewall product. None of these are from those %^@#$% incompetents at Symantec who made the Norton Antivirus that failed me (those morons aren't getting a dime from me). Then I started re-installing applications from scratch via CD or directly from the web site of the vendor (I did *NOT* install any files from the previous install, since the probability that anything was rootkitted approached unity).

Rather than Firefox and Thunderbird, I am now using Opera and Eudora. Firefox and Thunderbird have over a hundred vulnerabilities listed in the last year alone, and over 20 worms and viruses have been developed to exploit those vulnerabilities. Opera has a total of 17 vulnerabilities listed in the last three years, of which only 4 would allow a system compromise (and none of which were ever exploited before Opera Software closed the hole).

When I get home this evening, I am going to restore my data from my backups. Before I do this, I will first scan everything with the prophylactic software that I just accumulated to make sure there are not, e.g., any macro viruses that have been inserted into word processor files (%@#$ Microsoft! Data files are supposed to be DATA files, not executables!). Note that my backups live on a Linux server, so I don't have to worry about autorun auto-running a virus off of my backups...

Will this stop my laptop from being compromised again? Of course not! Windows suckitude simply can't be patched no matter how many security products you throw at it. But dumping Symantec garbage and zapping Firefox/Thunderbird will certainly help... as for the rest, I will continue to maintain good backups, and foresee yet another system erase/restore cycle at some point in the future before this laptop is retired in May of next year in favor of a new one (mostly because I'm wearing it out -- the letters are starting to wear off of the keys, and the paint on the touchpad has been rubbed off all the way down to the plastic).

Meanwhile, my Ubuntu Linux server simply keeps chugging along... I run apt-get from time to time to update it, and that's that.

-- Badtux the "Windows sucks!" Penguin


  1. I say it's time to celebrate. Fire up the grill and cook the Firefox. Then you can chase it down with the Thunderbird.
    As for the suckitude of Windows, well Badtux sweetie, the best we can do is pull the virus-battling shades and deal with it for now.

  2. I forgot that the firewall product I need to access the corporate network from home only works from Windows.

    Same here, so I keep one dual-boot system around for when I need to do my work stuff. When it's not being used for work, it's booted up in Mandriva.


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