Friday, August 11, 2006

Microsoft security - no more second chances?

Microsoft security--no more second chances? : CNET

Microsoft is fighting the security weaknesses in it's front line OSes but is it too little too late?

Ever since Bill Gates announced Microsoft's Trustworthy Computing initiative four and a half years ago, the company says it has reshuffled its development priorities. Cool new features were to take a backseat to improved security and privacy.

Yet the problem lingers. In the last three years, Microsoft has issued an increasing number of yearly security bulletins, in which several patches get put online to fix problems in existing applications. The company sees this as evidence that it's on top of things, not an indictment of managerial incompetence.

It'll be fascinating to see if Windows Vista can really make the grade in terms of security. If it can't then I'm sure most users will not stomach another 6 years of security hell.

If you're a Windows user then I emplore you to install the following:

1) Windows XP SP2 or Windows 2000 SP4 (if you're using 95/98 or ME then consider upgrading or switching to Linux or Mac)
2) All the latest Windows updates, keep running Windows Update until no new updates are found.
3) Window Defender Beta 2
4) Lavasoft AdAware
5) Anti-Virus - AVG & AntiVIR are good free options
6) Firefox (it's much safer than IE6)

If you have none of these installed already then the chances are you're contending with pop-ups and viruses on a daily basis. Your system is probably so badly infested that you're distributing viruses and spam without even knowing it. If you fear that your system has been compromised I suggest you run Sysinternal's Rootkit Revealer. Rootkits are a spyware's best friend, they sit underneath the OS and are almost impossible to remove. If you have one then the best option is to format and re-install. Once you have a fresh install then you'll need to install the software listed above (that usually takes about 4-5 hours).

If you're running a Mac with an Intel chip and you've decided to run Bootcamp or Parallels then bear in mind that you'll need to take these precautions too if you want to protect your Windows install.


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