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How do people get so many computer viruses?


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27 replies to this topic

#1 of 28 OFFLINE   DaveF

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Posted February 12 2007 - 10:24 AM

How do people get so many computer viruses?

I've read many a thread recently about people thinking of switching to Mac because they're tired of getting viruses, spyware, malware, etc.

I've been online since there was an online. I've been using PCs and Windows on the web for 10+ years and I've had one virus at home, and it was pretty benign. Not to demean people with viruses, but what's the deal? I don't get killed surfing the web. I've downloaded my share of game demos and accessories, new drivers, etc. But I don't have any malware.

What am I doing so right? Or what is the rest of the world doing so wrong? Really, I don't get it.

#2 of 28 OFFLINE   SethH

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Posted February 12 2007 - 10:34 AM

I think lots of people get their computer with a free 1 year subscription to Norton or MacAfee and then don't renew their subscriptions and do not realize that there are free programs and free online scanners. They still have an antivirus program, but it is well out of date and they don't realize how much that matters over time.

Also, lots of people don't update their operating system with patches for whatever reason.

It really doesn't take much work to avoid 99.99% of viruses, but occasionally there will be a big one that the best software can't catch and those are the one's you've got to watch out for.

As far as people switching to Mac because of viruses. I think that's a pretty bad reason to switch. As you have established, and I agree, it's pretty easy to keep a Windows machine clean. However, I do think there are many other good reasons to switch to Mac.

#3 of 28 OFFLINE   Christ Reynolds

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Posted February 12 2007 - 10:34 AM

most "viruses" are probably spyware infections, due to users who don't know the difference. before switching to linux, i used windows for about 10 years, and had one virus. never used a virus scan either.

about spyware, it's impossible to browse the web without protection on a windows platform and not become infected within seconds, try it out for yourself: install windows freshly, boot up internet explorer to its default page, then scan for spyware. multiple infections.

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#4 of 28 OFFLINE   Bryan X

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Posted February 12 2007 - 10:37 AM

Quote:
I've been online since there was an online. I've been using PCs and Windows on the web for 10+ years and I've had one virus at home, and it was pretty benign.

I'm the same way.

#5 of 28 OFFLINE   Steve_Pannell

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Posted February 12 2007 - 11:07 AM

Quote:
I'm the same way.

Me, too.

I never answer "yes" to any pop-up and NEVER open an email from someone that I don't know or am not expecting.

I did mess up one time and installed some software that really screwed things up. I had to format and re-install everything. I'm more careful now.

#6 of 28 OFFLINE   Karl_Luph

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Posted February 12 2007 - 11:29 AM

My nephew who keeps up with computer technology told me that part of the virus,spyware,malware problem when running Windows Internet Explorer is because alot of hackers (probably young) think Microsoft is greedy and they want to forever give them a hard time. He told me Linux rarely has any problems,but far fewer people know how to run it. I've found running Firefox instead of Internet Explorer has helped some ,but still ,you really have to have a good up to date virus and spyware program and run it everyday.The only_ time I remember getting a virus was when I was using that site Kazaa many years ago.

#7 of 28 OFFLINE   Mike Fassler

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Posted February 12 2007 - 01:33 PM

I cant even remember the last time ive had virii or spyware, but I never use IE, and I have spywareblaster installed, along with Antivirus which I rarely use too scan but I have it. only firewall i use is on my router box, which is m0n0wall.

#8 of 28 OFFLINE   Andrew Pratt

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Posted February 12 2007 - 01:56 PM

If you stay off the P2P sites and use FireFox instead of IE you're well on your way to staying virial free. Spyware can still be an issue to some extent but like you I think I've only ever had a few virus's get flagged via emails etc by my scanner but I've been hit with spyware that screwed with IE's default home screen etc. I've seen people open very suspicious email attachments for no reason other then curiosity or b/c it was 'from' a friend they knew and become infected with a virus. Normally it was blocked by the virus scanner but its not hard to imagine that there's a lot of people out there not running any protection at all and don't know enough to keep safe with out it

#9 of 28 OFFLINE   Jason Kirkpatri

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Posted February 13 2007 - 01:44 AM

P2P sites, email spam, and porn. It's that simple. Posted Image

#10 of 28 OFFLINE   Max Leung

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Posted February 13 2007 - 05:34 AM

What Jason said.

Get your porn elsewhere (hint: USENET Posted Image ). Don't use P2P except bittorrent (and use a popular trusted client from the OFFICIAL website - uTorrent and Azureus are good ones). Don't open spam email.
Mahatma Gandhi, as you know, walked barefoot most of the time, which produced an impressive set of calluses on his feet. He also ate very little, which made him rather frail and with his odd diet, he suffered from bad breath. This made him...a super-callused fragile mystic hexed by halitosis.

Gamesh....

#11 of 28 OFFLINE   Kimmo Jaskari

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Posted February 14 2007 - 02:53 AM

The people who usually have the biggest problems are, and no surprise here, the least interested in their computers as such. They just fire up the computer when they buy it, plug it in and start surfing merrily with an unpatched IE. Of course they will be inundated in crud pretty much immediately, start complaining and pondering a move to Mac OS.

Personally I a) use Gmail for mail, so a vanishingly small chance of getting viruses that way b) have a free antivirus scanner going on the machine just in case and c) surf using a combination of Opera and Privoxy. I've never yet heard of adware/malware that uses any Opera weaknesses, and Privoxy will further block tons of crud.

It's really quite similar to just about anything else, I'd say. Someone who is really interested in cars will be driving a clean, reliable and tuned vehicle, whereas a soccer mom who just wants to go grocery shopping will drive even though every red light on the dashboard is flashing and all the tires are bald. Posted Image
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#12 of 28 OFFLINE   Christ Reynolds

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Posted February 16 2007 - 04:31 PM

think kimmo nailed it in the first paragraph. my parents used to get a ton of spyware with windows, but since i moved them to linux, they obviously get none. all without becoming more interested Posted Image

CJ
And then when I feel so stuffed I can't eat anymore, I just use the restroom! And then I CAN eat more!

#13 of 28 OFFLINE   Rommel_L

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Posted February 19 2007 - 09:47 PM

It's caused by the dreaded ID10T operator...

#14 of 28 OFFLINE   DaveF

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Posted February 20 2007 - 01:21 AM

Quote:
It's really quite similar to just about anything else, I'd say. Someone who is really interested in cars will be driving a clean, reliable and tuned vehicle, whereas a soccer mom who just wants to go grocery shopping will drive even though every red light on the dashboard is flashing and all the tires are bald.
I'm not sure I buy the analogy. Most people I know don't know much about cars and don't care to know much, except that it runs. And they drive to work everyday without worries that their car will spontaneously explode, breakdown along the road, or run out of gas unexpectedly. They take it in every 3-6 months for service and that's about it.

So why are computers any different? Do people need mandatory emissions checks on their PCs? Should their be 3-month oil changes for the virus filters? Do they need a program to follow, like with a car, to keep the computer clean and well-running?

#15 of 28 OFFLINE   Chris

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Posted February 20 2007 - 03:17 AM

PEBCAC.

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#16 of 28 OFFLINE   Ken Chan

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Posted February 20 2007 - 10:05 AM

"Loose nut in front of keyboard" is less cryptic Posted Image

Quote:
Should their be 3-month oil changes for the virus filters?
That's basically what Windows users -- or rather, people that clean up other people's Windows computers -- have been doing. Run the anti-spam every once in a while. Reinstall Windows on a regular basis. Hopefully they have anti-virus that is always auto-updating. Of course, they really shouldn't have to do that; the OS should not wear down like a tire.

#17 of 28 OFFLINE   MarkHastings

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Posted February 20 2007 - 03:19 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveF
So why are computers any different?
Because most virii and spyware are 'sneaky' and most users are oblivious to it's attack.

With cars, most problems usually give you warnings before something really bad happens. If it wasn't for oil spots on the garage floor, I never would have known I had an oil leak and my old car probably would have exploded because I never would have had it looked at.

Or...imagine if all cars didn't have gas guages? How many stranded cars would you see Posted Image

#18 of 28 OFFLINE   MarkHastings

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Posted February 20 2007 - 03:24 PM

and definitely the "Don't Open those stupid FWD's!!!!!" Posted Image

People open everything that comes into their in box!!! Posted Image It's like letting everyone (you don't know) into your home who knocks on your door. If you knew that there were guys who were purposely going around, knocking on peoples doors, then barging in to rob them when the person opened the door....why would you open the door every time there was a knock? And then act all surprised when something bad happens??

#19 of 28 OFFLINE   Mary M S

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Posted February 20 2007 - 05:04 PM

Counterpoint. [rant]

First few years surfing with IE, (my main mistake) I was incredibly naive.
The problems which arose via these issues (the worst was letting my VP expire for about 8 months!) have caused me to become uber paranoid.
A few years ago I FORBID anyone in the family to input personal info in the computer, or EVER insert a credit card number. Therefore I can't shop at places which only accept contact via checkout & email, nor will I use the computer for online banking or bills or account monitoring.

One: I don't want the info on the hardrive
Two: Every time you 'register' at any site, {cell phone whatever} you are agreeing to things which would take a week to ferret out by reading convoluted privacy policies etc, which are subject to "change of terms" with "Your responsibility to check for all changes - no notice given"

I have had to become adept at removing spam, keystroke loggers, home page hijackers. Most people I know give up / never figure it out / replace computers on regular basis, and live without them functioning (I'll get around to it) for months in a year. My last computer I have owned forever, as it morphed to a 1G Thunderbird Athalon chipset without a single original part left from it's earliest days as a 286.

It is a time issue for me and most users I know, I will resolve after a nasty episode that my next free weekend will be spent researching, What is Linx?, alternative browsers, every possible additional security measure I can take to circumvent what MS builds in (holes), I start.....and I never get very far. You attempt to try out that alternative browser, and it breaks software you need to use daily, you spend time sorting it out, have to get something done, so back out to your old setup.

I NEVER open an e-mail unless it is from someone I have just personally contacted. But this is not foolproof, yesterday, I got a "Can not deliver" from Yahoo after just sending a e-mail with a bunch of attachments to a family member.
I opened it, and it was plish! The address in the bar was @Yahoo.com.

I have sons who (because they don't know Mom figured out where deleted files and logs are, regardless of history erases) - various years have tried to get away with (at certain developmental points in their life)...porn.

...always...suicide by computer. You may say ...why didn't you parental block.
...they were older, It was too hard to go changing settings because various programs would 'block' me from searching for the simplest things, ex: a Korean "doll" for a gift for the daughter of a friend.

When you have all males at various times gaming, surfing - car sites, car parts, Boy Scout years equipment into interests in the military and solider of fortune type stuff, women, (click here for Brittney Spears naked) you have lost the war.

I'm in trouble with my husbands family currently, because my FIL whose computer is always crashing (he is currently surfing in SAFE mode to gain internet access!) is always sending interesting Pics/ news articles over to my husband.
Invariably, he sends these from FWD, and my husband is forbidden to open any of it. (I try to delete them, before he even sees them, - so he doesn't feel so guilty - when his Dad asks what he thought of the articles)

The people that come up with this stuff, live to trip up the average family.
I have seen a son, impatient clicking his way to the page he wants - half paying attention, hit the X closing a popup which asks you to upgrade your Flash to version XX.X (chunk full of spyware).

Zing, I can hear the drive working, slap them out of the chair, and go in and spend an hour cleaning out what just loaded when they clicked "close", (without choosing either YES/NO!)

I have tried to teach them to C/Alt/D to pull up processes' and end it.
Doesn't help they don't read or process half of what they 'click', they just want it out of the way.

I've had a clean fresh install/harddrive, current VP, Firewall, (IE)
XP, with more security settings enabled than most people run. (surfing with scripting OFF, etc) and various malware watchers installed still take a major hit. And the trickle egress turns into a flood.

And all the above is just a bit example of the land-mine surfing has become.

Someday when I've retired, instead of learning knitting, I'll sit down and figure out "what is Linx?" (or its current equivalent) use the latest least attacked browser, and have two computers.
One for daily surfing, with no personal markers/info.
One for business on the web, screwed down tight, no wireless, encrypted - with router turned on for only the duration of the action.

And then ...there are software conflicts. Copy protection, (which hates everything you do) particularly if it is legal.
I can track down and remove invasive stuff which sends friends and families to professionals countless times, yet I get stumped by the simplest of acronyms when installing new software, translated poorly into English and assuming familiarity with terms I have no experience with. Like what format X/Y/Z do you want to burn a simple data CD, with no explanation of terms, for which format won't play in this or that. (Sony software)

Until I have my life to devote to keeping a computer secure, with Software milling together in one space amicably like your Wii-people.
I am giving the MAC world a shot hoping for a little respite, and a tad less hair-pulling.

I've never had a computer class in my life,
I built one without a handlers license.
And I hate to admit the truth, it rides my back more than I ride it.
You've been dreaming. Dreaming of Sea Captain who haunted this house.

#20 of 28 OFFLINE   Greg_S_H

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Posted February 21 2007 - 12:00 PM

Quote:
So why are computers any different? Do people need mandatory emissions checks on their PCs? Should their be 3-month oil changes for the virus filters? Do they need a program to follow, like with a car, to keep the computer clean and well-running?

It's because there aren't people out there intentionally sabotaging cars. They are doing that with computers, however. Like you, I have been online for 12 years now and have never once had a virus. I've only gotten one warning from my AV program, and that was because it found a file that had just landed in my download directory from an e-mail from somebody who was infected, and the file never ran and never infected me.


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