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Re: Linux and Viruses

  • Subject: Re: Linux and Viruses
  • From: John Bokma <john@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: 27 Oct 2005 07:13:49 GMT
  • Newsgroups: alt.internet.search-engines
  • Organization: Castle Amber - software development
  • References: <Xns96FAEBC8BE799castleamber@> <9b7ul118440rhg3h7iu6v0rvisu6p4qugh@4ax.com> <djne60$2l32$1@godfrey.mcc.ac.uk> <Xns96FB9468B464castleamber@> <op.sy9qjtia584cds@borek> <Xns96FB9B633E051castleamber@> <djpkr5$69d$1@godfrey.mcc.ac.uk>
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Roy Schestowitz <newsgroups@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> __/ [John Bokma] on Wednesday 26 October 2005 21:16 \__

>>>> You think there is a relation between the majority of users with
>>>> little computer experience using win32?
>>> You doubt?
> That experience should remain in the hands of the developer/s. If you
> unleash a product that is self-destructive or one that begs for high
> maintenance, you cannot annul that peril and the user is ultimately
> dissatisfied. Abstraction, for instance, can be about:
> -User does not need to understand "malware"


> -User need not be asked to update his/her system

it should be configured to "automatic" for pre configured systems. 
However during software installation it should be an option.

Some would even say that automatic is always bad, now and then it 
happens that a patch breaks some functionality (I have seen this happen 
on several OSes, this is not a Windows thing, although many people will 
jump to this false conclusion), the end user might end up with an 
unusable system until a new update is released. 

> -User can mess about with and execute merely anything without worries


> -End user can surf any site across the Net without woe

All browsers have had security issues, and will have in the future, so 
this is hard to make real.

>> Well, there are people who think that if we all move them over to
>> some other OS, suddenly all problems are gone.
>> Ages ago I used an exotic OS: RISC OS.
> We indeed talk about "ages ago". The way the Linux kernel gets
> administered is different. Don't forget that *nix is intended for some
> mission critical tasks like servers and data management:

But the "same" lie was told: RISC OS is safe, there are no viruses. The 
OS is very secure, because it is in ROM.

> http://crashrecovery.org/us-army-unix.jpg
> The only main flaw is forgetting to change the default root
> password... 

Oh, there have been more in the past. Quite some default *nix 
installations were very insecure. 

> The notion of a superuser (Microsoft begin to adopt and embrace it)

There has been an Administrator in NT for quite some time. At least in 
the versions I have been using. 

> means that a so-called "virus" would have to be a malicious script
> that the user executes as root


> and then passes (voluntarily) to 7 most
> trusted friends asking to do the same or else bad fortune would come
> their way.

Again flawed reasoning. For sending email there is no root permission 
required. My email program certainly doesn't run with Admin rights, yet 
I can send email. My Perl script can download from my POP3 box, no Admin 

> I remember when I was 14 and I wrote a batch file that would wipe off
> a hard-drive. Under the right disguise (filename) it could be invoked
> by a any user and not even ask for confirmation or prompt the user
> with some indicative warning. It was a 'proof of concept' type of
> thing. A good system is difficult to destruct at will, unless of
> course you have a sledgehammer.

Or an unskilled user. Note that I don't talk about destructive software, 
I talk about software that turns a computer into a zombie. This doesn't 
need special rights.
>> So how does Linux (for example) protect users with very little
>> skills? I have no answer to that.
> I hope it was explained above.

And look what I just did :-D.

> With all sincerity, John, I have a
> great deal of trust in Linux. I never have to reboot, update,

that's amazing. I update Linux + software often, sometimes very often. 
So, eh, you didn't update Firefox... ???

> defrag the drive

AFAIK NTFS hardly needs defragmentation. Yes, there are better FS 
available, but MS (as always) has to struggle a lot with being backwards 
compatible. It is amazing how 10 yo software *still* works under XP.

> and this current machine has served me well for over 2
> years. I set up another SuSE machine at home 3 days ago.

Well, I seriously hope you did update that machine...

John                       Perl SEO tools: http://johnbokma.com/perl/
                                             or have them custom made
                 Experienced (web) developer: http://castleamber.com/

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