New Windows PCs often vulnerable to ‘swarm of viruses and worms’

“The excitement home buyers feel when taking a new PC out of its box can be short-lived if the machine is vulnerable to the swarm of viruses and worms on the Internet. One senior administrator at a major research university recently endured a prolonged setup procedure with his new laptop. The administrator, who asked not to be identified due to the visibility of his position, purchased a laptop in May after encountering delays in obtaining the notebook, which was first introduced last March along with Intel’s Centrino technology,” Tom Krazit reports for IDG News Service.

“After connecting the notebook to the Internet over a dial-up connection, the machine started crashing repeatedly in a sequence that looked eerily familiar to the administrator’s experiences with the Blaster worm last August. Sure enough, a Google search quickly confirmed his diagnosis, setting the stage for a two-hour marathon download of Windows Update patches and the Blaster Worm Removal Tool from Symantec,” Krazit reports.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Or you could just be smart about it and get a Macintosh.

33 Comments

  1. Just ask Tom at Oracle.com who must support various platforms (bottom half of page):

    I’ve never said I hate windows

    I’ve said I don’t use it.
    I’ve said YOU should use what you are comfortable with.

    I’m not comfortable with windows. I run windows in a window (vmware) when
    forced.

    I did spend all last weekend removing spyware galore from the wife and kids
    computer. That was fun. I went looking for it on the Mac and Linux boxes — I
    couldn’t find any. In fact, I could not even find software to remove it on
    those platforms (hmm he says — wonder why that is). Then I updated the virus
    checks (my anti-virus checker on linux is:

    #!/bin/sh
    echo “Done, virus check complete”

    )… But, I’ve never said I hate windows, just that *i personally do not use
    it*. I was obliged to install it on vmware so I can answer the occasional
    question that forces me into windows (like dealing with rn as the end of line
    character instead of what the rest of the world used — n and so on)..

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    i don’t hate windows, but that doesn’t mean i like it either.

    I usually use the term windoze after having wasted countless hours cleaning up a
    machine.

    The next computer I buy for the kids will be a Mac, I’ve already decided that.
    Just a matter of time.

    Once I get off of the satellite connection at home (which *forces* me to use a
    windows server as a bridge), my wife is going to go linux with vmware to run
    certain special applications. Or maybe I’ll go Mac there as well, pretty much
    the dearth of software we need runs natively on that..

    I’ve wasted way too much time cleaning those machines out, stopping all of the
    “auto start” things, getting rid of viruses/spyware, trying to figure out why
    the webcam works on Megan’s account but not Alan’s (still haven’t figured that
    one out), why why why…. Reinstall windows every couple of months (get all
    sp’s, apply them, ugh)
    .

    [My emphasis] Says it all, no?

  2. I was playing poker with some friends the other night, and during a break one of them brought up spyware. WHat happened next was a collective gasp of frustration. I felt I was at an AA meeting. Four guys going on and on about how their machines got messed up time and time again by spyware and viruses. I couldn’t helping sounding superior when I told them about the Mac. When one of them brought up the “Security through obscurity” myth I really got going. They really had a hard time with that. Nobody wants to have purchased the wrong stuff (especially at $800+).

  3. The above MDN link to the “Full article” is in error. The actual article is at http://www.pcworld.com/news/article/0,aid,116489,00.asp . I think it is rather poor journalism (extreme laziness?!) to quote a secondary source (Yahoo News) that is directly quoting the original source (PC World).

    Why doesn’t MDN link to PC World? MDN does this rather frequently and make me wonder why MDN supports Yahoo.

    If MDN wants people to go to Yahoo for whatever reason or give them some professional credit (me thinks MDN gets a few pence for sending people there), then it would be honorable to state…
    Discovered at [1st link].
    Original source at [2nd link].

    …but, people would probably go right to the original source, and MDN doesn’t get their pennies.

    Money over good journalism; welcome to America!

  4. To Less is more…

    Pick up a DW6000 instead of using a PC for your router.

    You going with DWay?

    I upgraded from the 4000 to the 6000….no more PC’s in my house ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” />

  5. Help!!
    I do make a point to friends, and others(sometimes deliberately, sometimes innocently) about how my mac is so secure. I am not completely familiar what the facts are concerning why its not just “security through obscurity”.
    Would anyone be so kind to list for me, the reasons/factors why OSX is so secure?
    Thanks so much

    MF

  6. Just to save you some trouble, here is a good summary of some of the reasons from a very reliable source (from one of the links mentioned above)

    New York Times: Mac OS X ‘much more secure than Windows XP’

    Thursday, September 18, 2003 – 03:38 PM EDT

    The New York Times’ David Pogue has recanted his recent propagation of the “security through obscurity” myth, writing today, “That, as it turns out, is a myth, no matter who repeats it… Mac OS X and Linux [are] much more secure than Windows XP. For example:”

    – “Windows comes with five of its ports open; Mac OS X comes with all of them shut and locked… These ports are precisely what permitted viruses like Blaster to infiltrate millions of PC�s. Microsoft says that it won�t have an opportunity to close these ports until the next version of Windows, which is a couple of years away.”

    – “When a program tries to install itself in Mac OS X… a dialog box interrupts your work and asks you permission for that installation — in fact, requires your account password. Windows XP goes ahead and installs it, potentially without your awareness.”

    – “Administrator accounts in Windows (and therefore viruses that exploit it) have access to all areas of the operating system. In Mac OS X, even an administrator can�t touch the files that drive the operating system itself. A Mac OS X virus (if there were such a thing) could theoretically wipe out all of your files, but wouldn�t be able to access anyone else�s stuff — and couldn�t touch the operating system itself.”

    – “No Macintosh e-mail program automatically runs scripts that come attached to incoming messages, as Microsoft Outlook does.”

    Pogue writes, “…the conclusion is clear: Linux and Mac OS X aren�t just more secure because fewer people use them. They�re also much harder to crack right out of the box.” Pogue also covers Windows virus programs and other reasons why Mac OS X is simply more secure than Windows. Full article here.

  7. I particularly like this article over at DaringFireBall.net which takes the old Security Through Obscurity myth and turns it on it’s ear.

    Windows apologists have long argued that the only reason the Mac has been so strikingly free of security exploits is that it has such a smaller market share than Windows. This argument ignores numerous facts, such as that the Mac�s share of viruses is effectively zero; no matter how you peg the Mac�s overall market share, its share of viruses/worms/Trojans is significantly disproportionate. Or that the logical conclusion of this argument � that because of Windows�s monopoly market share, malfeasant hackers would logically only write software to attack Windows � would be to extend the argument to all software, malicious or not, and it�s quite easily disproven that �all software� is targeted only for Windows. Or that, despite the Mac�s relatively small market share, a successful virus/worm/Trojan attack against Mac OS X would likely garner significantly more notoriety and fame; considering the recent publicity given to non-exploited Mac OS X vulnerabilities, it�s reasonable to expect that an outright exploit would result in an avalanche of tech media hysteria.

    The reason this argument is so popular with Windows apologists is that it�s a convenient bit of rhetoric. They say it�s so, we say it�s not. You can�t get past this argument, because it can�t be disproven without the Mac OS actually attaining a Windows-like market share.

    So, let�s concede the point, just for the sake of argument: OK, fine, if the Mac had the same market share as Windows, the tables would be turned and there�d be just as many Mac security exploits as there are Windows exploits today.

    Now what? Given that the Mac is never going to attain a monopoly share of the operating systems market � that merely expanding its share to, say, 10 percent would be universally hailed as an almost-too-good-to-be-true success � isn�t it thus only logical to conclude that the Mac is forever �doomed� to be significantly more secure than Windows?

    As they say in bloggerdom, “Read The Whole Thing…“.

  8. It is not just ‘New PCs’.
    I was away for a couple of months (I live part of the year in Canada and part in Brazil) and when I got back and turned on my win box (unfortunately I need one for my work) and had all sorts of problems.

    I knew I had to run all M$ updates I missed while away so the first thing I did was to boot the machine and run win update (tons of patches to run…). Well, I could not get to the end. As soon as I started the updates d’load I got infested by one of sasser’s variations (took less the a couple of mins online). Catch 22 situation. I could not download the worm removal tool ’cause it kept crashing.

    Thankfully I had a Mac with me (my TIbook). I used it to download the patch from M$ site, burn it into a CD, reboot windoze (off the net so it would not crash) and remove sasser.

    Bottom line, without a Mac I would not be able to repair a win box. Apple should use that: “Need to fix your PC, use a Mac!”.

    Cheers

  9. Hey Sputznik, Why would anyone want a Mac when they can deal with situations like this on their “superior” windoze system on a daily basis? Patiently awaiting your comments!

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