Saturday, December 24, 2016 by anotherside | Discussion: Personal Computing
I wanted to write something about security, especially related to automatic updates. Automatic updates are pushed as a security measure. Is having an updated system important? I don't have the answer, I just throw out the question.
From what I can see there are much bigger threats than viruses etc. The biggest threat is social engineering:
1 You get a support call from “Microsoft” and someone wants to help you “fix your computer”.
2 You get an e-mail from “Apple”, “Paypal” or any other big company asking you to click a link and log in to your account. I get these e-mail all the time and they are very dangerous.
Creating a successful virus takes a lot of skill and distributing it takes even more. Those with that kind of skills seem to prefer hacking large corporations like Yahoo etc. So never reuse passwords on many sites. Ransomware exists, but is it a big problem? Didn't those users install an infected file themselves? Just throwing out the question.
When Microsoft released Windows XP SP2 they urged users to install an antivirus product.
Vista and later never suffered the same virus problems XP did before SP2. Windows viruses still exist but compared to social engineering or hacked user accounts it's a small risk.
I ran unpatched Windows 7 without antivirus for six months surfing the web as an experiment. Then I scanned my computer with a couple of tools. Nothing found. I don't recommend anyone doing this. It was just an experiment.
If you use Android you are basically doing the same thing. Most Android devices run unpatched/not updated and without antivirus software. So why don't we hear about Android exploits? Maybe it isn't that easy to create a successful virus.
Windows XP has been unpatched for almost 3 years. They said massive attacks would happen to Windows XP users after April 8 2014. I haven't heard about massive Windows XP attacks. Windows XP is the third biggest Windows OS. Bigger than Windows 8.1. Bigger than MacOS and Linux combined.
An OS that has been unpatched for almost three years. Wouldn't this OS be like a sitting duck for malware creators? I don't recommend Windows XP, but it's probably no worse than using an average Android phone.
I see fear mongering surrounding the topic of updates. It's better to run an updated system than something old and unpatched.
But compared to social engineering and hacked user accounts, malware is by far the lesser threat I think.
Good antivirus software and sane computer habits go a long way. That's basically what keeps all those Windows XP users safe.
Feel free to agree or not agree Merry Christmas!
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