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Antivirus Firms Say They Won't Create FBI Loophole.
December 10, 2001 8:38 PM   Subscribe

Antivirus Firms Say They Won't Create FBI Loophole. A free knuckle sandwich to the first person to say, "looks like magic lantern has been extinguised!"
posted by mcsweetie (11 comments total)

 
Thank goodness for foreign markets. I'm curious to know if there's an anti-virus software that's non-commercial. Something that is both free from economic and political ties would be an interesting project.
posted by skallas at 8:41 PM on December 10, 2001


Free antivirus?

Making antivirus software is relatively easy. Keeping it up to date... that's where the money comes in. I don't think you'll find people who will do that for free.

Of course, Google sez... Maybe. Plenty of free trials, free for personal use, etc. I highly doubt there are any truly non-commercial antivirus apps that will detect any reasonable number of viruses. The OpenAntivirus Project is the closest I could find, and it has a ways to go, yet.
posted by whatnotever at 8:59 PM on December 10, 2001


Trend Micro has a free online scan. It doesn't offer round-the-clock scanning and protection, but it's probably sufficient if you're smart enough not to open files from strangers.

I sound like a cliched parent ("Don't take candy from strangers") but I don't really know a better way to put it. I guess a good chunk of the infected people are opening scripts and whatnot from their friends and colleagues, but someone had to have opened a file from a stranger to start the chain-reaction.
posted by dave at 9:06 PM on December 10, 2001


maybe I just live in a plastic bubble, but I've been computing for almost a decade and I've never had a single virus. I suspect they aren't real!
posted by mcsweetie at 9:38 PM on December 10, 2001


I agree dave...only virus i've got was from a Trojan that used the persons's address book and sent it to all of them so it looked valid. Stupid Stupid Stupid. If anything, though, i learned some fun loopholes and inner workingings to get of the virus (something about anti-virus progs annoy me....can't quite put my fingure on it. Fire-walls, on the other hand, are fun to watch as i get pinged constantly).
posted by jmd82 at 10:15 PM on December 10, 2001


With a firewall and some common sense, you need never get viruses (virii?). Like mcsweetie, I've been using computers on the net for about a decade and have never gotten a virus.

Anti-virus software, when I've tried it out, has inevitably slowed down my computer and often interfered with programs and games. http://virusmyths.com has some good criticism of the anti-virus vendors; long story short it's 80-90% snake oil. IMO.
posted by cps at 11:00 PM on December 10, 2001


I used to be of the opinion that the virus(worm) market was talked up by the anti-virus vendors to their own benefit, but, alas, no more. Even our mac has had a virus, and it's not online!
V-killers should not impact the performance of a computer as they only detect when instructed to. They can interfere with installation of software, but simply need to be paused during this process. Not using ms office or outlook is a very good way of avoiding most viruses. Also, not running ms windows is a help. Not connecting to the internet - don't disconnect yet, i haven't finished ; ) is another good way of avoiding the subject. As i understand it, the average time it takes to be port scanned at the moment (by robots looking to host trojans for DDOS attacks etc.) for a windows pc is 15 mins and for linux a massive 30 mins. Not having an always-on connection makes you less attractive to these. Viruses(worms) such as nimda employ a variety of vectors to transmit themselves, and use a variety of methods to make their prescence felt. They attack linux, as well as windows and have idle periods, to give the impression that they have gone away, before attacking again.

Computer Associates used to offer a 'personal' edition of their virus killer, which was completely free, alas, no more.

Having said all that, most viruses do not target home users directly, they are more likely to effect us by taking down our email server, or similar.
posted by asok at 2:34 AM on December 11, 2001


Having said all that, most viruses do not target home users directly, they are more likely to effect us by taking down our email server, or similar.

Well put, I've only had a few virus experiences up until I worked as a system admin. From Melissa and on until I was laid-off .exe's and vbs's were just flying in and out of the mailserver with the occasional "Whoops Mike somehow this email messed up my PC." It took a while but I convinced the bean-counter that we needed better virus protection so I installed trend's virus scanner for exchange and enabled the blocking of anything that can be executed and set up each PC with Norton's corporate server-updated virus scan.

No more viruses. Though after I left I heard from my old boss that some IIS trojan (nimda i think) used an old exploit in IE to trash some PCs. Oh well, they should have kept up with the security patches, but it goes to show you that you can never truly be 100% protected.

It gets worse when you get a lot of email from various people around the world that use Outlook Express which does you the favor of putting everyone you reply to into the your address book. The larger those address books get the more damage the virus can do when it starts mass-mailing itself to 200+ people.
posted by skallas at 2:57 AM on December 11, 2001


the average time it takes to be port scanned at the moment (by robots looking to host trojans for DDOS attacks etc.) for a windows pc is 15 mins and for linux a massive 30 mins.

That's not necessarily the case. Most port scanners have the ports for ftp, http, telnet, ssh, etc ready instead of going through port 1 to 1024 very slowly. If you know you have a great exploit for ftp you're just going to set your bot to scan for active ftp connections, log them, and then attack. You could scan thousands of computers in 30 minutes that way.
posted by skallas at 3:01 AM on December 11, 2001


I use F-Prot for DOS, free for private users. They have a Linux version, too.
posted by xyzzy at 4:07 AM on December 11, 2001


the german free-av has been doing a rather good job here...
posted by sans at 10:52 AM on December 11, 2001


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