How not to get infested: a short security guide

The internet is like a cheap, dirty, run down, disease ridden whore house in a bad part of the town. You probably shouldn’t be going there in the first place, but if you go in unprotected you can bank on having a weird rash and a burning sensation when you pee the next day. So unless you fancy a life long romance with syphilis or perhaps an on and off turbulent romp with herpes it is important to wrap it up and exercise caution. This is why I decided to put together this short guide that should help you protect your virtual e-penile appendage that you use to browse the web.

1. Prophylactics

You know how something always pops up in the bottom left corner of your computer telling you to update your Adobe this, or Java that, and you always click on the “go fuck off up a tree” button to make it go fuck off up a tree?

STOP FUCKING DOING THAT!

You see, most software being written these days is shit. Windows for example was always a Swiss cheese of exploitable security holes, each one the size of your mom (ie. huuuuge). Fortunately, in the recent years Microsoft somehow managed to get a little of their shit together and instead of being unbelievably incompetent they just became believably incompetent instead and as result their products became marginally better security wise. You still can’t throw a rock at their operating system without hitting some security hole, but luckily most script kiddies out there are too dumb and lazy to bother finding one. So they move to the next best target.

Unfortunately, most software being written these days is shit, so they don’t even have to look that far. Pretty much everyone is running Adobe products, and Adobe still didn’t get the memo about not sucking at security. So script kiddies and malware writers (the lowest, least skilled breed of code monkeys in the world) exploit the living shit out of their products instead.

Instead fucking wit Microsoft security holes, they send you malformed PDF document or Flash object which bugs out the corresponding Adobe plugin and runs arbitrary code on your machine. Good news is that we yell at Adobe all the time about shit like this, and they do fix most of it. The bad news is that since you never fucking update their products, you will get raped by random malware over, and over, and over again.

Update your Flash player, your Adobe Reader, your Java and any other internet facing plugin you might use regularly. In fact, whenever something asks you to upgrade to the latest version, do it. Better safe than sorry!

2. Protection

I know you are totally fucking busy all the time, and you don’t have time to deal with this computer stuff. I understand. Playing Angry Birds on your phone is a hard work, and I wouldn’t want to keep you away from it. But do you really think that running a copy of McAfee or Norton that expired and stopped updating 3 years ago, actually does anything?

Actually, scratch that. It definitely does something: it slows down your computer something fierce. But it is not really protecting you from anything. And when you try and run a virus scan with that long expired, compromised product in a feeble attempt to remove some nasty infection, it is not even funny. It’s pathetic.

Here is a sad truth: McAfee and Norton are no longer relevant security products. They are huge, and they have lots of money but every half competent malware making simian can run circles around them. This is basically chapter 1 stuff in the malware writers playbook: “making mockery out of Mcafee and Norton in 10 easy steps”.

If you don’t want to pay for an anti-virus solution, Microsoft Security Essentials is surprisingly decent for something that is owned and maintained by Microsoft. Oh, and pend a fucking 20 bucks on a full version of Malwarebytes. It’s a good product, and definitely worth that one-time investment. Combined with Security Essentials it can give you a fairly decent protection against threats designed to own McAfee and Symantec products on contact.

3. Worst Case Scenario

If all of the above fails (or if you chose to immediately ignore and forget all that I just said, like you always do), and you do get infected, please follow the instructions in my handy malware removal guide.

Better yet, sell your computer, buy a gorram iPad and fuck the hell off the PC platform because I’m sick and tired removing the same exact piece of malware from your machine every week. These nifty little hand-held devices are pretty hard to infect (though I’m sure you can figure out a way to do it – you seem to be a fucking expert at it) and require surprisingly little maintenance.

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7 Responses to How not to get infested: a short security guide

  1. Alphast NETHERLANDS Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    Yeah. I follow religiously your little steps at home and at work. I do it for my gf too, because she could not care less and we are on a local network, of course. By the way, for a decent anti-virus, I would recommend Avast. It works neatly, stops anything really nasty and is free or very cheap, depending on the version, while not slowing your computer to a halt or preventing you to play your favorite video RPG.

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  2. ST/op DENMARK Mozilla Firefox Linux Terminalist says:

    Er, how do I install Microsoft Security Essentials on Debian? :)

    Joke aside, I don’t think you’re going nowhere with this kind of “how not to”!
    Your readers already know – or don’t use Windows at all – and the intended target audience probably doesn’t read you, or would just ignore your advice if they did.
    I think you’re right about the *pad thing: Many lusers do migrate to these platforms, not knowing that they actually run some kind of *NIX OS (be it iOS or Android), which is probably why (at least for the time being) they are “immune” to malware.

    Anyways, it’s always fun to read your rants ;)

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  3. Mart SINGAPORE Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    I haven’t installed any AV on my Windows 7 gaming PC for around 1-2 years now, and I have yet to get any virii or malware on it. Maybe it’s because I only turn it on once a day for an hour or so for my sporadic gaming sessions that are few and far between these days.

    Or maybe there are already a bunch of love.exe’s and sexyladies.exe’s running that I am unaware of. Hmmm….

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  4. icebrain PORTUGAL Google Chrome Windows Terminalist says:

    ST/op wrote:

    (…) they actually run some kind of *NIX OS (be it iOS or Android), which is probably why (at least for the time being) they are “immune” to malware.

    Android actually runs each app as its own user, to prevent applications from reading or writing each others’ or the user’s files. Doing the same on GNU Linux or Windows is possible, but it would be too cumbersome since we’re used to having access to our /home from any program.

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  5. Mr.Pete GERMANY Internet Explorer Windows says:

    OK, you got a little smile outta me.
    I know one person who doesn’t do anything to protect their machine.
    My mother, and although she’s not using any software pack to safeguard her PC she’s got the ultimate solution: no internet :)
    OK, bad example, most other folks are connected and you get the obligatory “what’cha talking about?” when you ask them for their anti-virus/malware…

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  6. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Linux Terminalist says:

    @ Alphast:

    Yeah, I installed Avast on my Dad’s old computer. It was working great until they completely revamped the UI at which point it became resource hog. It made the venerable old machine quite sluggish, though on anything more modern it runs just find.

    @ ST/op:

    Yeah, I know – I’m preaching to the choir. :) But I figured it would be amusing, and I could point some n00bz at it if they ask me for help again. :)

    @ Mart:

    Actually my AV and Malwarebytes pipe in from time to time warning me about random infections.

    I also caught one of these fake AV scams just by casual browsing about 2 weeks ago. I don’t even remember where I got it, but I believe it barged in via old version of Adobe Reader that I had on the system. So yeah – even if you know what you are doing, and are relatively careful you can still catch something quite easily.

    @ icebrain:

    Actually, I watched a video from last Defcon in which the some guys were showing how a lot of Android apps use a system-wide log file. And since anyone can read and write that file, you can slurp in logs that other apps left behind and search them for stuff like unique tokens, ID’s, etc… Unsurprisingly a lot of apps out there log everything, and in plain text which allowed them to pretty easily data scrape phones for personal information.

    I can’t find the link right now. Anyone remembers that talk?

    @ Mr.Pete:

    My dad only started using computers like two years ago. He is running a machine with Avast and Malwarebytes and is yet to get infected. I guess it’s because I instilled some good habits in him – he is running Firefox, and I believe his windows is in User mode since he never installs anything without me anyways. :)

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  7. k00pa FINLAND Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    Its always important that you make sure you wont get infected. If you have infected machine, in my opinion only thing to do is reinstall, you just can’t never be sure if the machine is clean or not after infection.

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