If you are getting a virus message on WUWT…

I’ve had several people write to me that they are getting reports that WUWT is “infected” with a virus. The common thread to the reports is AVG software, which seems to think some image thumbnails have a virus:

I’ve taken this seriously, and run checks, and I’m happy to report this is a false alarm. WUWT gets a clean bill of health via several online tests:

I used to use AVG antivirus, but became frustrated with it for several reasons, not the least of which is sluggish performance.

Now in all my machines, I use AVAST, which is leaner, highly configurable, and hasn’t given me a single false alarm yet.

Free version here: http://www.avast.com/free-antivirus-download

Tip: if you download and install Avast, use the “custom install” to avoid installing components you might not want, such as the toolbar, which they use to monetize the free version. Other than that, it is a great free resource.

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77 Responses to If you are getting a virus message on WUWT…

  1. Amy Ridenour says:

    We’ve had the same experience with one of our websites, with no virus found and no reports of infections.

  2. Mike Bromley the Canucklehead says:

    Thanks! My screen lit up like Times Square!

  3. Ray says:

    I tried both AVAST and AVG but now switched to Microsoft Security Essentials because it doesn’t take much resources. It hasn’t detected any threats on WUWT either.

  4. PaulH says:

    I’m not sure what is going on with AVG these days. It seems they recently had to pull a “useless” anti-virus app from the Windows Phone Marketplace. According to this article, the app also tried to gather some private info from the phone:

    http://arstechnica.com/microsoft/news/2011/09/privacy-violating-useless-avg-anti-virus-app-pulled-from-windows-phone-marketplace.ars

    Ah well, I use Eset security and it found no problems with the WUWT web site.

  5. john says:

    I noticed that Master Resource website is down this morning as is the Institute for Energy Research. Solargate , Windgate and Loangate are very problematic so my guess is Cass Sunstein and his Al-colytes are busy covering O’s a$$ as well as others.

  6. I’ve been using AVG for several years and have never had a virus warning here.

  7. Ric Werme says:

    A couple people reported on Tips & Notes that the ENSO meter displayed from my Comcast site, http://home.comcast.net/~ewerme/wuwt/elninometer-current.gif is a threat. (Okay, it is a threat, but not to your computer!)

    I saved one of the notes at http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/09/08/a-note-regarding-the-noaa-enso-meter/ . The contents of the file are a faithful copy of the images from NOAA. No reason to expect problems with them. The “home.comcast.net” or “~USER” part may be enough for a paranoid virus checker to get annoyed.

    Perhaps everyone should grumble at the AV manufacturers. Or change. Or both.

    BTW, that image may change soon to include a datestamp.

  8. Ed Reid says:

    john @ September 17, 2011 at 8:22 am

    I love “Al-colytes”, for all of its obvious implications. :-)

  9. Annabelle says:

    I recently uninstalled AVG after it slowed my computer down to a crawl. Not worth having.

  10. Larry says:

    I like F-PROT–in addition to no false positives, it also has never misssed a true positive (false negative),

  11. Sam Hall says:

    I have used the pay version of AVG for years and it works fine for me.

  12. Jeff Alberts says:

    Phineas Fahrquar says:
    September 17, 2011 at 8:26 am

    I’ve been using AVG for several years and have never had a virus warning here.

    Same here. I also haven’t had it slow my computer to a crawl. Something else going on there.

  13. SCJim says:

    Norton 360 user here and never had a alarm on your site

  14. John David Galt says:

    The fact that AVG detects a threat when other products don’t tells me that the threat is probably real and those other products aren’t doing their job.

    For those like myself who use Mozilla, I suggest installing the RequestPolicy add-on, so that you can tell the browser (for example) to refuse to load images from intelliweather.net.

  15. Bruce Cobb says:

    We’ve been perfectly happy with AVG, having used it for about 3 years. The only thing we had to do was to clear the cache, as the box kept coming up with info about the “threat”, and that it had been contained. It’s never happened before, so I assume it’s just a freak occurrence.

  16. John David Galt says: September 17, 2011 at 9:45 am
    The fact that AVG detects a threat when other products don’t tells me that the threat is probably real and those other products aren’t doing their job.

    Or that AVG isn’t working. I stopped using AVG for a couple of reasons, one being the sluggish response caused by it being a massive resource hog which other people have mentioned. The other reason was that it suddenly began “detecting” viruses in existing, years-old, unmodified files. But only sometimes; other times it would happily scan past those same files with no alerts. The half dozen or so other AV programs I tested against the problem never alerted on those old, unmodified files at all.

    So after years of AVG being my AV software of choice… I dumped it and switched.

  17. Ian W says:

    The alarm is being caused by some value(s) in the intelliweather thumbnails in the sidebar that seem to match a virus signature. As these are all jpg it seems unlikely that they would be infected but running tests on WUWT site may not show the problem as these are pulled in by live links to intelliweather.

  18. mikelorrey says:

    Anthony, I believe that someone has reported to AVG that your intelliweather jpg images are being used to track usage of the site. This is probably a sign of malicious action like we’ve seen in the past elsewhere.

  19. Richard M says:

    I assumed it wasn’t a real problem since it comes from an image file.

    “c:\Users\Richard\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Low\Content.IE5\RNUM1ETX\tempcity_nat_120x90[2].jpg”;”Found Luhe.HTML.Framer.A”;””

  20. _Jim says:

    I’m going to admit something here in public that very few people would admit; I do not run _any_ sort of active virus software … none, zip, zero, nada (exc maybe Windows firewall: does that count?).

    NEVER (knock on wood) had a problem either.

    I do drop by the Trendmicro.com website for a ‘scan’ every so often though … and have never found anything during a scan …

    .

  21. Annie says:

    I’ve recently given up on AVG and now use Avast! Our main problem is very slow broadband as we are at the end of the ‘phone line. Mains power fluctuates too.

  22. Poptech says:

    No Anti-Virus program should be reporting false-positives on a website like this. Nor should any home user have to pay for a reliable anti-virus program, use Microsoft Security Essentials instead,

    http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/security_essentials/default.aspx

  23. Do not worry or switch, says I.
    AVG is just detecting some tracking activity.

  24. A. C. Osborn says:

    Thanks, that worked for me also.

  25. dave ward says:

    Another ex AVG and now Avast! user. AVG made a friends old PC desperately slow, and at times virtually unusable. M/S Security Essentials was much better, but it would often refuse to start properly, so I put Avast! on instead, and it now runs fine. One important point many folks miss is never to rely on the Windows un-install utility – ALWAYS download and employ the A/V providers specific tool, or else you will leave behind lots of files and registry entries which often give problems with the new software.

    “The fact that AVG detects a threat when other products don’t tells me that the threat is probably real and those other products aren’t doing their job.”

    Not necessarily – haven’t you heard of “False Positives”? Most A/V products are responsible at one time or another. Occasionally this will cause major problems by quarantining an essential system file. The fact that Anthony ran the file past Virus Total is pretty clear proof that there is nothing to worry about. If that test came back with many warnings, it would be a different matter…

  26. Matthew W says:

    “_Jim says:
    September 17, 2011 at 10:54 am

    I’m going to admit something here in public that very few people would admit; I do not run _any_ sort of active virus software … none, zip, zero, nada (exc maybe Windows firewall: does that count?).

    NEVER (knock on wood) had a problem either.”

    Kind of the same for me !!!
    I do use Malware Bytes for weekly scans

  27. mpaul says:

    I visited WUWT at 12:10 PST and got the AVG warning. This is the first time I’ve seen it on this site.

  28. Robinson says:

    If you use AVG, or any other virus scanner, and you aren’t on a corporate network (i.e. this is home use), uninstall it and download and install MSE (Microsoft Security Essentials). It is FREE as in BEER. It’s as good as, if not better at detecting viruses than most of the others. It’s minimal and does’t hog resources on your system, even with on-access scanning switched on. It doesn’t harass you for free-version upgrades. It doesn’t promise you free use and then hit you with a fee 12 month later. It’s hands-down the best value free anti-virus for Windows out there.

    Viruses on Windows are bad for business for Microsoft. Viruses on Windows are good for business for all of the other anti-virus suppliers.

    Dislaimer: no, I am not a Microsoft employee and if you do by some miracle get a virus even with MSE, I said it was a virus scanner, not God.

  29. Last week my ESET-NOD32 was popping up virus warnings, so I informed WUWT. It continued for a day or two but has since ceased. Screenshot of warning message:

    http://www.markbuckles.com/images/wuwt.png

  30. Michael in Sydney says:

    Using AVG and I’m getting the warning as well. First time was yesterday.

  31. Dr K.A. Rodgers says:

    I have never used AVG but did use Avast for several years. Switched to it after major hassles with Norton.

    Had to give Avast up some months back when it started to mess with Outlook Express. I have since switched to Avira with no problems.

    I was one of several users so affected. All are now Avira users. So far so good.

  32. Grandpa Boris says:

    All anti-virus and anti-malware programs will occasionally show false positives. The variety of data AV programs have to scan is enormous and it’s a near certainty that some innocuous image will match a signature of a known malware.

    What matters is how responsive your AV vendor is, how upfront they are about the issues in their code, and how quickly they fix the false positive issues.

    I had used Grisoft’s AVG for many years. About a year ago Grisoft’s quality took a huge step in the wrong direction. Auto-updates were failing, the number of false positives was rising, and Grisoft was stonewalling or were outright rude when their users complained.

    That’s when I switched to Avast!. As Anthony said, it’s less intrusive, far more controllable, has a much better user interface, and the company making it seems like much more pleasant and customer-friendly bunch of people.

    Avast isn’t trouble-free. I’ve had it throw false-positives and had to endure hours of boot-time rescans because Avast was insisting that it found infection it couldn’t remove while Windows were running (all false alarms). Never the less, it’s better than any other AV products I’ve used over the last few years (AVG, Symantec’s Norton consumer AV, Symantec’s corporate AV, Trend Micro, Macafee)

  33. hotlink says:

    I stopped using AVG months ago when I started getting false hits on a variety of sites. Best of luck to AVG users.

  34. Ian H says:

    If Windows is insecure then switch to something secure. Don’t muck about with unstable kludgy antivirus applications trying to patch the leaks. Install a linux distro like ubuntu and stop worrying already.

    [ ... windows free since 2009 ... will NEVER go back. ]

  35. Steve says:

    I’m also using ESET NOD32, and got exactly the same results as “Mark and two Cats” (9/17, 1:52pm). I sent a note, and the problem has now gone away, it seems. It wasn’t just AVG …

  36. Mr Lynn says:

    No viri in the wild for the Macintosh OS X, either. . .

    /Mr Lynn

  37. _Jim says:

    Ian H says September 17, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    If Windows is insecure then …

    Just a few years back it was sufficient enough to run a good firewall (like ZoneAlarm, which I did under Win98SE since it didn’t have one) and be mindful of e-mail attachments and surfing less-than-honorable websites – I frequent the better known websites, websites with ‘legacy’ and history behind them, not the fly-by-night gamer or hacker websites … so where is it these ppl pick up these viruses?

    Recall, from above, I am a self-admitted non-user of active Virus software. If ANYBODY should catch these things will-nilly it would be me …

    Hiccup.

    .

  38. woz says:

    Just slightly OT, a week or so ago when I tried to open WUWT I got a BAD_POOL_HEADER warning with a BSOD, followed quickly by a complete shutdown. (I run Windows and IE.) I’ve never seen that before.
    Rebooting all went well. I worked through the advice and tried the fixes, including a complete Registry check and clean. But as soon as I clicked on WUWT it happened again. This continued several times – but only ever when clicking on WUWT. Other programs and sites gave no difficulties.
    Then for no obvious reason, it came good and so far hasn’t recurred (touch wood).
    I’m not usually a conspiracy theorist – but at one stage I was wondering whether evil enemies had somehow compromised WUWT! Given the topic, thought I’d share this against someone else’s experience!

  39. Michael J says:

    Some notes on viruses

    1. Viruses have, in the past, been transmitted by image files (thumbnails are just small images).
    – You craft a malformed image file that will cause a buffer overflow (or similar bug) in the web browser
    – This can cause a bit of the image to be executed like a program
    – You embed malicious code in the image which is then executed.

    2. Detecting viruses mostly involves pattern matching — looking in a file for patterns of bits that resemble a known virus.

    3. Sometimes a (perfectly normal) image can coincidentally contain bits that just happen to look a bit like a virus. That causes a false positive in antivirus programs.

    In conclusion, if an antivirus program detects a problem in an image file, don’t assume it is a false positive. (Not saying anybody did that, just making a general point).

    If it is a false positive, it is not necessarily an indictment on the antivirus program, though it might be.

  40. PaulID says:

    I use Avast and have never had any virus warnings on WUWT and it uses lots less resource than AVG.

  41. sHx says:

    I used AVG for nearly five years and never had a problem until today. Yep, the same false warning that Anthony is blogging about.

    I just made the switch to Avast… for the moment. I’ll test it for a few weeks to see how it goes.

    An IT friend strongly recommended Microsoft’s anti-virus program some months back on the grounds that there would be less conflict with Microsoft operating systems, but I don’t really want to prop up a monopoly any more than I have to.

  42. Pablo says:

    Seems to me that this site typically attracts technically-inclined folks, which is why I check the site out daily and read a ton of comments. I’ve been running Ubuntu Linux since 2004, version 4.10 Warty Warthog, which was very, uhm, interesting to say the least. It was good enough for me to do what I needed to do, for free, virus free. Perhaps not trouble-free at that point, but it has gotten so much better now that it has replaced all operating systems at home for myself as well as my wife. She likes it so much she even had to find linux t-shirts to wear and show off. She’s a bit of a geek like me. Anyways, for those of you who say that it would be too tough to do away with windows, there is a solution. I’ve installed VirtualBox in my Ubuntu laptop, and inside VirtualBox, I’ve installed two versions of windows, windows xp and windows 7. This is also how I beta test new versions of Ubuntu before I jump into an upgrade. With VirtualBox, I can run all the virtual machines at the same time and effortlessly switch between any of them by using the Ubuntu workspaces, which are like additional desktop screens. The VirtualBox virtual machines can access all of the hardware I need, printers, scanners, digital cameras, and any other gadget, including old serial port connections to some ancient switches we still use at work. I do all my surfing with an Ubuntu virtual machine, which I can always rebuild from a snapshot with a couple of clicks. I can try to mess it up as much as I can, and it still comes back just as it was before the snapshot. It works like a charm.

    This setup has done very well for me and for my wife, who has several old applications that only run on windows, and now she can make full use of her laptops without worrying about viruses or windows bsods. Anyways, that’s a suggestion that could work for a lot of folks if they only just gave it a try. Anyone can download an Ubuntu live CD / DVD that can run right off the optical device without even accessing your hard drive at all.

    And if that is too much, you could also download and install VirtualBox for free on your Windows computer and in there, create a virtual machine with Ubuntu in it and use that to surf the web safely. There hasn’t been any application or hardware I have not been able to use, and I’m a system administrator with years of experience, taking care of several datacenters and having many years of rebuilding infected client systems and servers. Believe me, I don’t ever recommend windows to any of my clients if they ask. I’ve always steered them to mac or linux, with virtual box as a binkie if they need it.

    Thanks for letting me post this and for reading it, and I hope I wasn’t as preachy as other Linux advocates can be! I do know how hard it can seem to move away from windows, but it is doable.

    have fun!

  43. petermue says:

    No virus alert with Kaspersky Internet Security also.

    After running AVG for several month, this program seems to be a bit oversensitive.
    When AVG alerts became more frequent (even for simple text files) and stressed me out, I changed to Kaspersky and I’m deeply contented now.

  44. _Jim says:

    Pablo says September 17, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    I’ve installed VirtualBox in my Ubuntu laptop, and inside VirtualBox, I’ve installed two versions of windows, windows xp and windows 7.

    Just wondering, how well does something useful like Sony Vegas Pro 10 (kick-butt video editing software) do under ‘virtual box’?

    How about handing a couple of webcams for live streaming?

    What’s the ‘emulation penalty’ for translating those system calls and that multimedia handing into internal Linux compatible ‘calls’ and I/O?

    Word-processing and spreadsheets are one thing, multimedia can be another (e.g. LabVIEW and the vision processing toolkit) …

    .

  45. Jeff Alberts says:

    Ian H says:
    September 17, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    If Windows is insecure then switch to something secure. Don’t muck about with unstable kludgy antivirus applications trying to patch the leaks. Install a linux distro like ubuntu and stop worrying already.

    If my CG rendering apps ran under Linux I’d be happy to give it a try. Such statements as the above assume an awful lot about how one uses their computer.

  46. Jeff Alberts says:

    Still no AVG warning when browsing WUWT for me. Maybe it’s got to do with the OS/Browser combo? I’m using Vista 64 and Firefox 6.02

  47. Poptech says:

    Ian H says, “If Windows is insecure then switch to something secure. Don’t muck about with unstable kludgy antivirus applications trying to patch the leaks. Install a linux distro like ubuntu and stop worrying already.”

    So long as you are using Windows XP or higher (XP is supported with security updates by Microsoft until 2014), have automatic updates enabled (which mean windows will be fully patched) and the Windows Firewall enabled you will not have many external security problems (if any). Not to mention most people have routers which have their own firewall. The bulk of security issues comes from things like email attachments and other things people manually install. For these you need an anti-virus program and Microsoft Security Essentials is highly recommended.

    Unless you are very competent with computers and can solve technical issues on your own I do not recommend using Linux. Not to mention it is a myth about Linux security,

    There has been over 2000 vulnerabilities that has affected popular distros like Ubuntu,
    http://cve.mitre.org/cgi-bin/cvekey.cgi?keyword=ubuntu

  48. Luke says:

    Sometimes the attack vector is the ads being piped into the site. If they rotate then you may be clean on refresh and dirty the next.

  49. AlanG says:

    I’ve used McAffee for years with no problems. It includes SiteAdvisor which warns about dodgy sites when doing searches in Google. It’s not free though.

  50. Richard111 says:

    My browser was hanging and Microsoft advised removing the AVG online “safe view” feature which I have done. No hangs so far.

  51. Byz says:

    My father in law was using a PC with AVG a few years ago and was getting regular problems.

    I had an original Mac Mini with a G4 processor (Just before they switched to intel) so I gave him that to use (as he only looked at websites and email) the nice thing a bout this configuration is that not only is the OS different but it is running on non intel hardware so if a virus does turn up it is going to have real problems running.

    I’m soon going to be running a web server at home (just got some public IP addresses) and I’m toying with using either and Apple Newton (I’d like to see someone hack that one) or an Acorn Risc PC running RiscOS. The great thing about running obsolete hardware is that there is very little information for hackers to use plus the effort to hack one site becomes a complete waste of time for very little reward :)

  52. John Marshall says:

    AVG is a good program but I found that my hard drive was becoming clogged with the daily updates. (Even more than the Microsoft ones). This probably causes the slowing down of the system.

  53. Steve C says:

    I’m another contented user of Avast!, having given up on AVG somewhere around version 8 when it started using more CPU than anything else in the machine. Avast!’s giving me no trouble at all on WUWT, though obviously it still has to do whatever tasks you ask of it, which will slow things down relative to no AV at all.

    I’ve been wondering about either a sandbox (to contain viri etc and allow them to be killed) or something like Deep Freeze, which claims to make the machine boot up into exactly the same state each time you start it and is fairly popular in colleges, where users are often, let’s say, a tad “experimental” and the sysadmin wants a quiet life. (These ideas are still “in progress”, so no info yet.)

    Another very good reason for changing to Avast! and quickly, of course, is that tomorrow, Sept. 19th, is International Talk Like A Pirate Day, me ‘earties, an’ you lubbers will be wantin’ to give generously of yer pieces of eight to their choice of charity, if ye knows what’s good fer ye. Arrrr!

    (I have no connection with Avast! except as a user, nor with TLAPD except that it makes me smile. :-)

  54. BSM says:

    I use AVG and had the same warning come up. Although I take these warnings seriously I didn’t panic as AVG had just updated and I realise that occasional false positives are a part of life. Better than the other way around.
    I have used the full paid version of AVG for years now and find it fine. It is simple enough but with as musch complexity and options as I need/discover as and when required. On a couple of occasions when tech support was needed, they were swift to respond and with useful resolutions.
    I switched after frustration with several other of the big name anti virus/firewall packages.
    I have no intention of changing away from AVG. I couldn’t say if it is still “the best” as I haven’t used others in years, but if something works great, then why change.

  55. sophocles says:

    Ian H says:
    September 17, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    If Windows is insecure then switch to something secure. Don’t muck about with unstable kludgy antivirus applications trying to patch the leaks. Install a linux distro like ubuntu and stop worrying already.
    ======================================================
    Yep. Microsoft’s only real claim to fame is the (almost) single-handed invention of the anti-virus industry. Ian H is right. Don’t use it on the Internet.
    You can obtain Linux Live CDs and DVDs (free downloads!). With one (or more) of these, there is no need to install Linux on your hard drive at all (unless you want to).

    Just boot from the Live CD, do what you need/want to do on the Internet, then reboot into Winders when you need to use it. The advantage is: if anything penetrates Linux, you shutdown and reboot and it’s gone: the file system on a CD/DVD is Read Only so any nasties can’t be saved to disk to bite you again.

    If you get curious enough, you’ll discover Linux is faster, smoother, smaller (less bloated), way less crash prone (no scheduled downtime needed: my machines run for 12-18 months at a time and are only rebooted after hardware/software upgrades), and virtually virus/trojan/worm free. Try it: you don’t have to buy it :)

    I’ve been Microsoft free since 1994 … needless to say, I don’t have these problems, I don’t have these worries! :D)

  56. David, UK says:

    Phineas Fahrquar says:
    September 17, 2011 at 8:26 am

    I’ve been using AVG for several years and have never had a virus warning here.

    Me too. But clearly several people have, so there must be an issue somewhere. I had no idea AVG was sluggish – mine seems fine. If I switch to Avast my PC may run even quicker, I suppose. Nice tip, I’ll consider it when my current license expires.

  57. bushbunny says:

    No problem here. Although a few weeks ago, Joanne Nova had a problem, and we couldn’t connect.She also couldn’t connect. I pay for Trend Micro Pro $AUD 100 a year bar .5c. It stops all virus’ from entering your computer. They don’t have any problem they stop them before they infect your computer. I have had no problems (touch wood) for over three years. Prior to this, I did have problems. Funnily trying to put in a disc, Word ’98.(I wanted to retrieve something from an old computer) My computer crashed. The reason the disc had a virus that Trend stopped infecting my computer. Sending it back to my computer experts, they removed the download, and the computer operated again no problem. Look quite honestly if people wanted to hack our PC’s they could without any problem, and we wouldn’t know. If one has nothing to hide, well let them.

  58. bushbunny says:

    Oh hang on, I have just thought. A few weeks ago I got a phone call from Global technology
    who told me my computer was being invaded by hackers who could tell them everything I had
    sent from my computer, and they could check this out if I wanted to stop it.. I rang my computer expert and he said, don’t you let them into your computer as they are frauds. Then afterwards an announcement in the paper was saying the same thing. Generated from overseas, actually this woman who rang me sounded Asian. People were ringing up Internet users
    saying they could check their computers out for virus’ and hackers. Actually they were trying to get into one’s computer to cause chaos.

    PS. I do have legitimate calls from Asian people employed by Telstra, but they do tell me they are from Telstra. Or Reader’s Digest, I am not saying people with an Asian accent are all frauds. In fact one lady ‘Grace’ from .tqb. my IT server, sorted out my Broadband problems.

  59. Filbert Cobb says:

    Yesterday, AVG threat warnings every time I visited WUWT.
    Today – nothing.
    What I did – nothing.
    Other than this, don’t have any speed or other issues with AVG (paid), Win7-64 and Firefox 6.

  60. jabbathecat says:

    As a former sysadmin and someone who worked in the AVi industry, I’ll throw in a number of items.

    Mickeysofts Security Essentials AVi software is, gulp!, very good, and free. I have been testing this for over a year now and cannot find fault with the product. In testing it picked up a couple of viruses that got past Eset and Kasperski’s.

    The main let down is Windows internal firewall, which can be bolstered by using the Sphinx Software firewall front end, in particular for Windows XP users it turns the default firewall protection bi-directional. The free and payable versions can be found here http://www.sphinx-soft.com/Vista/order.html, I include this full link because the XP versions are not linked from their front page.

    The other gem is Malwarebytes anti-malware software, http://www.malwarebytes.org, which really does a good job, and if you have the registered version this activates the real time incoming/outgoing ip address scanning function with web pages and if you use p2p software. This software regularly gets a thumbs up on the serious security forums for good reason.

    Lastly, there is SpywareBlaster, http://www.javacoolsoftware.com/spywareblaster.html, which keeps out spyware, adware, browser hijackers, and dialers. Long established and reliable, with either the free version that requires manual database updates or a payable one for auto update function enabled.

    I should add that neither of the three companies selling their products, at chicken sh*t prices, operate annual fee milking licence systems, this later point being my falling out with Eset when they literally doubled their annual licence fee a couple of years ago.

    Also, all these pieces of software can be installed and run without interfering with each other, Windows or any legit programs you may wish to use.

    Usual, I don’t work for any of these companies blah, blah, blah.

  61. bushbunny says:

    I think one of my post didn’t compute. There was a phone call that I was worried about,
    challenging the security of my system, and they should check it out for me.. I checked up with my computer IT expert, and he told me it was a international group trying to gain access to my computer. I told them to piss off the next time they rang. Not piss off, I told them they weren’t recommended etc., they went by the name of Global technology and has an Asian voice.

    A newspaper report warned that international fraudsters were trying to get onto computers by desception by saying the computers were being not protected, etc. And open to all IT’s who could
    relay all information from these computers around the world. Like if you are on Facebook. I refuse to be on it.

    I have sent this email or similar before but it has gone through?

  62. _Jim says:

    sophocles says on September 18, 2011 at 4:04 am


    I’ve been Microsoft free since 1994 … needless to say, I don’t have these problems, I don’t have these worries! :D)

    Man who live alone on island in the S. Pacific can claim the same thing, however, that isn’t living in the real world either.

    I must also take exception to this statement: “Microsoft’s only real claim to fame is the (almost) single-handed invention of the anti-virus industry.” Were it left up to IBM (and without competition and salesmanship from uS) we would still be running character-oriented screens as in OS/2 with microChannel H/W interface (or worse! Imagine a perpetual DOS world!). Apple has played a minor role (H/W architecture has always been CLOSED) in this, but the REAL effort has been in providing S/W compatibility to the H/W across the board to the masses at a reasonable fee and this was no mean (average) feat.

    You wouldn’t have the inexpensive high-performance hardware to run Linux (or anything else!) were it not for the proliferation and sales of PC and PC hardware (H/W) to huge numbers of people thereby amortizing the cost of engineering and the capital layout for chip manufacturing … and _this_ has been critically facilitated by uS products, primarily their OS’s. (Do not confuse past success into continued success going forward, however.)

    A pretty good rant on this subject where the author has given the uS devil his due:
    http://www.vanwensveen.nl/rants/microsoft/IhateMS_8.html

    .

  63. G. Karst says:

    Anthony:

    After reporting virus detection on WUWT, subsequent investigation revealed the problem was with the AVG virus definition update. AVG was aware of the problem and it disappeared on the next update. So if anyone is still getting virus alert false positive, merely update and they should disappear.

    I would still like to know why I can’t post video, while everyone else can? HAVE I LOST THAT PRIVILEGE via some faux pas on my part? Why can’t I get a simple yes/no answer. GK

    REPLY: Nothing that I’m aware of. Perhaps it has to do with the formatting of the URLS you are posting. WP might be modifying them if they fall outside the code limits, they have several safety features like that. – Anthony

  64. Ed Fix says:

    Ian H, Pablo and others,

    I was wondering how long it would take a Linux evangelist to speak up :-) I’ve been using LInux since Red Hat 7.3 (about 2002), and used OS/2 for several years before that (and DesqView on DOS before that). I would be able to say I live in a house without Windows, except when my wife bought a laptop a few years ago, I made sure she got one with Win XP rather than that abomination Vista. My laptop runs Ubuntu.

    As I told my sister once while moving her from an old version of Internet Explorer to Firefox: If you find yourself standing in front of a target, you can either invest in ever better armor, or you can move aside. Of course, that only works as long as the vast majority of users stay with M$, and Windows remains the biggest target.

    So from a purely selfish point of view, y’all keep using Windows, and keep the AV publishers fed, so I can enjoy my relatively virus-free Linux ecosystem.

  65. Pablo says:

    “_Jim says:
    September 17, 2011 at 8:08 pm
    What’s the ‘emulation penalty’ for translating those system calls and that multimedia handing into internal Linux compatible ‘calls’ and I/O?”

    VirtualBox is not an emulator, so performance is greatly increased in windows virtual machines running from a Linux-based OS because the windows calls go directly to the hardware, instead of running through 3rd party windows drivers.

    Unless the software was written to be hardware dependent, there isn’t much that would get in its way between the virtual machine and the hardware, so performance should be better. To be specific, VirtualBox installed on a Linux system, not on a Windos based system, does run faster and more efficiently. Installing VirtualBox on windows is ok, but you still have the inefficiencies of Windows getting in the way of performance.

    I would say try it out and find out. Thank you for your question!

    “Jeff Alberts says:
    September 17, 2011 at 8:18 pm
    If my CG rendering apps ran under Linux I’d be happy to give it a try. Such statements as the above assume an awful lot about how one uses their computer.”

    Jeff, http://news.softpedia.com/news/Hollywood-Loves-Linux-45571.shtml

    I’m sure a couple of webcams should work, and no, nobody should assume what you do, but that’s why the stuff is available for free, so that people can try it and use it if they feel it works for them. Unlike MS and their monopoly, this is an alternative that a lot of folks have tried and liked.

    We are just like most folks here, we don’t take the common theme we’re being told to believe, we check it out for ourselves. I thought that was the spirit of this website, am I wrong? Weird we are seeing hostility here for trying to provide alternatives to the mainstream.

    “Poptech says:
    September 17, 2011 at 8:29 pm
    So long as you are using Windows XP or higher (XP is supported with security updates by Microsoft until 2014), have automatic updates enabled (which mean windows will be fully patched) and the Windows Firewall enabled you will not have many external security problems (if any).
    Unless you are very competent with computers and can solve technical issues on your own I do not recommend using Linux. Not to mention it is a myth about Linux security, There has been over 2000 vulnerabilities that has affected popular distros like Ubuntu,”

    Whitehats like me spend way too much time playing with this stuff to really want to debate it. Just like the climate debate, you either know your stuff or you don’t. Sorry if I sound rash, but your “myth” line is the same type of argument alarmists use. Any piece of software has vulnerabilities, what matters is how much you are willing to put up with and for how much money. If your data is not very important, then you don’t need to protect it, and for many people that is fine. I’ve installed many home networks where security wasn’t very important, and I’ve also installed highly secured business networks that handle PCI and HIPAA data. You better believe I used Linux servers there! Better safe than sued or jailed or out of a job I always say.

    Within a give year, one of my windows home user clients called me an average of 6 times with virus issues. I would spend a day or two backing up data and rebuilding the system. Two years ago this client was open to try Mac on my suggestion. That user has not called me in 2 years with any virus or security issues. He is now a very happy and successful day trader. This is bad for my business of course, but I’m glad that his data is at least more secure now. I also really don’t like to continue fighting the same demons if I can avoid it, even if it costs me a few bucks. I rather see my friend happy and productive.

    _Jim says:
    September 18, 2011 at 7:20 am
    “Man who live alone on island in the S. Pacific can claim the same thing, however, that isn’t living in the real world either. ……..”(etc…)

    I do agree somewhat with your text there, were it not for BillG stealing an OS, we would not have the kind of computing we have today. I also have always given thanks to MS for having helped to create an entire industry of which I’ve been a part of since before the trash80 and BASIC.

    Having said that, if it is a good thing to not be stuck with DOS, why is it a bad thing if we don’t want to be stuck to Windows in the same fashion!

    Operating systems now are not tied to a desktop or laptop infrastructure, so now what? Which operating system leads the way in mobile computing/phones? Is it still MS, or have we already moved on from Windows?

    In the datacenter, which operating system is leading the way faster than windows servers? VMware. Hands down the fastest proliferation of operating systems in datacenters. With this comes the ease to try other operating systems, including Linux, so that admins now will have the tools needed to do their job without being tied to MS completely. This is a good thing, it is the next generation, the next evolution. Now servers can also consist of only the application, without an underlying OS. vApps are a very cool thing and they don’t even need any OS!!

    Just like people were glad for windows 98se, they are also glad for their iPhones and androids. Neither run on windows. We could say that this is the last battle ground for windows, and it doesn’t look good. Of course, some folks are still stuck there, which is fine, if you want to be stuck there. This is the beauty of a free (ish) society. You choose, but in the same way, you should let others also choose if they want. It should be encouraged, not discouraged.

    Let’s welcome, especially in this website, the possibility that there are other things out there that may perhaps be better than the status quo, the mainstream, the CONSENSUS.

  66. Pablo says:

    Ed Fix says:
    September 18, 2011 at 10:31 am

    Ed, thank you! The strangest thing is that I was not expecting to get a hard time, especially on THIS website!! But the debate is a lot bigger for some folks, just like politics, climate change, religion, mac vs pc, coke vs pepsi, etc… Too bad most everything relevant in the future will be a *nix variant anyways… Current example, MAC. funny!

  67. _Jim says:

    Ed Fix says on September 18, 2011 at 10:31 am

    So from a purely selfish point of view, y’all keep using Windows, and keep the AV publishers fed,

    A) I don’t run any sort of active virus software (made apparent by a couple of us further up thread I might add). I think promiscuous web surfing and willy-nilly clicking on any web link served up does in most ‘average Joes’ like yourself? (Again, as indicated above; know to whom you are surfing! Fortunately, many engineering companies, suppliers had existence before the web via a number of hard-copy trade journals. )

    B) I’ve got various (legacy) engineering software dating back to the 90′s that continues to this day to be executable on at least Xp (having not migrated to, nor any plans to 7 yet); Please elaborate what migration path you have implemented regarding necessary legacy software (maybe you were born last week? I simply don’t know that …)

    C) While many of your kind are simple ‘consumers’ of software, computers, and OSs, some of us are true users of same, viewing the computer and software as tools; it really matters not the form … speaking as one who has used mainframe processing horsepower to the DEC VAX (11/780 and later an 8800) and previously the TI minicomputer series (e.g. 960 and 990 series) on now through the WinTel eXperience …

    .

  68. Poptech says:

    Any piece of software has vulnerabilities, what matters is how much you are willing to put up with and for how much money. If your data is not very important, then you don’t need to protect it, and for many people that is fine. I’ve installed many home networks where security wasn’t very important, and I’ve also installed highly secured business networks that handle PCI and HIPAA data. You better believe I used Linux servers there! Better safe than sued or jailed or out of a job I always say.

    My problem is Linux is mentioned as if it does not have any vulnerabilities which is misinformation. I have extensive experience with PCI data on Windows Servers without issue. I still find Linux to be an excellent cost effective server solution especially for webservers but that was never my argument. My opinion changes with desktop users who are not proficient with computers as Windows XP, Vista and 7 are all more user friendly then even the most user friendly Linux distros like Ubuntu. Most end users have a hard enough time installing a printer (which can be complicated on a Linux distro) let alone getting them to run a virtual server.

    Within a give year, one of my windows home user clients called me an average of 6 times with virus issues. I would spend a day or two backing up data and rebuilding the system. Two years ago this client was open to try Mac on my suggestion. That user has not called me in 2 years with any virus or security issues. He is now a very happy and successful day trader. This is bad for my business of course, but I’m glad that his data is at least more secure now. I also really don’t like to continue fighting the same demons if I can avoid it, even if it costs me a few bucks. I rather see my friend happy and productive.

    I’ve heard it all and much of these are carry overs from the Win95, 98 and ME days or pre-Windows 2000. Security wise I only have issues with end users who have Windows Auto-Updates disabled, the Windows Firewall disabled or are not running an AV or running an outdated AV (e.g. Norton AV expired a year ago ect…). Much of which comes from bad advice they read online. Everything an end user needs to have a trouble free Windows experience is available for free online such as Microsoft Security Essentials.

    We could say that this is the last battle ground for windows, and it doesn’t look good. Of course, some folks are still stuck there, which is fine, if you want to be stuck there.

    The Desktop looks fine for Windows,

    http://www.netmarketshare.com/operating-system-market-share.aspx?qprid=8&qpcustomd=0

  69. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:

    I use Debian Linux so don’t worry about viruses too much. Just in case, I run ClamAV, available straight from the Debian repositories, available for other Linux’s as well by free download.

    For Windoze users, ClamAV is the core of Immunet 3.0, available free (the “Plus” version costs money).

    Somehow I’ve collected a few formerly-owned PC’s with assorted Windoze XP COA stickers on them, no hard drives/OS/disks. One laptop was prepped and went to friends who weren’t computer-savvy thus needed Windoze (to minimize the “tech support” calls), a few I decided to try dual-boot. Hit up eBay, got the XP CD’s. For the friends and mirrored to the others, I used Avira, had better current online reviews than AVG.

    But I also installed Spybot Search & Destroy, like I did with my previous main machine running Win ME. It hunts down the many assorted bots, as well as blocking assorted tracking cookies and the like. If something it doesn’t like is deemed needed, like a tracking object that keeps a proprietary toolbar working, it can often install a dummy file in its place.

    The friends are happy, the laptop generally behaves well, even with their unfortunate tendency to hang out on Buttbook and the default use of (GASP!) Outlook Express, although I did install Firefox for the browser. As to my dual-boots… Well, the Windoze XP is there, maybe someday I’ll find something for which I really must use it. Maybe I’ll update the protection then.

  70. Andy says:

    I admin all the PCs in the school I teach at. I ripped windows XP off the machines and installed Ubuntu. I’ve set-up the school’s VLE (virtual learning environment) to run in the cloud using Google Apps for Education.

    All the computers are set-up to run as internet ‘kiosks’ so the kids do all their word-processing, graphics, spreadsheets, emailing in Google Apps. Therefore, we don’t need a massive file-server or email server, just an efficient internet connection.
    Ubuntu is a dream to use (it’s not the clunky CLI-driven software it was many years ago) and we’ve never had any virus problems.

    Me personally, I use a Mac ;)

  71. Jeff Alberts says:

    Jeff, http://news.softpedia.com/news/Hollywood-Loves-Linux-45571.shtml

    I’m sure a couple of webcams should work, and no, nobody should assume what you do, but that’s why the stuff is available for free, so that people can try it and use it if they feel it works for them. Unlike MS and their monopoly, this is an alternative that a lot of folks have tried and liked.

    We are just like most folks here, we don’t take the common theme we’re being told to believe, we check it out for ourselves. I thought that was the spirit of this website, am I wrong? Weird we are seeing hostility here for trying to provide alternatives to the mainstream.

    Couple of webcams? What’s that got to do with Cg rendering?

    If I had the budget of a Hollywood CG house, I’d use any OS I bloody well pleased. But I don’t. The software I use isn’t written for Linux, to my knowledge.

    The hostility I’m seeing is that I must be a freakin’ idiot to stay with Windows. Windows has served me well. it may not have served others well, that’s why there are choices.

  72. Alan Wilkinson says:

    As per G. Karst (September 18, 2011 at 8:43 am) for me also this was a temporary glitch with AVG that has gone away. I think you should add an update to the head post.

  73. Pablo says:

    Poptech says:
    September 18, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    Your points well taken. As I had mentioned, the argument is akin to a religious argument. Windows advocates will advocate for Windows, Linux advocates will do the same for Linux, and Macs, well, they are unix now anyways, so there’s that.

    http://gigaom.com/2010/04/12/mary-meeker-mobile-internet-will-soon-overtake-fixed-internet/

    Long term trends point to more mobile, more smart phones, less desktops, and for the businesses, thin clients running some virtual appliance and what ever desktop OS they feel like running at any given time.

    At home, you are right, windows will dominate for now. The MS monopoly with vendors is still strong, but it is what it is, only a monopoly, and as more people turn to mobile devices, windows will lose market share. That may be years out, but it is the trend.

    As for getting regular folks to run Linux and even virtual machines at home, it is very doable, although getting them to run Macs is even easier.

    You know, people will spend hours searching for dozens of links to validate their views on some forum, yet they don’t spend even half of that time searching for answers to fixing their own computer problems, like how to install a printer in Ubuntu. There are some folks who just can’t take change, and that is fine. For the rest of us, it is awesome to have options.

  74. Pablo says:

    Jeff Alberts says:
    September 18, 2011 at 4:27 pm
    Couple of webcams? What’s that got to do with Cg rendering?
    If I had the budget of a Hollywood CG house, I’d use any OS I bloody well pleased. But I don’t. The software I use isn’t written for Linux, to my knowledge.”

    Sorry Jeff, someone above wrote wondering if webcams work on Ubuntu, which they do, and I by mistake thought it was you. Sorry bout that.

    And you don’t need a Hollywood budget for Ubuntu, it is free, that’s the point. Hollywood is using Linux for a lot of reasons, mainly performance, stability, and yes, price.

    Your software doesn’t need to be written for Linux, if it installs on Windows and is not hardware dependent (like to special graphics cards or special proprietary PCI expansions or something like that) it should work when installed inside a virtualbox virtual machine.

    Here is an inexpensive way I’ve used with clients. I’ve removed old hard drives with their OS, and put them on a shelf. Then, I install Ubuntu with VirtualBox. I then create a virtual machine with windowsxp. I boot up that virtual machine and in there I install the software that requires windows.

    The windows virtual machine runs faster in that environment than the original windows in the original disk drives. Been doing this for clients for a while now, and so far, they are impressed enough to want several more virtual machines so they can play with other software, or even beta the upgrades if needed for their software. It really opens up a world of possibilities, if people would just give it a try. Oh, and the shelved drives, still gathering dust on the same spot.

    All I’m saying is that, for some applications, including web browsing, this could be helpful for some folks. There are way less viruses with Linux, that’s just a fact. Vulnerabilities, yes, comparatively way less, but unless the virus writers are targeting you specifically, most folks should be ok. Viruses for Linux are few and far between. Most vulnerabilities mentioned somewhere above could affect mainly public facing servers, if we actually read what they involved.

  75. Pablo says:

    Pablo says:
    September 18, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    Forgot to add a step to my explanation after removing hard drive, I do install a different, cheap used drive from what ever old system I happen to find at the bargain bin in our salvage store. I’ve found a cheap hdd, 80gig, for as low as $2 bucks. Bet anyone can find a lot of deals on old drives, good enough for trying Ubuntu out.

  76. bushbunny says:

    I have spent 9 hours downloading my Micro trend titanium 2012. What fun? LOL But for $AU99.95 a year it stops virus’ and unsavory websites at the door. It does not just bin them. However, I must have done something wrong its taken so long. However it will stop sites that contain any adult or drugs or weapons on them. I had AVG but I found it wasn’t all that good.

  77. Wellington says:

    Avast. Did some q&d due diligence when Bitdefender started going south on our machines last year. So far so good.

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