A friend of mine, Mike, who I haven’t spoken to in several years, sent me an email this morning about my previous posts about moving my server to another hosting provider. Normally, this wouldn’t be worthy of a post on my blog, but he shared a practice that is worth sharing. In addition, his reaching out to me reinforces the power of social media for starting new conversations with people you haven’t talked with in several years.
Mike shared with me his frustrations he had with viruses that plagued his wife’s computer, running Windows XP. Between July and September of last year, he had to reload her laptop three times due to malware.
He also wrote about how a friend gave him a Live CD with Linux on it so he could determine if it would be a viable solution for him. As Mike was investigating Linux, he learned about how insecure his laptop was and the ability using this CD, to overwrite anything on any directory of his laptop. To put it in his words “You could drive a truck through that security hole”.
After installing Linux on his wife’s computer, Mike has not had to deal with any more viruses. Because of his success with Linux on his wife’s laptop, earlier this year he decided to purchase another hard drive for his laptop and installed Linux.
Mike travels frequently throughout the year to customers outside of the U.S. and was concerned about viruses that he spent so much time cleaning up on his wife’s laptop. So his practice when travelling is to bring the additional Linux hard drive and to only use that when he plugs into the internet. Most of the software he needs for work still requires Windows XP which means that he needs to be able to dual boot.
A couple of months ago, Mike purchased a new laptop and made Linux is primary operating system. He is using VMWare on it to run the few Windows XP applications required for his work and is thrilled with the results.
What practices do you use to avoid viruses and spyware?