Desktop security: A contrarian view

Monday, 17 November 2003, 7:00 AM EST

My computers may be a public menace. They don't have anti-virus software installed, or outgoing firewalls. They are on all the time and connected to the Internet 24/7. Their auto update feature is turned off permanently. I download anything and everything. But I've only had two viruses since 1988, one each on Mac and Windows. Both came from diskettes. This is all wrong, isn't it? My computers should be infested with noxious code bursting out to every computer within pinging distance.

But they're not. They have no viruses and no trojans because I pay very close attention to all the files and processes on each. All software installs are "custom" if that option is provided. I watch the process list and kill anything that is not familiar until I've identified what program its associated with. The Windows registry entries for "Run" frequently turns up interesting tidbits. And all the really important or sensitive files are located on or backed up to a Linux server set up with Mandrake's "higher" setting.

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