søndag, oktober 05, 2008

Personal Computer Security (Antivirus and Firewalls)

A great world of confusion drives the world of personal computer security. First of all I will discuss the Windows PC computers.

The need of a personal firewall:
While security companies don’t really want to tell the truth so that they can earn a lot of extra money on all the components and solutions you don’t need. I am here to help and confuse you. (Of course a lot of people might not agree to what I am saying, but this is al based long time experience)

First of all: Most normal users have no need for a personal firewall. Why? Because while before users hooked up to the Internet through dial up modems, today there is almost always a router with NAT functionality between. A NAT functionality is not the same as a Firewall but most of these boxes will have the possibility to run a basic firewall as well.

Even with only the NAT function you will greatly surpass outside attacks. Even if I don’t think it is strictly needed utilize the build in firewall function to get even more security as it can work both ways. Remember if you use it to tweak it to allow all the services you need to use. These basic firewall though will probably only work on port level so they will be useless to intelligent attacks from the inside.

So with no personal firewall how do we stop the attacks from the inside? Again depending on the quality of the personal firewall it might not be able to detect cleverly hidden attacks from the inside. Some of them will do however to mixed extend.

As a user however it will be up to you to allow the firewall rules. For many users, maybe most of them this can be a tedious and difficult process as its hard to know what are legal traffic and what is not. So again, many users with personal firewalls end up blocking important services and/or allowing malicious connections.

So how do we stop this threat if I say that we do not need the FW? When you are a personal user and not a Company who do you thinks represents the threat? Actual hackers sitting in a remote destination trying to get in to the system? Well sometimes it might be, but for most cases it is mass software based threats. Viruses, spyware, intelligent hackingtools, botnets and all kind of other Malware. What kind of software is it that deals with this? Different security packages like antiviruses, anti-spyware, botnet removers and etc.

Which means these software packages have been optimized to deal with the threat that you still think you need a FW for.
Final question here is. Do I still use personal firewalls? Occasionally.

Malware attacks
In the later years, I would say since around 2k3 antivirus and other malware removing packages have had a real hard time. This is because the nature of modern exploits has been moving swiftly to a new degree and the security software companies has a hard time to keep track.

I don’t know how many times I have seen that supposedly fully capable security packages are unable to stop a known virus attacking as well as removing it. When did it become acceptable for a security package not to be able to do its job? Often a user has to spend days, weeks to fix its computer often in the result of a complete reinstall.
It completely pisses me of that the security packages are such in a bad state and nobody does anything with it. Often I have resorted to Panda Antivirus which has a special capability of removal but lately again this has not been enough.

One day one security package is awesome, the next day the threat picture changes and it is rendered useless in the fight.
This means we as users are up to a new time of war, one that we can not win as even if we try to protect our computers the best we can, the software that are supposed to deliver the capability does not live up to its reputation.

And to be honest I have no solution for this.

One thing I think is very important for you users to think of for the future though is to have some software that are able to hinder the most modern type of attacks and specially browser based attacks.

The other option is to switch to LinuX, Unix or Mac OSX. While there will be times of malware and antivirus attacks on these systems as well, it is not now, and it will never be as many.

ATI HD 2900 (Hardware)

Being late in the race for 3D I just tested one of these low end ATI cards. It is supposed to do a lot worse than most of the other cards around, but I was after a silent card that still could do the math.

I was pleased to say that it meets all my needs and more. Not only is it able to cope with any game I am playing at the moment but it also have the nice VIVO function (which I never understood what was until now) making movies look crisp and clear as ever.

When watching a DVD it is almost so good as I think the source is true HD.

Great stuff.

Indiana Jones 4 (movie)

I am surprised to see what modern technology can do. Harrison Ford is still almost as quick and witty as before. The movie takes the Indy formula from all the movies and plays with it just perfect at all times not to disappoint anyone at any time. So for new viewers this is a good entrance into the Indy universe. I however felt bored most of the time, I have seen it all before and maybe I am just to old to be captured by the action – or maybe the action is just a bit blunt.

Not to say the movie has it moments, quite enjoyable moments that shows the genius of it all.

Maybe what I miss in all the great exploration is some of the down to earth things, like with National Treasure it might just become a bit too grand at times.

To be honest I simply fail to know if this is good or not, as I was a bit bored, but I think that despite my boredom the movie is quite well done and therefore deserves a star in the book.

Hawaii, Oslo (movie)

This movie is special in it own kinds. I will closely resemble it with the movie Déjà vu as the movie is fast approaching a future moment of time we all know will be a very very sad one, and we know it has already been written.

The build up of themes, stories, acting is done in such a great matter we just feel the sadness, the unenviable creep closer on us every minute. Like human kind has no intention and capability at all to change the world, to solve its own problems.

As with Déjà vu, the question is….. Is it possible to change? Is it possible that one or more person can change the flow of time and make what is supposed to be a sad ending to become a beautiful miracle?

Of course I will not give you the answer, its up to you to find out.

Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles Season 1 (TV series)

The Terminator universe is an oddity. The first movie much rightly showed off Arnold as the bad guy, The Terminator. In all respect this is the best of them as Arnold just is the coolest as the bad guy. In the later movies he of course chooses to be the good guy just because he is famous, which in return means the scripts are written around him.

When the rights for the Terminator franchise were sold years ago I feared that we would see Terminator 3 and 4 with shitty actors. For the best reason of all Arnold was back in T3 and delivered another great movie and I hope the forth will be just as good.

Now to the bad, Sarah Connor Chronicles exists in an alternative time space after T2. This I really do not like as it kinds of disturbs the Terminator saga in more confusing, will we then get another Terminator 3 movie in the alternative time space?
The Good? The series are brilliant. It is full of all the things we love about the terminator. Machines, violence, time travel and so on. Even if there are no Arnold the actors does an incredible good job to make these chronicles just as pleasant and interesting than the movies.

In fact because it is a series it has the possibility to explore many more of the interesting sides of the Man vs Machine problematics. This is of course not something new as we see this also in Bladerunner, Battlestar gallactica and so on. The interesting twist here is the fact that time is not what is seems, future grips its dirty hand in the past and the computers are fighting for their own existence by trying to uphold humans own desire to design their own terrible faith.

I really do not know why no one did a series of this long time ago. It is just soo good and enjoyable. I feel like I am 16, eh underage I mean 18 again…..