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The Computer Virus Industry
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Anonymous
PostPosted: 23-08-2003 01:23    Post subject: The Computer Virus Industry Reply with quote

The accusation of virus-killer software manufacturers of creating their own demand is on The Times Online today (though the tight bastards have hidden all their content behind a subscription fee recently).

Has there been any evidence that this is the case?
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Anonymous
PostPosted: 23-08-2003 16:25    Post subject: Reply with quote

IIRC there have been stories of viruses being developed for study within anti-virus software companies that have "escaped into the wild." How true these stories are I'm not sure, but there is a rationale for these companies developing viruses, exploiting recently discovered flaws in the OS etc., as a means to understand what they might be about to face. It is akin to the allowance made in the Chemical Weapons Convention allowing the production of very small quantities of chemical agent in order to better protect/defend against it.

Still, this is pretty much speculation as I can't point to a specific example.
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ttaarraassOffline
Joined: 27 Oct 2002
Total posts: 1498
Location: Cambridge
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PostPosted: 23-08-2003 16:40    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Re: virus. A threat to your PC or licence to print money?
By Anthony Browne

COMPUTER software companies have been accused of failing to stamp out viruses because they make so much money selling programmes to combat them.
Companies that sell antivirus programmes were also accused of choosing catchy names for the viruses, so they get more publicity.

The row, which reflects the millennium bug furore, when computer experts were accused of hyping the problem to generate work, has erupted after the SoBig.F virus was declared the biggest ever, with e-mail inboxes clogged up around the world. The internet provider AOL said it had stopped more than 23 million copies of the virus.

BT, Britain’s biggest phone company, was yesterday warning internet service providers that its fast internet broadband network was “suffering intermittent degradation of service” because of the extra traffic the virus had generated.

Yesterday Nick Scales, chief executive of software company Avecho, which also makes anti-virus programmes, said the industry had a vested commercial interest in letting the virus attacks continue: “It’s complacent, silly and I’d even go so far as to say there is a cartel there. There is a triangle between the virus writers who get the kudos, the anti-virus software companies and the technical writers who write about it.”

The commercial director of Avecho, Simon Copeland, said that people in other anti-virus companies had told him they chose deliberately provocative names in order to get publicity. “They think its not bad to get some publicity because it scares everyone into buying their product.”

But the claims were denied by other software companies. Simon Conant, of Microsoft, said: “That’s like saying that fire departments want fires.”
PS. I still haven't had a virus, and have never (in 10 years of using a PC) run AV software or a firewall. Woo!

Last edited by ttaarraass on 23-08-2003 16:43; edited 1 time in total
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Anonymous
PostPosted: 25-08-2003 08:40    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with the 'Firemen and starting fires' quote. They are enough kids out there creating or re-writing virii to keep the anti virus industry busy. Logon to the Norton anti virus site and you'll see up to four new alerts in one day.

And I would hardly consider 'So-Big-F' to be a provocative name. I've heard cats names with a bigger fear factor.

Plus if you don't want to put money in their pockets, use the popular, famous and free AVG anti virus.
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Anonymous
PostPosted: 25-08-2003 10:05    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm a complete novice at all this anti-virus stuff, where can i find this AVG thing?
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NilesCalderOffline
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Joined: 20 Aug 2001
Total posts: 1833
PostPosted: 25-08-2003 10:10    Post subject: Reply with quote

Blueswidow wrote:

I'm a complete novice at all this anti-virus stuff, where can i find this AVG thing?
Here, m'dear.
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MythopoeikaOffline
Joined: 18 Sep 2001
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PostPosted: 26-08-2003 13:04    Post subject: Reply with quote

taras wrote:

PS. I still haven't had a virus, and have never (in 10 years of using a PC) run AV software or a firewall. Woo!


Depends what operating system you're running, and the type of internet connection you have, and how careful you are.
Hackers don't usually bother attacking somebody who's using an older, less secure version of Windows (such as Win 95 or Win 9Cool, and they also don't bother unless you have a fixed IP address (i.e. broadband). If you connect through dialup, you're less likely to get attacked by hackers.
As for viruses, they mostly arrive through email. If you delete all the dodgy emails without viewing them or allowing attachments through, you're mostly safe.
It *is* possible (but rare) to get a virus (usually a javascript or similar virus) by just looking at a website - it almost happened to me twice, but my virus checker software protected me.
So you've been very, very lucky...
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McAvennie_Offline
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PostPosted: 01-09-2003 20:38    Post subject: Reply with quote

I turned ZoneAlert off cos I was sick off the pop-ups and got a virus that wiped my hard drive within 24 hours.
Was it a spotty geek or was it Zone Alert?
Bastards, whichever one.
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Anonymous
PostPosted: 01-09-2003 20:42    Post subject: Reply with quote

McAvennie wrote:

I turned ZoneAlert off cos I was sick off the pop-ups and got a virus that wiped my hard drive within 24 hours.
Was it a spotty geek or was it Zone Alert?
Bastards, whichever one.


u can switch off the popy up bits in ZA.. at least the ones that show u whats happeing..it still blocks em but it dont tell u all the time..
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Rrose_SelavyOffline
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PostPosted: 01-09-2003 21:27    Post subject: Reply with quote

McAvennie wrote:

I turned ZoneAlert off cos I was sick off the pop-ups and got a virus that wiped my hard drive within 24 hours.
Was it a spotty geek or was it Zone Alert?
Bastards, whichever one.


Zone Alarm is a Firewall program , not an anti virus program.It isn't meant to stop viruses.
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Mighty_EmperorOffline
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PostPosted: 01-09-2003 22:02    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is a whole slew of good security resources here (most of them for free):

http://faq.ozoneasylum.com/338/

I'd recommend everyone grab the basic set of security tools:

Firewall - ZA or Outpost (XP comes with a firewall but get another one - MS aren't really the kind of people to be trusted).

Antivirus - AVG (if you can the license is funny about which countries are in and out).

Spyware scanner - Adaware

All of that is available free.

I also run Jammer (I got a free version on a computeragazine cover disc) which locks down the Registry so anything that tries to install itself causes an alert.

Emps
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ttaarraassOffline
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PostPosted: 01-09-2003 22:24    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mythopoeika wrote:

Depends what operating system you're running, and the type of internet connection you have, and how careful you are.
Well, I've been on a high-speed university connection for the last year and running XP Smile

I reckon if you run Windows Update once a week, don't open dodgy attachments and don't download dodgy files, then there's not really any need for AV software. And think before doing silly things, like, "would Microsoft really send me updates by e-mail?" and "would this pirated copy of [game] really have such a small file size - and is it worth the risk of getting a virus? (yes!)"
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Imperial_CallOffline
Joined: 21 Sep 2002
Total posts: 1195
PostPosted: 01-09-2003 23:03    Post subject: Reply with quote

Y'know I was convinced there was summat funny about anti-virus software, twice within days of my software licence due to "expire" my 'puter went down wi' summat ... didn't this year tho'
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mendhakOffline
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PostPosted: 08-11-2004 02:21    Post subject: Reply with quote

taras wrote:

PS. I still haven't had a virus, and have never (in 10 years of using a PC) run AV software or a firewall. Woo!


Taras, I'd really like a link to that article if you can remember where you got it from.
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graylien
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PostPosted: 08-11-2004 19:07    Post subject: Reply with quote

Taras: with respect, if you've never run an antivirus programme how do you know you don't have a virus?

There seems to be a bit of a misconception around that the instant your computer contracts a virus it will go crazy. In fact, some viruses will sit in the background happily working away using your PC to send off spam or participate in DNS attacks without you being any the wiser - except perhaps noticing that the internet seems a little slower than it used to be.

(See How Viruses (and your PC) are used to send spam and Are Hackers Using Your PC? )

There are plenty of freeware antivirus and firewall programmes around which do a perfectly adequate job Personally, I use AVG Antivirus and ZoneAlarm. My ex-flatmate (who obviously used the same internet connection as me) had no end of bother with viruses and nearly got himself kicked off the internet when he somehow contracted a dialler on his laptop which ran up an additional £30 on our phone bill. (After which I insisted he install some security and got my phone company to block calls to Premium Rate numbers)

I would recommend that anyone without a firewall visit the Shields Up test center to discover just how easily their PC can be compromised.
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