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Constant Vigilance!

I’ve been using Azrael (my PC) without an anti-virus for more than a month now. For the best part of one month, I’ve been running Windows XP SP2 plugged to the internet (I was, of course, running Opera and Firefox. Not IE7.) without any anti-virus or anti-spyware and no patching whatsoever, just a properly configured firewall. This afternoon, I decided to end my little study. It was time to check my PC’s condition. I downloaded several popular anti-virus and anti-spyware solutions and ran full system scan on each of them.

The result? Azrael came out clean. Not one virus or spyware was found. Nada. I think if the users are informed and vigilant enough, there is still away to avoid getting malwares without using third party solutions. (Although, the bugs and the fact that programs still randomly crashes in Windows is an entirely different issue. 😛 ) In a previous entry, I talked about what an average user needs to know.

Security is very, very hard to accomplish because the best security will still be useless to a clueless user. The security community’s mandate is to protect, once and for all. This becomes even more difficult when you have to protect your users against themselves and against their own ignorance.


About princess of antiquity

Abbi Cabanding is a member of the Security Bloggers Network and had been blogging on information security since 2006. She is also a member of the Association for Computing Machinery. She studied Computer Science and Fine Arts at the University of the Philippines - Diliman.


5 thoughts on “Constant Vigilance!

  1. Abbi,

    I agree that a “properly educated” user is much less likely to get “owned” than some schmuck, but are you positive you didn’t get something. I’m sure you are aware of this is to scan your drive with an external system. Connect it as a secondary drive to another PC and then scan it. That way something that is really hidden won’t be effective.

    I’m enjoying reading your blog. Also, just an FYI my wife’s dad was born in Mindanao. His grandmother was a Moro Princess.

    Posted by andy itguy | January 21, 7:38 pm, 7:38 pm
  2. Yes, I did that, too. I also checked my PC via my network. I didn’t find anything. I just want to make a point that the current state of security is not necessarily hopeless. If only we are willing (and have enough patience) to explain this to the users. 🙂

    A Moro Princess? Coolness. Until now, I’m still fascinated on how rich the Moro culture is. And I’m glad you’re enjoying my blog. 🙂

    Posted by abbi | January 21, 8:03 pm, 8:03 pm
  3. Hey Abbi.. Icame across your blog from Farnum’s post. Nice site, and it’s great to see someone ~ my age(20 here) blogging about security as well 🙂

    Anyways, don’t forget there’s some really nasty malware out there that tools will not detect or have the ability to completely remove. Even visiting “safe” sites can be dangerous without protection, who knows if they were hijacked and malicious code was uploaded?

    Back in 2002, the site hosting libpcap and tcpdump was compromised and an intruder planted modified versions of the software that told the system to call out to an IP address with furthur instructions.. you just never know…

    Posted by Marcin | January 24, 4:24 am, 4:24 am
  4. Marcin,

    I agree. I also tried checking the registry for unwanted crap and found nothing. Anyways, I’m running anti-virus / anti-spyware tools now (in case someone is planning to deliberately send me one). 😀

    And yes, we’ll never know, that’s why we need to practice “constant vigilance”.

    Anyways, it is great to see someone from our age group blogging about security. I’ll be bookmarking your site as well. 🙂

    Posted by abbi | January 24, 4:58 am, 4:58 am
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