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Wednesday, 08 September 2010 09:33

Security experts despair

Written by Nick Farell

Half of Aussies don't have a virus checker
Top cop down-under, Tony Negus, is apparently tearing his hair out that the great unwashed are so dumb when it comes to cyber crime. Negus said cyber criminals were so sophisticated and the great unwashed were difficult to protect.

This is because most of them cannot be bothered to install the most basic of security. He said that less than 50 per cent of Australians even have anti-virus software which makes his job incredibly hard.

A global taskforce had been established, which included the Australian Federal Police and representatives of the United States and Britain, to work out modes of collaboration and partnership. 

Of course this does not matter if most Australians don't run firewalls or virus scanners, or are Apple users who think they are invulnerable.

Nick Farell

E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
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+4 #1 robert3892 2010-09-08 10:32
That is really strange because one of my favorite software companies is Auslogics (Australian). They provide an antivirus solution and they are based in Australia. Their free defrag tool is one of the best I've ever seen. You would think Australis would purchase an antivirus solution that is home grown.
+6 #2 Alereon 2010-09-08 11:02
Microsoft should push Microsoft Security Essentials as a critical update to machines without any antivirus protection. It's free, doesn't slow down machines or cause system problems, and is rated highly for its detection and removal performance. I know people would complain about it being monopolistic, but its better than having those machines acting as infected zombies spreading spam and viruses all over the Internet.
-2 #3 aussiebear 2010-09-08 11:57
The solution is not more ineffective security "band-aids" like AV. AV is useless against real world or unconventional attacks. At best, its a dumb guard that you should NOT rely on.

The solution is education of good computing practices.

Such as:
=> Only using Administrator account when you need to install/remove applications or update the system. Password this account.
=> Using Limited/Standard user account for everything else.
=> Upgrading the version of Windows you have, to one that has Software Restriction Policy feature. Then using that as a whitelist. ie: Deny all executables BUT legit ones for your system.
=> Verify/check the legitimacy of apps BEFORE installing them.

The approach is to PREVENT, not to REACT.
-4 #4 aussiebear 2010-09-08 12:07

If you want to know how to use Software Restriction Policy in a whitelist approach, here is a intro guide.
=> http://www.mechbgon.com/srp/
(You can then refine it for your own needs, as they also have links to Microsoft's own guides.)

When I talk about prevention instead of reaction; the point is to stop the execution of foreign code. ie: Don't let it run in the first place!

If we continue reacting, we're still allowing code to run, and then respond to its potentially hostile payload.

This prevention approach works with all versions of Windows that have Software Restriction Policy or AppLocker. eg: WinXP Professional and Vista/Win7 Business/Ultimate/Enterprise versions.
+11 #5 Nooblet 2010-09-08 12:51
maybe Aussies are less vulnerable to viruses since they're isolated in an island by themselves?
-3 #6 Squall_Leonhart 2010-09-08 21:10
aussiebear, you don't have a clue what you are talking about, so please stfu.

if more people stopped relying on crap like Avast, and used Security essentials or AVG, it would make my job easier.
+1 #7 Alereon 2010-09-09 01:17
Yeah, it's completely unrealistic to expect the kind of average computer user who doesn't even know they need antivirus to use executable whitelisting. At least Windows 7 (especially 64-bit) is much more resistant to infection, thanks to driver signing, limited privileges unless explicitly escalated, and address space layout randomization.

One serious problem is that the most common causes of infection, outdated browser plugins, aren't addressed via automatic updates. Adobe and Sun need applications running in the background to automatically update Flash/Reader/Java without user interaction. Until we have this, users are going to keep clicking cancel on update prompts and getting themselves infected the next time they visit a site with an infected ad in the rotation.
0 #8 enjoi.adrian 2010-09-09 02:46
i agree with the whole prevention idea, though it is much harder on any sort of resource to implement anything that would make a difference.

plus, this would also mean business' stop making money off of selling av's :P

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