A Great Quote On Computer Security

I may have mentioned this to some in recent years, but I will let you know now that most of the media that I consume is in the form of “recorded” radio broadcasts that I download onto my computer, iPod or phone.    The these are known as PODCASTS.  Some of the shows I listed to are actual broadcast programs that can be found on local or national radio, while others are exclusively web-casted (internet only).

One show I listen to weekly is called Your Mac Life.   It is hosted by 1 man (formerly from CT) , broadcasting from his home in Portland OR, and there are usually 1 to 3 in studio guests with diverse levels of Mac expertise.   I know for a fact that thousands of people tune in live or after the fact via a podcast download and that due to the advertise revenue, it provides a sustainable income for the host.   This is the new media and I think the possibilities are quite awesome.

On the May 25 show, Bill, one of the regular guests, provided a very telling comment about Windows and Mac security.  The panel was conversing for several minutes about the fact that malware infections were now being seen in somewhat large numbers on the Mac and pondering whether it was time for Mac users to invest time and or money in security software.   In a nutshell, Bill said that because most of these malware infections come because the computer user authorizes the harmful program to be installed — NO ANTI-VIRUS / ANTI-MALWARE WILL STOP IT.

Bill, an expert in the field of custom home theater installations, does not use security software on his Mac.   However, for all of my Mac and Windows clients his commentary should really be something to take note of.    Most of the computer infections that you will encounter are technically known as malware — which means they require your interaction to do harm.  This is a stark contrast from computer viruses, which are self replicating.

In nearly all of the infections I am seeing on client computers, I sadly conclude that they have occurred because the user AUTHORIZED THE INSTALLATION.  To rephrase Bill’s point in the form of a question:  How is an anti-virus program going to help you when you give a (harmful) program your permission to be installed?

I have found with Microsoft Windows — there is a program can pro-actively block some malware — it is the pro version of Malware Bytes.  Many of you use the free version, which requires you to run the scans yourself (and does a great job).  As a $25 one time purchase, the Pro version is well worth it.  http://www.malwarebytes.org/