Friday, April 23, 2010

When the cure is worse than the disease

McAfee went nuts. All kinds of PCs locked up -- actually, went into an endless loop of reboots -- when an update went haywire. The thing is, my MacBook wasn't impacted. Oh, yeah. Right.

Truth be told, I do run anti-virus protection on my MacBook: Intego.

"Why," you ask?

No, really; go ahead and ask.

Okay, then, since you asked. Because, despite what many people think, Macs are susceptible to viruses. There's a current threat to Macs called HellRTS.D (an update to the 2004 HellRTS), though isn't actually in the wild, as PC World reports:
The malicious software can now open a "backdoor" to your Mac by setting up its own server on a private port, complete with a password. The software duplicates and changes its name, identifying itself as other genuine Mac software (like "iPhoto"), making it even harder to spot. The new HellRTS variant can contact remote servers, and then, Intego says, "provide direct access to [the] infected Mac."

... The HellRTS.D variant isn't out in the wild; you can only be infected if you install the rogue software.
Since I don't do the illegal download thing, I'm not likely to be infected. But, one day, a Mac virus will be actually "in the wild," and a lot of people will be infected. I won't be one of those.

I also run Microsoft Security Essentials on my Mac. No, Microsoft doesn't make anti-virus software for OS X. But, I have dual-boot capability on my Mac. So, if I choose to boot my Mac to Windows XP, I'm running Microsoft Security Essentials.

I'm trying it out, and, so far, I'm liking it. It does okay. And, it's free.

For a paid security suite, though, I prefer the Norton security suite, although I also like the Kaspersky suite.

I loathe McAfee. In 2006, I had an installation that came on a computer, and I tried to remove it. It didn't want to be removed. And McAfee was no help. I still haven't forgiven them.

Now, the McAfee program that caused all the problems this week wasn't the one you use as a consumer. It was the business version. Which is harder to repair.

Think about it: you get to work and turn your computer on.

It stars booting, then reboots. And reboots. And reboots. Over and over and over.

How do you stop that?

Well, let's look at how it started. In a corporate environment, the network folks probably sent an update over the network. That messed-up McAfee update.

And, when the computers rebooted, they got into an endless loop of reboots.

And, the network people can't send the fix down the network. Because the computer never fully connects to the network, because when it tries to boot, it encounters the error and reboots. And, since it never connects to the network, the company can't send the fix to the computer on the network.

Which means a technician will have to come by to each affected computer.

They have to fix each one, individually, by hand.

McAfee is costing a lot of companies a lot of bucks.

And that's just another example of why I won't waste my money on McAfee.


  1. Whenever someone posts on security software, I have to chime in on the stuff that I use. Try F-Secure, really. I have been using it since Love Bug and have never had an issue with security ever. And it is less than forty bucks a year.

    Pimping finished.

  2. F-Secure usually rates well in the comparisons by mags such as PC World. Usually 4th or 5th, depending on how many of the others advertise in the mag.

    I've used some of their other products, but not their anti-virus. They seem to make good stuff.

  3. I am using Internet Security 2010 and like I said, have been using their products since Love Bug. When was that, 1997 or so?

    My computer has never gotten sick since, either. Of course, I don't surf porn either.

  4. You hit the nail on the head with the "surf porn" comment.

    I cannot count the number of times that I've worked to remove a virus from someone's computer. I can count on one hand the number of times I've done that and they hadn't visited some Website they should have avoided (porn, warez, etc).

    The way to be safe is to be smart and do the right thing. Yes, that applies to computers as well as to life.

  5. I have to go with Paul on F-Secure.
    It's a very dependable product. My ISP actually provides the F-Secure suite to it's customers free of charge(?), just to cut down on their tech support calls.

  6. As a tech support person, I used to spend more time trying to help users install applications despite the McAfee 'protection'. We called it the McAfee virus, in fact. Norton caused issues at times, too, but never as bad.
    I run Security Essentials on all my PCs at home, and it seems to do the trick.


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