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Spam Security The Internet

Spam and Spyware Too Much for Some Users 888

stewart_maximus writes "Spam and spyware is annoying to everyone, but some users are giving up on the Internet (mirror). Any Slashdot readers know someone who pulled the plug in frustration? Any advice for frustrated users, especially non-technical users?"
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Spam and Spyware Too Much for Some Users

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  • by mr.henry ( 618818 ) * on Friday January 14, 2005 @11:53AM (#11363036) Journal
    I think I would prefer to give up air and water first.
    • There's too much water in beer to give up on that precious material...
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I have given up the net. Haven't used it in years.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Probably should include sex, but for a lot of Slashdot-ers, that's not a big deal :-)
    • Re:Give up net!? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by fshalor ( 133678 ) <fshalor@co m c a s t . n et> on Friday January 14, 2005 @12:20PM (#11363536) Homepage Journal
      Give up IE and OUtlook.

      I've shoved firefox/t-bird down many throats. Most have recovered and are back online.
    • by Roadkills-R-Us ( 122219 ) on Friday January 14, 2005 @12:51PM (#11364061) Homepage
      Well, close enough.

      But I've known several people who have given up on the internet because of spam, nevermind spyware.

      My wife is one. She really doesn't care for computers much. She only started using email when I was in Europe on business for a week, and our schedules made phone calls difficult. She liked it enough to keep using it, but she never used it much. So when she was getting several hundred spams a week, vs 1 or 2 real emails a week, she just gave up. She goes to the Yelow Pages and information and calling friends rather than using the web. I can't say that I blame her.

      I think the best thing we can do is apply 19th century Texas justice. We can start with the UT student they just busted. If he's guilty, string him up from the highest light pole on I35 for the whole world to see. Run it on every news program for a week; ``Spammers, we're coming for you.''

      These guys are costing us hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars, and wasting the single, most precious commodity we have -- time. By intergalactic ore hauler loads.
  • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) * on Friday January 14, 2005 @11:53AM (#11363039) Homepage Journal
    It's rather sad to see the smile fade, the eyes glaze, the jaw set ... but these are what follow when I explain what people need to prepare themsevles for to join the great information highway.

    Oh, there's lots of great things to see and do on the 'net, but there's so much predation by more scum than even Mos Eisley would see on a good day that newbies must be inoculated before exposing themselves to it.

    A firewall, virus scanning and quite a lot of gorm, to avoid spam scams. I'm almost to the point of telling, not merely suggesting, people to skip it if there isn't some damn good reason to be on the 'net.

    Oh, and don't use Microsoft Explorer or Outlook or <Marvin Martian Voice> you'll be sorry, very sorry indeed.</Marvin Martian Voice> Getting on the 'net with good tools is a must and keeping up on them is also a must. Some degree of technical understanding is also essential, to identify when something is out of the ordinary, i.e. that request to verify your bank account goes to some ip address instead of yourback.com and where to go to keep up on the latest tools and information to protect oneself.

    In the end, visiting or maintaining a presence on the internet is a job, not just an adventure, which requires some effort by the user to protect themselves.

    • by garcia ( 6573 ) * on Friday January 14, 2005 @12:00PM (#11363179)
      But 2004 "was a real turning point in a bad direction," said technology analyst Ted Schadler of Forrester Research. "People are getting really angry. They're angry at Dell and Microsoft and their cable providers, and that's appropriate. They should be."

      Be upset at MSFT for the spyware, trojans, and worms. Be upset at the little bastards that make this shit. Be upset at yourself for not properly protecting yourself. But certainly do no blame Dell and do not blame your Cable provider as they aren't at fault.

      We are in a time period of blaming everyone else for our problems. Personally, I spent the time protecting myself and my network from issues. Yeah, they could probably still come through but I have at least closed most of the holes that I know of. If you are on the Internet without a hardware router/firewall and using software without a software firewall and surfing the web without virus protection and Spyware detection I really don't feel sorry for you.

      For the person that they quoted at the beginning of the article saying that he was playing Pong and had the first desktop on his block... I'm sure he knew what he had to do to protect himself. He was just too lazy to do so.

      Gerald Stark, 52, trained on computers in school and in the Navy before starting a small cleaning business in Lisbon Falls, Maine.....A virus killed one machine. Then spyware infested the next one, wiping out a year's worth of receipt records.

      No, Gerald lost his receipt records. Why weren't there adequate backups? Why didn't he keep the originals for 7 years? Why didn't he have multiple off-site backups in a format like TXT or CSV which is not vulnerable?

      People need to protect themselves and stop asking the government to do it for them. LEARN to use a computer, LEARN how to protect yourself, and LEARN not to be stupid.

      Not everyone can know everything but at least know the basics and you will be a lot better off.
      • Its not the users.

        Admins here use to brag about their uptimes for their servers, but today they take them down every couple of days for updates and patches. yet still worms and viruses are sneaking in even with well trained staff.

        Gerald Stark, did quite well for a non techie user. He had the correct anti spyware/virus/ software and 2 firewalls. My guess is the crackers were ahead of the anti spyware and virus companies. I remember reading here on slashdot about an interview with a cracker who wrote worms
        • by garcia ( 6573 ) *
          How did you know the virus did not delete data on his system before he could backup? How did you know the virus did not delete some Windows dlls preventing the machine to load in order for him to do his backup?

          Because he lost and entire year's worth of receipts. Thus he was not backing them up on a regular basis. Hell, he wasn't even backing them up on a monthly basis. Thus there is no excuse.

          You don't need a fancy backup solution to store receipts. You need a bunch of floppies, a Zip disk, or even a
        • Then a standard desktop would have been used probably with no backup at all. Users do not know about tape backups.

          That's not completely true. Today's "standard" desktop usually comes with at least a cd burner, if not a CD/DVD burner. The majority of burning software that is include has some type of backup feature. Not to mention most users burn disks all the time (i.e. photo's, duping CD's, MP3's, etc.) Unfortunately, they never seem to backup all there important data, like business receipts.
      • At some point, "blame the user" becomes tired. Yes, he should have had backups, and/or the originals stored somewhere secure. Better/different virus protection would also help. However, at some point, the blame has to fall on the people that point this together. Tying the OS to its applications and making them all have authority with one another is the low point. Done to control and manipulate customers, as well as make usage easier, it makes any security hole threatening. When DRM hits and the users gets
    • by PetWolverine ( 638111 ) on Friday January 14, 2005 @12:11PM (#11363394) Journal
      Get a Mac!
      • by Anonymous Coward
        I've been using Windows and Linux for years. Last September my school gave me a Mac to use. After 4 months of use I've realized just how much better a Mac can be for people without a CS degree or similar experience. Nothing bad has happened to anyone I know using the Macs.

        Next time my parents and friends of a less geek-ish persuasion decide to upgrade, the new Mini Mac is going to be the only one I will continue to provide free tech support for - which means, as I've learned, hardly any tech support at
    • by chris_mahan ( 256577 ) <chris.mahan@gmail.com> on Friday January 14, 2005 @12:24PM (#11363590) Homepage
      I agree. To everything you said.

      I had the pleasure recently to help a couple friends of my wife with their "slow as molasses" computer. They paid for sushi, so I said ok.

      The box was Win ME Dell box from 2000, dialup.
      Running ad-aware netted me 1400 nasties. The viruses (oh yes they were there) would not go away. They had not upgraded Norton Antivirus since their 1 year membership ended, in 2001.

      So I took the box with me, to my business partners' and while I was working on code, he:
      *Installed Nic card
      *reformatted
      *put Win2k pro
      *drivers
      *windows upgrade
      *openoffice 1.4
      *firefox
      *Zone Alarm
      *Adobe Acrobat Reader
      *ad-aware
      *spy-bot

      The machine ran great, snappy, everything was hunky dorey.

      And he gave them an unopened boxed Norton System Works 2004.

      Then, I took the box back to my house, had the husband of the couple come over, and took 1 hour writing down, on paper, the dos and don'ts.

      *Use Firefox for browsing the web
      *Don't use Internet Explorer except for windows update
      *Run windows update once a month
      *Run Antivirus update once a month (they're on dialup remember?)
      *Do not download email to your computer, use Yahoo mail.
      *NEVER install any installation CDs from internet service providers.

      He took the computer home, and we haven't heard a word from them.

      My wife is pissed now because the wife didn't even say thank you. I'm okay because they just don't know.

      But I already know what I will find when I go to their house next time:

      They installed the MSN cd.
      They are using IE.
      They did not run any windows updates.
      They did not even install the antivirus software.
      They are using microsoft outlook express
      They have viruses and spyware on their computer.

      I told my wife: Computer security work for people she volunteers me for is $375USD per hour.

      I have a great analogy, which I told here on slashdot before:
      If all car mechanics replaced car engines for free when they break, why would anybody ever have an oil change done?
      The only reason people change their oil is because a cracked engine block will cost them between $2,000 and $15,000.

      So when someone comes and begs for you to "fix their PC", tell them it's a $1,000 flat. They'll come back and say: "But I can buy another pc for less than that!" And you reply: "Excellent! You do that. Now let me go back to my movie."

      And if they say you are mean, ask them if their mechanic will fix their car engine for free.

      • bah - most people are trainable, but make sure they get a quote on how much it will cost them at a dealer, first.

        I cleaned up a computer like this once, then trained the user in firewalls, anti-virus, and anti-spam/spyware. I also told him where he got the spyware and viruses in the first place - audiogalaxy, porn sites, and free movie stream sites. I told him first off, if a site wants to automatically install software on your system without saying "download x software to view this site properly, it
    • by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Friday January 14, 2005 @12:41PM (#11363872) Journal
      Did you read the article?

      The guy from main had 2 firewalls, spyware and antivirus software. Still 1 machine had a virus that killed it that the vendor was behind on, and the second had spyware that brought it down to its knees. I think as a (l)user he did a fairly good job and a huge effort compared to 90% of the internet users.

      He lost all his reciepts for his business purchases and vows never to buy anything online again. Ouch but can you blame him?

      The fact is its out of control and a firewall wont protect your system if you recieve an email that is written in html and has some javascript exploit to install some worm. You do not even have to read any attachments. Just read it.

      But another point is why should users spend so many resources learning, buying firewalls, using windowsUpdate, updating anti virus software, and keep updating lavasoft? Yes users need to take precautions of course but what is happening is just silly. I spend at least 2 hours a week updating my computer at home now.

      I for one is nervous about doing ecommerce on the internet even on firefox. How do I know my machine is not infecting and not telling me? I even have two installations of Windows and one is used to watch porn and listen to music. I do not trust my files and think they could be infected.

      I find spyware all the time on my systems and most of the time the anti spyware and virus software is a few weeks behind.

      Yes like changing oil in your car a user should be minimally educated but we need drastic action. Either start procecuting these people are work on adding extensions to IPV6 to have better tracking and better security so admins and ISP's can block most of this.

      I fear though DRM will be trounced soon by the likes of MS and the net and ecommerce communities will rejoice since it will finally stop unathorized software to be installed by these pesky hackers.

      If we in the hacker community do not take care of it they will and take away your rights in return.
      • I find spyware all the time on my systems and most of the time the anti spyware and virus software is a few weeks behind.

        How? I use firefox for web, outlook for email, and run a regular hardware firewall. No spyware, ever (apart from Kazaa ages ago). You need to figure out what the infection vector is, because you don't need to be getting all this crap.
  • bill (Score:4, Funny)

    by froggero1 ( 848930 ) on Friday January 14, 2005 @11:53AM (#11363041)
    No one is immune. Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates discovered spyware on his personal machine not long ago.

    yeah we know, it's called internet explorer

  • For the last 2 weeks i've been trying MS Antispyware
    http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/de tails.aspx?Fa milyID=321cd7a2-6a57-4c57-a8bd-dbf62eda9671&displa ylang=en&Hash=5BMW635

    And i must say, it works easyer then ad-aware or Spybot. And works BETTER then ad-aware and spybot..

    Just a thought..
    • Yes, I've been using it too, and I must say I'm VERY impressed. Especially useful is it's ability to allow you to easily identify running processes and their known function. (And stop them from loading in the future with a click). However, as a caution, I find it is far worse for removing memory resident spyware than ad-aware. It found, but could not remove, some spyware in my tests. As an aside, it also pooched my Kazaa Lite by removing the registry entries. :P
  • Yes (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 14, 2005 @11:55AM (#11363064)
    Get a mac.

    You don't have an excuse now. Get the minimac. It will suffice for many people (sure, _some_ people just have to have those silly apps that only work in windows, for them, the future is not so bright).

    The choice is obvious.

    • Silly Apps? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mr.henry ( 618818 ) *
      I guess you think AutoCAD and ArcGIS are "silly apps." I know Mac people like to use their computer to make a fashion statement, but some people use computers to do work.
      • by American AC in Paris ( 230456 ) * on Friday January 14, 2005 @12:02PM (#11363220) Homepage
        I guess you think AutoCAD and ArcGIS are "silly apps." I know Mac people like to use their computer to make a fashion statement, but some people use computers to do work.

        Well gosh, Apple should get right on that before they lose all those home users who simply want to send email, surf the web, and make industry-grade schematic diagrams of skyscrapers.

        • Re:Silly Apps? (Score:3, Interesting)

          Games.

          My wife wants to get a second computer for the living area (as I use our current computer mostly all the time for business etc.) and I'm trying to convince her to either get a Mac, Linux or if she *must* have Windows to keep it off the Internet.

          She won't budge mainly because of games. Our kids have a bunch of little kid games that only run on Windows .. and they also have a bunch of flash games that run on the Internet. Going either route (Mac/Linux or No Internet) means sacrificing one of the two.
      • What percentage of the public uses AutoCAD and ArcGIS *at home*? Be honest now.

        For the vast majority of people (most of whom only need web browser, email, office suite, maybe tax/financial software, some basic photo/video/audio manipulation), OS X will work just fine.
    • Re:Yes (Score:3, Insightful)

      by athakur999 ( 44340 )
      How exactly will a Mac keep spam away from you?

      Besides, if everyone followed your advice and got a Mac, Apple's desktop market share would go up. If Macs had a significant market share on the desktop, you can be damn sure spyware makers will start writing little presents for you guys too ;)

    • "You don't have an excuse now. Get the minimac"

      MiniMac, like MiniMe, is immune to spyware for now. However, if you have ever used email on a mac, you will know that spam is not a "to windows only" phenomenon!

      " people just have to have those silly apps that only work in windows, for them, the future is not so bright"

      Ir maybe you really do think that "email" is a silly windows-only app?

  • Simple (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    This [apple.com]
  • Can you blame him? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Nosf3ratu ( 702029 )
    Without beind educated on the most simpe [kolla.de] of security [getfirefox.com] measures [grisoft.com] how can these types of users be expected to do anything but throw their collective arms up in frustration?

    The internet experience doesn't have to be this way, but when the powers that be (Microsoft, mostly) sit on their laurels and allow the situation to degenerate, what hope is there?

  • by khasim ( 1285 ) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Friday January 14, 2005 @11:56AM (#11363078)
    Easy to install, easy to use and they handle almost all of the problems that end users will run into.
  • Buy a mac (Score:3, Insightful)

    by grendel's mom ( 550034 ) on Friday January 14, 2005 @11:56AM (#11363083)
    1. Buy a mac or other non-windows machine
    2. Use a browser with pop-up and ad blocking capablility.
    3.
    4. Profit from the wealth of information on the web.
  • by masonbrown ( 208074 ) on Friday January 14, 2005 @11:56AM (#11363084) Homepage
    It's even worse when you encounter the opposite... Those who refuse to give up the Internet even though they've got hundreds of virii and spyware programs on their system.

    A couple of months ago, I went into my dry cleaner and they said they couldn't take credit cards that day. The reason? Their credit card system (PCs on the Internet) wasn't working because of a virus. I thought about giving them a lecture on keeping credit transactions off the public Internet, but knew it wouldn't do any good so just paid cash and left.....
    • I would be carefull not to ever give them your credit card.

      Alot of worms install keyboard loggers.

      I would have politely lectured them and told them a worm/virus could cost them their business and lawsuits.

      if they must go on the net use a different pc but keep the credit card machine secure and used only for transactions.

      I use to work for Jason's Deli and while mapquest is used for the delivery drivers on the transaction POS so we knew where we were going, someone browsed an internet that installed a wor
  • Why in my day we used to use telnet to get to iscabbs.

    We didn't have any of this fancy spam or spyware of which you speak. If we wanted spam, we had to log off, go outside, and walk to the 7-11 in three feet of snow, uphill, both ways.

    *grumbles*

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I am not giving up as a user, but yesterday I have announced the closing of my hosting services (that I run as a side business) because I am tired of being trying to be hacked, and people exploiting scripts on the server, and running worms, and trying to DoS my server, and trying to flood other servers... I have way better things to do with my life than trying to protect my little server from punks out there...
  • What's the answer? Well, you could have pushed Linux until you said non-technical. Otherwise this thread could pretty much just be an ad for the Apple Mac Mini or even the iMac G5.

    No, I won't add links to those. They're everywhere this week. And yes, I want one. Either one.

    • by SomeoneGotMyNick ( 200685 ) on Friday January 14, 2005 @12:08PM (#11363327) Journal
      Well, you could have pushed Linux until you said non-technical

      Have you installed Mandrake 10.1 lateley? I've been upgrading Linux in increments over the years and it wasn't till recently that I tried a full fresh install. Mandrake 10.1 did a wonderful job of installing everything needed for Internet access, printers, useable office software, multimedia, games, etc. during the installation process. Install recommended items, reboot, get online. Easy as pie. I was VERY IMPRESSED at the final result. So was my neighbor. After playing with a dual boot Mandrake 10.1 with XP for about a week, she's ready to pull the XP drive and give it to her husband for his PC. Mandrake gives her everything she needs to do for home and online. She even downloaded the latest Wine and started getting her Windows only software installed seamlessly.
      • Sorry, but Linux is still a big fat No. I am not even going to go into the reasons why; they are all glaringly obvious. Linux on the desktop is a great goal, and I am actively working on it and advocating it to the more computer-savvy people I know. But let's be realistic here - all the people I have convinced to try it out have had to call me for help with something once a day at first, dropping to once a week after a month, and the amount of help they need continues to drop logarithmically.

        The fact of

  • Clicky [theregister.co.uk]

    El Reg mentions the LA Times article as a "must-read feature".
  • Like they said... (Score:2, Informative)

    by krautcanman ( 609042 )
    get a mac! Popup blockers work just the same. There's pretty much no such thing as spyware or virii.
  • I stopped usign the internet years ago. Now I only use this new invention called the World Wide Web. Oh yeah, and I use e-mail, too. But as long as I avoid that nasty internet thingy, I know I'll be OK...
  • I can see your average user getting pretty bent out of shape over spam and spyware. But your average Slashdotter is probably aware of the tools that can be used to combat these things. Yes, they're both annoying, but they can be minimized to the point of being trivial.

    What has me ready to give up on the internet is that you can't play a single fucking multiplayer game anywhere without being inundated by a bunch of hostile, barely-literate smacktards.
  • Advice For Users (Score:5, Insightful)

    by American AC in Paris ( 230456 ) * on Friday January 14, 2005 @11:57AM (#11363113) Homepage
    Any advice for frustrated users, especially non-technical users?

    For the first time in ages, I can say this with a perfectly straight face and without reservation:

    Get a Mac.

    They're affordable, they're stable, they're powerful, they're easy-to-use, they're resilient against infection, they come with excellent software, there are some great games available, and yes, Virginia, they'll even work with your multi-button mouse.

    For the basic user, what else is there?

    • Re:Advice For Users (Score:3, Informative)

      by LWATCDR ( 28044 )
      If not a Mac.
      1. Get a Gmail account and use that with Thunderbird for email.
      2. Get Firefox,
      3. If on broadband get a router/switch/firewall appliance and keep it updated.

      Finaly Knoppix will let you surf the web without much worry about spyware and or virus attack. Might take a techie set it up the first time but after that.

      And yes Linux is an option even for a non-techie. It might take a techie to set it up but once setup it can be very useful and easy to keep working.

      Fedora with Yum setup with a cron job
  • byebye (Score:2, Funny)

    by Burl Ives ( 139364 )
    ...don't let the door hit you on the ass on the way out.
  • Easy Instructions:
    a) Download Firefox [getfirefox.com].

    b) Download anti-spyware (ad-aware, Spybot)
    c) Get off the internet.
    d) Run the anti-spyware to make sure your machine is 100% virus and spyware free.
    e) Activate your winxp firewall.
    f) install Firefox.

    Ta-da! :)
  • oh for god's sake (Score:5, Insightful)

    by macsox ( 236590 ) on Friday January 14, 2005 @11:58AM (#11363123) Journal
    i know everyone is going to say this but two things immediately leap out at me.

    1) don't use windows, for chrissakes. how many people out there in the world don't know that there are alternatives? is it really that many? is apple's media saturation here in the bay area completely nonexistent anywhere else?

    2) the solution isn't legislation -- it's people making crappy products. if toyota made a car that constantly ran into trees, the solution wouldn't be banning trees, it would be making toyota make some good friggin' cars.

    lord stuff like this makes me pissy.
  • Buy an Apple (Score:4, Interesting)

    by _PimpDaddy7_ ( 415866 ) on Friday January 14, 2005 @11:58AM (#11363128)
    Call me a troll, whatever.

    I use to fix friends/relatives PCs all the time with their problems.

    Then spyware just went amuck.

    I tell people now to just buy an apple. They most likely won't call me for help with PC issues.

    I myself am sick of the spyware crap that's out there infecting PCs. I am on the road to going 100% mac.

    I don't see Microsoft fixing these issues, so I just tell people buy an Apple.
  • Honestly, since I've installed Linux (of the Gentoo flavor) Life has been a breeze as far as popups/spyware/viruses. The one downside is the lack of many (not any) games that are good. But... since these people resorted to using their machines as utilities for sorting photos, typing documents, Linux is great at that, they probably won't miss the games anyway.

    -Jesse
  • Buy a Mac [apple.com].
  • Don't use Dial-up (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tygerstripes ( 832644 ) on Friday January 14, 2005 @11:59AM (#11363158)
    Sounds silly, but there's a major practical barrier here:

    If a user doesn't have the time and/or inclination to leave their browser of (informed) choice downloading critical updates to browser, OS, AV, anti-spyware and so on, then they're more likely to go "Ah, skip it - I can get them later, and anything dodgy will get cleared out then."

    If you don't have the bandwidth to match your impatience, you're less likely to keep your critical software up-to-date. Simple psychology.

  • by sootman ( 158191 ) on Friday January 14, 2005 @12:00PM (#11363174) Homepage Journal
    Like many others here, a lot of people ask me what I think they should buy when it's tine to get a (new) computer. I now have an easy anwer for all of them: an Apple Mac Mini. The $499 model plus $75 to bring it to 512 MB RAM is *perfect* for everyone I know. Nearly no one I know *needs* Windows for anything. If they do, they can get a second, older computer and not connect it to the Internet.

    I am so, so happy Apple has finally made a *really* affordable good Mac. (Where "affordable" means "less than $800" and "good" means "doesn't have a bloody great CRT built-in." Yes, the iBooks are fabulous, but the small screen and keyboard aren't so great for some folks. And $1000 is a lot more than $600 for a lot of people.) Thank you thank you thank you!
    • by zhiwenchong ( 155773 ) on Friday January 14, 2005 @12:13PM (#11363435)
      Incidentally, just FYI, you can actually add 3rd-party RAM to the Mini yourself without voiding the warranty. Take a look at this:
      Clearing up confusion about the Mac Mini [tuaw.com]

      [quote]
      While it is strongly recommended that you only have an Apple Authorized Service Provider crack it open and install RAM, hard drives, Airport and Bluetooth, it will NOT void your warranty if you do it yourself. As is standard operating procedure, however, anything you break while attempting anything on your own is not Apple's responsibility and will not be covered under warranty. I think that is pretty much common sense.

      Among other things, the Mac mini boots headless too.
      • The Mac mini is a great little computer, but many people seem to be confused about upgrades to memory, AirPort, and Bluetooth.

        Just in case you missed it from the Mac mini specs page:

        Memory, AirPort Extreme and internal Bluetooth upgrades must be performed by an Apple Authorized Service provider; fees may apply.

        This means that if you want to upgrade the RAM in a Mac mini and keep your warranty, you'll be paying someone. Same goes for AirPort, Bluetooth, hard disks, optical drives, and anything else you ma

  • o Buy a Mac
    o Stay alert like you're on the street in a big city. The net combines resources and dangers just like New York does.
    o Consider having two machines, one permanently off the net for bookkeeping and other critical data, one connected but running something like Deep Freeze
    o Use the Holy Trinity: antivirus, firewall, patches
    o Stay informed. Follow some free security-for-real-people newsletter (mine is probably not the only one).
  • Phishers (Score:3, Informative)

    by x.Draino.x ( 693782 ) on Friday January 14, 2005 @12:00PM (#11363186)
    My dad now emails me very frequently to ask if one of his emails is real or fake. It seems like he gets a PayPal or Ebay phish every other day. I've tried to explain to him to hover over the link and make sure it says www.paypal.com or ebay.com and not a dotted ip address. But he doesn't get it. I understand why people do phishing scams, but the spam is driving customers away from all net advertising. This should be a wake-up call for these types of advertisers. They are driving customers away from any future sales.
  • ...just switch to Linux or MacOS. For non-technical users especially, the answer is MacOS. My neighbors call me often, asking for help to eliminate malware from their Windows-based PCs. I'm constantly amazed at how increasingly time-consuming this is to do, even for a tech-geek like me. On the other hand, I spend no time needing to deal with this on my Mac. Those folks who use only Windows-based PCs probably take it for granted that malware will always be part of their computing life, but once you get
  • Q the dogmatic mac and *nix zealots who will tell us "MY system never has problems so nah nah nah nah nah"

    Before you do people, get this, people wo DON'T work in computers - they just don't care - did you know that? they don't care if it's linux, max, pc, or whatever, they just want to start using this new intahwebeh thing.

    When they go to a shop to buy one what do they get? Windows, cos that's what 95% of other people do. Windows is big, it's always going to be big, deal with this fact.
  • I'm not a computer technician or anything, but i have not come across a virus i could not get rid of. However.. some spyware programs are rooted into IE somehow and i just don't bother.

    But alas! The soloution: Mozilla Firefox!
  • Stop using you email acocunt to register for crap.

    Register for a free email account at yahoo.com or hotmail, use this for when you must submit an email. This way this email address can get spammed till the cows come home, you simply dole out your real email to friends and family and tell them not to submit your email for giveaways and such.

    STOP USING IE. Use Mozilla or Firefox to browse the web. I have used mozilla or firefox for the last few years and only resort to IE when absolutely necessary, and beca
  • he replied "get a mac."

    it's as simple as you like and as powerful as you'll need.

    yeah, i know it's not completely invulnerable forever, but using mail.app spam is swept away regardless of isp, and using safari.app spyware has yet to rear its ugly head while my colleagues run a daily or weekly spate of apps to keep ahead of the mess.

  • I gave up on e-mail because of spam, even with SA installed I was getting far too many through each day to a work account. I use e-mail with a personal account still, but I don't broadcast that e-mail address around. I get some spam, but not much.

    At least I have IM I can use to communicate, I know if the IM has got through, and I can choose to not accept IMs from people I don't have listed.

    As for the internet, I use Firefox, and I'm not a complete retard. The people in that story either should (1) not let
  • So when his son left for college in September, Seemayer finally unplugged.

    Whenever someone tells me they have a spyware problem I ask them if they have a separate comptuer for their teenager. On rare occasion they don't have a teenager but the vast majority of the time they do, and their teenager is using the system for things that result in all sorts of infections and infestations.

    So the solution for about half of the people is let the kids have their own computer and don't bother fixing it for them.

  • http://spambayes.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net]. I don't know how anyone lives without this. I get the typical hundreds of spam every day. 99% end up in my "Spam" folder. I stopped looking in the spam folder for false positives after doing that for 3 months didn't turn up a single one. My "Junk Suspects" folder usually turns up 10 or so a day, one of which might be a non-spam email. I can almost always clear my Junk Suspect folder in bulk by highlighting the whole mess of them and clicking "Delete As Spam", thus fu
  • Frustrated users that are sick of the internet really might as well just give it up. You don't need it. I've gone by for a month without it and that left me much more productive (except at those things I do which depend on the internet). You DO have better things to do with your time.
  • When I was home for the holidays, I had what seems to be a typical experience in family technical support. They had a variety of computers (too much money, no sense). One laptop had 2000+ spyware programs running, and the desktop was even taken over by a hostile active desktop. Indeed, you'd go to search in IE and about every other word would be hotlinked to some sort of product.

    Installing firefox on their computers is one thing, but I have far younger half-brothers who literally will click 'yes' to everyt
  • Buy a mini mac ($499) or a cheap linux PC. Done.
  • Don't use MS Windows if you don't know computers. (Disclaimer, I do use MS Windows) Get a Mac or a Linux Box but use something other than MS Windows.
  • by sydsavage ( 453743 ) on Friday January 14, 2005 @12:12PM (#11363409)
    I'm quite serious. I have yet to see a single pop-up ad, virus or trojan on my always on, trusty Macintosh. My girlfriend, who's not a computer geek by any measure of the word, was perplexed by what her relatives were talking about with all the problems they've been having with their computers. She once asked, "is it really that bad of a problem on non-Macs?"

    Also, using my .mac account for my primary email, I get about five spams a day. And each and every one of them originate from the same company, that a 'friend' of mine signed me up so she could get some free movie tickets. (She is actually an ex-friend over this very issue... she went ballistic when I asked her not to give out my personal information or send me stupid forwarded joke emails. Her response back screamed I WILL NEVER SEND YOU ANOTHER EMAIL, EVER! and I said, "fine by me.") I could try to get rid of those five per day emails, but I'm afraid of increasing the amount by using their 'unsubscribe' link.

  • I fix home computers (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Facekhan ( 445017 ) on Friday January 14, 2005 @12:15PM (#11363464)
    I fix home computers as a side gig and I tell people, especially those people who own cheap or old computers and don't do much more than surf, email, and word process that user friendly versions of Linux are waiting for them, immune to nearly all viruses and spyware and the best part is they will probably not have to restart their computer anymore.

    Did I mention they are free and I will make you the CD's for Fedora, Mandrake, Suse, or whatever other distro you want and you can just pay me to install them for you.

    Alas, maybe they are afraid they will miss me.
  • by Col. Klink (retired) ( 11632 ) on Friday January 14, 2005 @12:16PM (#11363475)
    ...and when I opened the link, Firefox told me it had prevented latimes.com from opening a popup.
  • back in 86 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ellem ( 147712 ) * <ellem52NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday January 14, 2005 @12:16PM (#11363487) Homepage Journal
    when I got paid for knowing about computers for the first time I thought, "Everyone should own a computer!" I think that a lot less now. But not becuase I am 1337 and "they" are LUSERS with PEBCAK problems. Not at all.

    The home computer has failed to become an appliance like a microwave, or a refrigerator. Is it really any easier than it was back in the Apple ][e, Commodre 64 days? Has WinXP or Suse 9.0 or OS X really made computing as transparent as heating a chicken? Has networking gotten much simpler?

    For the average mom and pop at home who want to send some email, do some online banking, shopping, knowledge gathering and write a letter, maybe balance a checkbook really need dual G5s a P4 3.0?

    The computer world looked ready to go back to main frame client/server models with things like Java et al. It should. Give mom and pop a 20+" monitor and keyboard and mouse and let them access everything though their browser. Here's you Word Processor, here's you email, here's your pr0n.

    And for those of us bold enough to muck about in kernals, driver and whatnot well we still could. Andf we wouldn't have to do it everytime we visit our parents, neighbors, friend's office.

    People are diving off the internet because configuring their computers is still hard. It's still "dangerous" and frankly all the pr0n in the world can't drive this "internet" thing much further. And to this point pr0n and games have driven the internet and home computing into the super computer realm to this point.

    The users aren't the issue. The fact that some 40 years later not all that much has changed regarding setting up a network is an issue. The fact that there is a large corporation out there making consistently insecure software despite their responsibility as the market (well really as THE market) leader is an issue.
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Friday January 14, 2005 @12:28PM (#11363664) Homepage
    There's a commercial product [litepc.com] that removes Internet Explorer and Outlook. Not just hides, removes. A few Windows functions are replaced with stubs, apparently. Despite what Microsoft says, you can get rid of IE.

    Of course, you install Firefox and Thunderbird.

    LitePC is too flexible for the typical home user, though. It's used mostly for configuring business desktops and embedded systems. Basically, it lets you turn off, selectively, most of what's in XP but not XP Embedded. They really need a one-step CD product that cleans out adware, spyware, and viruses, removes Internet Explorer, and installs Firefox and Thunderbird.

    There really aren't that many important web sites left that work only with IE. And you can usually find a competitor that sells the same thing. I haven't run IE in a year or so now.

  • by MSTCrow5429 ( 642744 ) on Friday January 14, 2005 @12:33PM (#11363765)
    I'm sorry, but these people sound like complete idiots who need a computing appliance, not a completed computer. This reminds me of that rash of "sudden acceleration" stories in the late 80s or early 90s that had drivers complaining their cars where just randomly and without their input ramming into things. It turned out after investigation that these people were wildly incompetent drivers, and couldn't control what their feet were doing. If you aren't willing to take responsibility for using a tool, you're obviously not well adapted to the enivornment and should be removed from the gene pool to prevent the spread of stupid user syndrome.
  • by Wiseleo ( 15092 ) on Friday January 14, 2005 @12:39PM (#11363850) Homepage
    Open letter to Intuit - I will not recommend 2005 to clients until it can run under limited user rights.

    Create an easy way to overwrite critical Registry sections that are responsible for explorer tie ins. As a matter of fact, I think I'll write a tool like that.

    Stop making people administrators by default, and the problem becomes localized and easily stopped.

    No one remains an administrator or at least a defaultly configured Administrator after I see their PC.

    Enjoy.
  • by incom ( 570967 ) on Friday January 14, 2005 @12:41PM (#11363878)
    Sure, some may argue that people would then not have access to needed apps, but surely giving up the net connection is more of a hinderance than using linux. Are these people just not educated about alternatives to microsoft? Somebody like Mandrakesoft or Lindows should find a way to reach these people, it seems like a growing opertunity for profit.
  • by dgrgich ( 179442 ) * <drew AT grgich DOT org> on Friday January 14, 2005 @12:43PM (#11363915) Homepage
    The only problem with the Mac Mini for a home user is that wacky thing we call human nature. For 90% of the home market, computing is a life experience that has trained them to be terrified of change. The very fact that the default Dock setup doesn't have a friendly blue 'E' for Internet Explorer could cause paralysis for those not willing to experiment to see what the computer can do and thus, learn that the compass icon points to a web browser (Safari...duh!) that is superior on many levels than IE.

    This can be overcome by geeks like us who hold the hand of new Mac users who we convince to switch - my in-laws WILL be getting a Mac Mini for their next computer or I'll refuse to help them continue cleaning spyware off the system - but how many "normal" people want to learn a seperate OS from the one that they use at work - no matter how much better it may be?

    Don't get me wrong - I am sold on the Mac OS X experience and have used a dual-G4/G5 alongside my Windows box for - wow! - five years now. However, I understand that Apple has a huge challenge in front of them. I'm just extremely glad that they've decided to release the Mac Mini so that they can see if the experiment is going to work.
  • This is such BS (Score:4, Interesting)

    by exp(pi*sqrt(163)) ( 613870 ) on Friday January 14, 2005 @01:16PM (#11364526) Journal
    I bought my wife a PC a year ago. I gave her some simple guidelines: don't view attachments unless you know what they are, don't give out your email address to unknown companies and so on. I downloaded the MS spyware beta the other day and ran it. It found zero spyware.

    I have a friend who lives a few doors away. He's been having a lot of trouble with spyware. Porn ads popping up all day long. It was making his PC a pain to use even after a neighbor spent a few hours trying to clean it out. This same friend also likes to tell me about how much audio and video he's downloaded he's downloaded using the web and p2p.

    It's pretty obvious what's going on. Your machine gets cluttered with spyware if you spend time on sketchy web sites downloading all and sundry and doesn't otherwise.

    My solution is pretty simple - if I'm going to download porn off the web I use a Mac.

  • by Nijika ( 525558 ) on Friday January 14, 2005 @01:37PM (#11364919) Homepage Journal
    [BIG RANT]

    *sigh* ok, let me clue you nerds in. I have to get this out because it's an endless debate between some of the most myopic people on the Internet claiming to be the most informed.

    I know we're probably a good 300 posts into this thread already and this posting of mine will be lost, but I feel the need to intervene anyway;

    Some thoughts, from what I see here:

    1) Normal joe/jill average users don't want to, and shouldn't have to, make checking e-mail and surfing the web a second job. So keeping up with every latest turn in the spyware/adware/spam drama is not an option. Your "it's that simple" solution isn't that simple to people who aren't immersed in computer culture 24 hours a day. Drop the faux-Darwinism routine and join us in what I like to call "real life". We're over here, in the sun.

    2) Normal joe/jill average users WILL NOT run more than one computer for seperate tasks. This is insanity to begin with. Don't take your desk as an example of a normal computer user. You may have a room dedicated to your four boxes with various chips and OSes, but no normal human wants to do that. They want A box, with A monitor, and A device to interact with that box. They want a TV with a keyboard, but one that won't force them to download porn or send and recieve spam. The solution isn't a NeXT box for checking e-mail and a Sparc for web surfing, with a Windows NT 4 box off network for accounting, or some other absurd scenario.

    3) Normal joe/jill users will want to run some fairly mainstream programs. If you're running AutoCAD, or MSSQL, or Cybertrader, you're a professional so the rules above no longer apply. Normal joe/jill average users want e-mail, fun web pages, The Sims maybe, Quicken. They want to buy a CD or a book online maybe, if they're feeling fancy. No crazy NASA shit. Don't hold them to your twisted standards of what normal people do with computers.

    Where am I going with this? The only logical recourse at the moment is to get an Apple Macintosh for these users who are not computer dependant or who are not computer experts.

    I know you all hate to hear it (other than the Mac fanboys who love to hear it, but let's just tolerate them for a moment). It's the only mainstream path for people who are trying to make joe/jill average user's computer experience workable. I've done it. I've set people up on Apples. I don't get calls about computers! They talk to me about them, but only to say how much they want to hug the damn things.

    Regarding the proposition of a Linux desktop for these people. If you want to inflict frustration or dependancy on the normal joe/jill average user you're trying to help, if controlling them through reliance on your godlike technical abilities is your bag, by all means set them up with a Linux desktop. You can claim to have grandma set up on linux, and all your friends will pat you on the back for being such a wise advocate. Your grandma will use her computer all of the one time she can remember he login and password. Then when her $2000 investment in technology is worthless to her, and she calls for help to get some sort of value out of it, you can sigh call her dumb under your breath for not knowing how to operate an expert level OS. Hope you feel big...

    You people frustrate me beyond words sometimes.
  • by zwilliams07 ( 840650 ) on Friday January 14, 2005 @02:04PM (#11365360)
    Anyways this is why Apple decided to build the Mac Mini, its the almost perfect solution to a lot of entry user's dilemmas. The average PC owner is almost completely in the dark when it comes to most technologies. The average Windows User has almost no idea of what he/she is supposed to do to maintain a Windows OS. They are just clueless.

    Linux is a great alternative but a lot of these people (the target audience for the Mac Mini) is just out of their league. Meantion sudo to them and they'll just stare at you blankly. A lot of people have PCs just to do the basic things, Windows does suffice some of the time. But usually there are too many problems. Most people just want to be able to chat, email, surf, print, write papers, organize photos, and so forth. Not all that easy on a Linux box, and more trouble than its worth for Windows.

    Don't get me wrong I have a Linux box and a Windows box. I only use the Windows box for gaming, thats all that it really excels at. I use Linux for a lot of my programming, webserving, hosting, and other tech savy needs. My Mac I use for everything else. Its that everything else that Apple is banking on. They know that people just want to be able to do something easily, safely, and quickly.
  • by haxor.dk ( 463614 ) on Friday January 14, 2005 @05:55PM (#11368563) Homepage
    "... No one is immune. Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates discovered spyware on his personal machine not long ago. ..."

    No one immune?

    Pardon me, but WRONG! I'm on a Mac. I am damn well immune, thank you. I have no problems on my Safari og Firefox or Camino. I AM immune from spyware and malware.

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