Friday, January 05, 2007

Long distance help & Linux

I had an interesting call with my brother last week. He kept his virus scanner up-to-date, but, viruses and spyware still got through his system. I won't name the company that he uses for protection, but, my brother is a bit more than pissed off how easily his system was taken over. He paid for protection and hundreds of the little nasties still got through (yes, hundreds!). He is a bit more computer literate than the average person as he used to work on Unix systems and knows a bit more than the average person about safe computing and locking down a system. I had previously given him links to AVG and CLAMAV and he used those to start to clean his system.

I burned three Linux distros for him and I will be mailing them to him to play with.
  1. PCLINUXOS V0.93 - Really good and we use this on our desktops at home. This is a good live CD for him to play with. The only thing is that CLAMAV is not part of the CD.
  2. Helix 1.8 - Comes with CLAMAV. It also has a good selection of other tools that you can use for intrusion detection.
  3. Insert 1.3.8 - Comes with CLAMAV. It also comes with a good selection of tools.
I have to write up a short cheat sheet for each so he can quickly use them. The upside is that he will also have a usable machine for browsing the net especially if he uses PCLINUXOS. I know the ISP he uses and they offer web based email so he can configure the PPP dialer and use Firefox to access his email.

With his latest experience on how little protection you get in Windows he may be more open to suggestions on Linux. If you are still using Windows are are interested in Linux there are a good number of 'live' distros that you can start with that don't need installing on your computer. You just pop the CD in your drive and boot up the machine. As long as you have the CD drive as a bootable device before the hard drive you are good. If you want to see more Linux distros you can try distrowatch.

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