Virus Infection For Dummies
That corollary of that statement is that no program in the world will protect you if you're sufficiently dumb, hasty, clueless or just careless.
I see proof of this in my inbox almost every day, when people e-mail for help about widely known trojans and malware attacks. (Here's a hint, folks: The Antivirus 2009 program some pop-up ads will push on you is a scam, as any Web search ought to verify).
The latest example, however, comes not from the Windows universe but the Mac world. As Brian Krebs noted in his Security Fix blog yesterday, some Mac users who downloaded a pirated copy of Apple's iWork '09 productivity suite wound up installing a trojan along with a "free" copy of this bundle of word-processing, spreadsheet and presentation software.
I am not exactly brimming in sympathy for anybody who got pwned (as the kids say) by this attack. We're not talking about some hideously expensive application that people had no way to try before buying -- iWork costs $79, with a 30-day free trial available at Apple's site. If $79 is too much, you can use free, open-source software or free Web-based applications instead.
(I will, however, grant that victims of this iWork trojan don't look quite as silly as people who not only clicked to install a Mac trojan, but confirmed its installation by typing in their Mac password, because a porn site told them they needed to update their QuickTime software.)
The Web is no different from real life in this aspect -- if you go looking for trouble, trouble is likely to return the favor. (Technically, it's worse than the physical world, since it takes so much less effort to waltz into a bad neighborhood online.) Even if you run security software, that can only do so much to protect you -- especially if you'll do things like typing an administrator password to authorize the installation of programs from an unknown source. Under those conditions, your luck will alway run out, probably sooner than later.
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