[OT] Browsing the internet... It is safer from Linux?

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[OT] Browsing the internet... It is safer from Linux?

Alejandro Tejada
Hi All,

Recently I have been considering seriously to unplug all
my Windows computers from the internet and
use only Linux to browse and download updates.

In truth,
How safe is using Linux browsers in the internet?
Most exploits seems directed to Windows and Mac users
but are Linux users really exempt from these risks???

What are your first hand experiences with the most common
security risks under the Linux platform?

http://www.owasp.org/index.php/Main_Page
http://e-articles.info/e/a/title/Which-Are-The-Most-Common-Network-Security-Risks/
http://www.bangkokpost.com/tech/technews/34952/today-10-most-common-security-threats-on-the-net
http://www.brighthub.com/internet/security-privacy/articles/3438.aspx

Thanks in advance!

Alejandro
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Re: [OT] Browsing the internet... It is safer from Linux?

Stephen Barncard-4
Alejandro , When did you last hear about a Mac virus?

I don't like to boast, but..

I practice safe computing and a good router and don't use any anti-virus
software at all on any of my 4 macs. Haven't had a virus problem since 2002.
All running Leopard. Am I being foolish?

I find the need for the annoying McCaffe software when I've used XP quite
disgusting. If the OS is so bad you have to use a third party app to
'protect' yourself....

The symbiotic relationship between McCaffee and Microsoft is kinda creepy.
There's even a button I did not install that goes to their website imbedded
in IE 6.

Downloads are almost always easy fast and safe on macs....


On 30 October 2010 14:25, Alejandro Tejada <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hi All,
>
> Recently I have been considering seriously to unplug all
> my Windows computers from the internet and
> use only Linux to browse and download updates.
>
> In truth,
> How safe is using Linux browsers in the internet?
> Most exploits seems directed to Windows and Mac users
> but are Linux users really exempt from these risks???
>
> What are your first hand experiences with the most common
> security risks under the Linux platform?
>
> http://www.owasp.org/index.php/Main_Page
>
> http://e-articles.info/e/a/title/Which-Are-The-Most-Common-Network-Security-Risks/
>
> http://www.bangkokpost.com/tech/technews/34952/today-10-most-common-security-threats-on-the-net
> http://www.brighthub.com/internet/security-privacy/articles/3438.aspx
>
> Thanks in advance!
>
> Alejandro
> _______________________________________________
> use-revolution mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Please visit this url to subscribe, unsubscribe and manage your
> subscription preferences:
> http://lists.runrev.com/mailman/listinfo/use-revolution
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Re: [OT] Browsing the internet... It is safer from Linux?

Mike Bonner
If you're only wanting to browse, and are not sure a particular site
can be trusted, you might try using a live linux cd and browse from
there.  Might not hurt to unmount your hard drive partition if you do
this just as an added layer of protection. Some live cd's auto mount
what they can find, some don't.

I run clamXav on my mac just because i was curious, but have never
found anything with it.

As far as downloading updates with linux, if you download something
with a trojan, and transfer it to your windows machine, you can still
get nailed unless your windows AV or malware scanner picks it up.  In
many cases it boils down to whether you believe the site you are
downloading from can be trusted or not.

I ran windows for a lot of years and didn't have too much trouble. Was
surely not trouble free by any means.  In some ways, I think its worse
now.  Cross session hijacking, clickjacking, browser exploits.  With
things moving closer and closer to being cloud based, I suspect things
are going to get really really ugly before they get better.  Just my
opinion though.



On 10/30/10, stephen barncard <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Alejandro , When did you last hear about a Mac virus?
>
> I don't like to boast, but..
>
> I practice safe computing and a good router and don't use any anti-virus
> software at all on any of my 4 macs. Haven't had a virus problem since 2002.
> All running Leopard. Am I being foolish?
>
> I find the need for the annoying McCaffe software when I've used XP quite
> disgusting. If the OS is so bad you have to use a third party app to
> 'protect' yourself....
>
> The symbiotic relationship between McCaffee and Microsoft is kinda creepy.
> There's even a button I did not install that goes to their website imbedded
> in IE 6.
>
> Downloads are almost always easy fast and safe on macs....
>
>
> On 30 October 2010 14:25, Alejandro Tejada <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> Hi All,
>>
>> Recently I have been considering seriously to unplug all
>> my Windows computers from the internet and
>> use only Linux to browse and download updates.
>>
>> In truth,
>> How safe is using Linux browsers in the internet?
>> Most exploits seems directed to Windows and Mac users
>> but are Linux users really exempt from these risks???
>>
>> What are your first hand experiences with the most common
>> security risks under the Linux platform?
>>
>> http://www.owasp.org/index.php/Main_Page
>>
>> http://e-articles.info/e/a/title/Which-Are-The-Most-Common-Network-Security-Risks/
>>
>> http://www.bangkokpost.com/tech/technews/34952/today-10-most-common-security-threats-on-the-net
>> http://www.brighthub.com/internet/security-privacy/articles/3438.aspx
>>
>> Thanks in advance!
>>
>> Alejandro
>> _______________________________________________
>> use-revolution mailing list
>> [hidden email]
>> Please visit this url to subscribe, unsubscribe and manage your
>> subscription preferences:
>> http://lists.runrev.com/mailman/listinfo/use-revolution
>>
>
>
>
> --
>
>
>
> Stephen Barncard
> San Francisco Ca. USA
>
> more about sqb  <http://www.google.com/profiles/sbarncar>
> _______________________________________________
> use-revolution mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Please visit this url to subscribe, unsubscribe and manage your subscription
> preferences:
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>
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Re: [OT] Browsing the internet... It is safer from Linux?

Peter Alcibiades
In reply to this post by Alejandro Tejada
I don't know if its safer than current versions of Windows 7 intelligently used.  It certainly is a lot safer than earlier versions of XP, used as they came out of the box.

One reason is that desktop linux is a small population and so not being targeted.  

A second is when you do an install, it will obliged you to set up a root account and a lmited user account, and your limited user account will not be able to get at the system files.  A typical example of this is with Rev sorry LiveCode - download the new version, try to install it, cannot.  Its not executable, and then, it tries to install itself in /opt and you have to be root to do that.

A third is that all payload will arrive as being unexecutable, and most of the time marked read-only.  One of the things you always have to explain to people when putting in Linux for them is how to change permissions, because if not, one of the standard questions you'll get sooner or later is that someone sent me a word processing file and I cannot edit it.  Right, its marked read only.

So you contrast that with a situation in which for decades everyone used the internet with administrative prilvileges, all downloaded files arrived market executable.  Then we had the saga of Explorer and all its holes, all the Office macros....  

But the real question might be this:  if you were to set up your windows install to always work as limited user, and if you enable privacy between user accounts, and finally if you use a dedicated account for all financial transactions and only use that account to go to a very small number of known financial sites, and if you have up to date anti virus, are you any more at risk than on Linux?

I don't know.  I hear of compromised windows installations all the time.  Admittedly they are not Windows 7 mostly, though I heard of one of these the other day.  They are not set up like that either, they are the standard default set-up.  My feeling is that you probably can keep a windows installation safe, if you work at it, and really keep your protection software up to date.  Its just a question of what you want to spend your time doing.  For what its worth, my own decision years ago was to do what you are suggesting.  I do run XP in a VM for the rare occasions when its necessary, but almost never connect to the net with it.  I decided that I could probably keep Windows secure if I worked at it, but that life is too short, and I the big difficulty was how I would know I had succeeded.

As to one of those risks on one of your links, guest users, well, of course you set up a guest account on any Linux install, and if people want to use your machine you sign them on as guest.  You don't allow the guest group to read any of the other user files, even.  You can wipe and recreate the guest account as often as you feel the need.  You could do this on windows too, but no-one does.

Slax is a good live CD distribution.  It might also be worth looking at Vector live and Zenwalk live - they will be faster than most live distributions.  I would install Debian Stable if doing a proper desktop installation.

Once you start using Linux routinely, you will be surprised how little you need Windows.
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Re: [OT] Browsing the internet... It is safer from Linux?

Richard Gaskin
In reply to this post by Alejandro Tejada
Peter Alcibiades wrote:

> I don't know if its safer than current versions of Windows 7 intelligently
> used.  It certainly is a lot safer than earlier versions of XP, used as they
> came out of the box.

Even as Dell gets bribed by MS to put those silly "We recommend Windows
7" graphics on their site, they couldn't stop themselves from mentioning
that they feel Ubuntu is actually safer:

Memo From Dell: Ubuntu Linux Is Safer Than Windows
<http://www.thevarguy.com/2010/06/10/memo-from-dell-ubuntu-linux-is-safer-than-windows/>

;)

> One reason is that desktop linux is a small population and so not being
> targeted.

Maybe, but maybe not:

Windows v Linux security: the real facts
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/10/22/linux_v_windows_security/


> A second is when you do an install, it will obliged you to set up a root
> account and a lmited user account, and your limited user account will not be
> able to get at the system files.

That can be done on Mac and Win, but few users  bother and neither OS
vendor does very much to educate their customers about why it's valuable.

--
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Re: [OT] Browsing the internet... It is safer from Linux?

Richmond Mathewson-2
In reply to this post by Mike Bonner
Every time I have installed a variant of Windows on a machine that is
connected to the
Internet, sooner rather than later, things have gone 'queer'.

Therefore, as I have to have a Windows box for software testing, I have
a machine that is NEVER connected
to the internet, and the ONLY files I transfer to it are my own for testing.

First off:

1. I have never liked the idea of having to buy a product that is
'dicky' as soon as it is
     unwrapped, and even mentions the fact in its documentation.

Second point:

I use a variety of Linux boxes and Macs around my home and my business
and have never
had any problems that could be ascribed to internet browsing, ftp-ing,
or otherwise [ normally
problems can simply be ascribed to my having been too clever for my own
good, mucking
around with operating system underpinnings ].

On the very, very few occasions I have had to connect to the internet
with the dreaded Internet
Explorer [ i.e. to see how my website looks ] I have used IE with WINE [
a sort of Windowsy thing
that lets you run most Windows programs on Linux ].
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Re: [OT] Browsing the internet... It is safer from Linux?

Richmond Mathewson-2
In reply to this post by Richard Gaskin
Coo!

>
> Memo From Dell: Ubuntu Linux Is Safer Than Windows
> <http://www.thevarguy.com/2010/06/10/memo-from-dell-ubuntu-linux-is-safer-than-windows/>
>
>

I wonder how long that will be there before the chaps in dark glasses pop
round to DELL for a friendly chat?

It really never ceases to amaze me that Microsoft have built an empire
on the fact that donkeys years
ago the choice was between expensive Macs and cheap PCs that really only
worked with Windows;

Linux with a window-manager such as GNOME or KDE really does make one
wonder why folks
who wouldn't hesitate give the choice between a donkey cart and a Toyota
Corolla, still go
for the (admittedly souped-up) donkey cart when it comes to an operating
system. I will
always go for a FREE Toyota Corolla rather than a PAID souped-up donkey
cart.
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Re: [OT] Browsing the internet... It is safer from Linux?

Peter Alcibiades
In reply to this post by Richard Gaskin
Yes, the interesting question, don't know the answer, is if you set up windows in the same way Linux is normally set up, limited user accounts and so on, how much more vulnerable would it be?  Those hack fests they have every so often suggest that OSX is a dead duck almost right away, Windows not long after, and Linux holds out longest.  But I don't know what the starting setup is on the windows installation.

Peter
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Re: [OT] Browsing the internet... It is safer from Linux?

Stephen Barncard-4
Peter, where do you get these 'facts' about the security and vulnerability
of MacOS today? Your statement just doesn't match up with my experience with
the OS.

"Dead Duck?"


On 31 October 2010 02:22, Peter Alcibiades <[hidden email]>wrote:

>   OSX is a dead duck almost right away, Windows
> not long after, and Linux holds out longest.  But I don't know what the
> starting setup is on the windows installation.
>
> Peter
>

Stephen Barncard
San Francisco Ca. USA

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Re: [OT] Browsing the internet... It is safer from Linux?

J. Landman Gay
In reply to this post by Peter Alcibiades
On 10/31/10 4:22 AM, Peter Alcibiades wrote:
>
> Those hack fests they have
> every so often suggest that OSX is a dead duck almost right away, Windows
> not long after, and Linux holds out longest.

Is that true? I'd always heard that OS X ranks about even with Linux
because it's core is *nix.

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Re: [OT] Browsing the internet... It is safer from Linux?

Björnke von Gierke
In reply to this post by Stephen Barncard-4
It's probably about a yearly hacking contest, where boxes are setup and then people are invited to hack them. Mac OS X did indeed succumb most quickly there in the last few years. In addition there has been reports of one infection in the wild that uses java, and is able to run on mac os as well as on windows.

Windows is protected by UAC, Antivirus, and windows defender. I'd argue that in everyday environments, windows is actually better secured then mac os and maybe on even footing with linux. On the flipside, it's also the most likely one to be targeted. Because most infections for people like us come in randomly, the risk of having a crisis is therefore far bigger on windows.

I do have a windows machine, and I consider it the insecure one, compared to my unpatched mac os  x server and my everyday machine. Linux is too hard to use for me, so I can't comment much on that, beyond it probably not being the target of anyone with it's almost inexistent market share among non-tech oriented users.

On 31 Oct 2010, at 18:57, stephen barncard wrote:

> Peter, where do you get these 'facts' about the security and vulnerability
> of MacOS today? Your statement just doesn't match up with my experience with
> the OS.
>
> "Dead Duck?"
>
>
> On 31 October 2010 02:22, Peter Alcibiades <[hidden email]>wrote:
>
>>  OSX is a dead duck almost right away, Windows
>> not long after, and Linux holds out longest.  But I don't know what the
>> starting setup is on the windows installation.



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Re: [OT] Browsing the internet... It is safer from Linux?

Richmond Mathewson-2
In reply to this post by Stephen Barncard-4
On 10/31/2010 07:57 PM, stephen barncard wrote:
> Peter, where do you get these 'facts' about the security and vulnerability
> of MacOS today? Your statement just doesn't match up with my experience with
> the OS.
>
> "Dead Duck?"
>

Well Idon't know; my "ducks" have been alive and quacking for years with
not a single problem;

I find it absolutely hilarious that you think Windows is more secure
than Mac OS; but, hey,
maybe I'm just one naive cookie who stupidly believes that the Toyota
Auris we just bought is
a safer bet than my cousin's 3 wheeled Trabant from 1982; guess I was
fooled by those "naughty"
Japanese, instead of sticking with the German "Democratic" Republic . .
.  :)

Hey, while I'm here, has anybody noticed that Erich Honecker and Bill
Gates have a certain
"Je ne sais quoi" in common?

> On 31 October 2010 02:22, Peter Alcibiades<[hidden email]>wrote:
>
>>    OSX is a dead duck almost right away, Windows
>> not long after, and Linux holds out longest.  But I don't know what the
>> starting setup is on the windows installation.
>>
>> Peter
>>
> Stephen Barncard
> San Francisco Ca. USA
>
> more about sqb<http://www.google.com/profiles/sbarncar>
> _______________________________________________
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Re: [OT] Browsing the internet... It is safer from Linux?

Richmond Mathewson-2
In reply to this post by Björnke von Gierke
On 10/31/2010 08:12 PM, Björnke von Gierke wrote:
> It's probably about a yearly hacking contest, where boxes are setup and then people are invited to hack them. Mac OS X did indeed succumb most quickly there in the last few years. In addition there has been reports of one infection in the wild that uses java, and is able to run on mac os as well as on windows.
>
> Windows is protected by UAC, Antivirus, and windows defender. I'd argue that in everyday environments, windows is actually better secured then mac os and maybe on even footing with linux. On the flipside, it's also the most likely one to be targeted. Because most infections for people like us come in randomly, the risk of having a crisis is therefore far bigger on windows.
>
> I do have a windows machine, and I consider it the insecure one, compared to my unpatched mac os  x server and my everyday machine. Linux is too hard to use for me, so I can't comment much on that, beyond it probably not being the target of anyone with it's almost inexistent market share among non-tech oriented users.

The first thing I do when I install Mac OS X on a machine is enable the
ROOT account; that is dead easy;
especially as the Mac OS HELP system tells you how to do it. Set up the
FIREWALL, SHARING and so on.

Windows, on the other hand, starts telling you to fork out extra moolah
for anti-virus stuff . . .

> On 31 Oct 2010, at 18:57, stephen barncard wrote:
>
>> Peter, where do you get these 'facts' about the security and vulnerability
>> of MacOS today? Your statement just doesn't match up with my experience with
>> the OS.
>>
>> "Dead Duck?"
>>
>>
>> On 31 October 2010 02:22, Peter Alcibiades<[hidden email]>wrote:
>>
>>>   OSX is a dead duck almost right away, Windows
>>> not long after, and Linux holds out longest.  But I don't know what the
>>> starting setup is on the windows installation.
>
>

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Re: [OT] Browsing the internet... It is safer from Linux?

Peter Alcibiades
In reply to this post by Stephen Barncard-4
Yes, it was the annual hackfests.  I only know two people with OSX, and neither one has been compromised.  Whether the Unix underpinnings make OSX more secure?  I think the hacks, but maybe others recall better, were due to applications and privilege escalation.  

I am really not sure what to conclude about real world safety.  If you set up all three systems the same way, with the same basic precautions, would there be any significant differences in security?   Don't know.  I do know that I have had two people recently, one with 7 and one with XP, ask me for help with compromised systems.  I refuse to try to disinfect now, so one who did not want to risk it again got Mandriva, with which he is very happy, in fact, despite my efforts to explain, I suspect he may think its Windows 8 or 9, and the other got an OEM copy of 7, and we will be doing a reformat and reinstall shortly.

I do think there is a very different attitude on the part of developers.  Linux, you see it in everything, is completely paranoid about security.  I recall years ago when the kde dialer went to enormous lengths to take root privileges for the shortest possible and most limited time.  Apple I think is quite casual because of years of low risk.  Windows seems to have this strange mixture of not taking the most basic precautions, and then layering on all kinds of stuff to protect it.

I have never heard of a non-server compromised Linux install.
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Re: [OT] Browsing the internet... It is safer from Linux?

Pierre Sahores-3
In reply to this post by J. Landman Gay

Le 31 oct. 2010 à 19:00, J. Landman Gay a écrit :

> On 10/31/10 4:22 AM, Peter Alcibiades wrote:
>>
>> Those hack fests they have
>> every so often suggest that OSX is a dead duck almost right away, Windows
>> not long after, and Linux holds out longest.
>
> Is that true? I'd always heard that OS X ranks about even with Linux because it's core is *nix.

Jacque,

OSX or Linux are still mainly safe, as long as the firewall, user accounts and networked services are normally set. Don't worry. No way at all to hack remotely a MacOS X box in less time than to say, alike some smiling kids like, "target internal HD remotely unmounted" ;-)

Kind Regards,

>
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Re: [OT] Browsing the internet... It is safer from Linux?

Roger Eller
In reply to this post by Richmond Mathewson-2
Richmond wrote:
> The first thing I do when I install Mac OS X on a machine is enable the
> ROOT account; that is dead easy;
> especially as the Mac OS HELP system tells you how to do it. Set up the
> FIREWALL, SHARING and so on.
>
> Windows, on the other hand, starts telling you to fork out extra moolah
> for anti-virus stuff . . .

Incorrect, to a degree.  It is in many cases the virus makers themselves
who infect Windows, and then use FAKE anti-virus messages that offer to
cleanse your machine "for a fee".  The average non-tech-savy user will pay
the ransom.  However, the free-edition of AVG has protected my computers
for years.  However, recently a Trojan slipped through, and I switched to
"Microsoft Security Essentials" (also free), on the recommendations of
several trusted colleagues.  It isn't Windows that is bad, it is
SkyNet.   ;-)   Sorry, I'm watching the Sarah Conner Chronicals.

~Roger

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Re: [OT] Browsing the internet... It is safer from Linux?

Richard Gaskin
In reply to this post by Alejandro Tejada
Roger.E.Eller wrote:

> It is in many cases the virus makers themselves who infect Windows,
> and then use FAKE anti-virus messages that offer to cleanse your
> machine "for a fee".

URL?

I'm sometimes prone to notions that seem conspiratorial myself, but
while this meme has been floating around for a few years I've not yet
been able to find any actual case where this has been demonstrated to
have happened.

Not to say that if it hasn't been proven it's impossible, but it's such
a harsh accusation of massively destructive criminal fraud with
potentially billions on the line that one would think that if such
stories were true many - including the FBI - would be well motivated to
corroborate.

--
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Re: [OT] Browsing the internet... It is safer from Linux?

Roger Eller
> Roger.E.Eller wrote:
>> It is in many cases the virus makers themselves who infect Windows,
>> and then use FAKE anti-virus messages that offer to cleanse your
>> machine "for a fee".

Richard Gaskin replied:
>
> URL?
>
> I'm sometimes prone to notions that seem conspiratorial myself, but
> while this meme has been floating around for a few years I've not yet
> been able to find any actual case where this has been demonstrated to
> have happened.

No no no no...  I said VIRUS MAKERS, not ANTI-virus makers.  One of the
most common viruses is called "Anti-Virus 2010", which spoofs a window to
look almost identical to a real antivirus window.  No conspriacy, just
tricky devils.  Google it, but be careful, some of the rusults can lead you
to an infecting site.

~Roger


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Re: [OT] Browsing the internet... It is safer from Linux?

ScottR
In reply to this post by Richard Gaskin
Recently, Richard Gaskin wrote:

>> It is in many cases the virus makers themselves who infect Windows,
>> and then use FAKE anti-virus messages that offer to cleanse your
>> machine "for a fee".
>
> URL?
>
> I'm sometimes prone to notions that seem conspiratorial myself, but
> while this meme has been floating around for a few years I've not yet
> been able to find any actual case where this has been demonstrated to
> have happened.

I'm surprised you've never come across this Richard.  Several weekends ago I
spent several hours getting rid of this one on my father-in-law's laptop:

<http://deletemalware.blogspot.com/2010/10/how-to-remove-smart-engine-malwar
e.html>

These things been around for years and are only getting better (more
"official" looking and more difficult to remove).

Regards,

Scott Rossi
Creative Director
Tactile Media, UX Design


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Re: [OT] Browsing the internet... It is safer from Linux?

ScottR
Guess I should clarify, it's not put out by an antivirus company, it is
software that's been rewritten to rip off people whose machines it infects.


Recently, I wrote:

> Recently, Richard Gaskin wrote:
>
>>> It is in many cases the virus makers themselves who infect Windows,
>>> and then use FAKE anti-virus messages that offer to cleanse your
>>> machine "for a fee".
>>
>> URL?
>>
>> I'm sometimes prone to notions that seem conspiratorial myself, but
>> while this meme has been floating around for a few years I've not yet
>> been able to find any actual case where this has been demonstrated to
>> have happened.
>
> I'm surprised you've never come across this Richard.  Several weekends ago I
> spent several hours getting rid of this one on my father-in-law's laptop:
>
> <http://deletemalware.blogspot.com/2010/10/how-to-remove-smart-engine-malwar
> e.html>
>
> These things been around for years and are only getting better (more
> "official" looking and more difficult to remove).
>
> Regards,
>
> Scott Rossi
> Creative Director
> Tactile Media, UX Design
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> use-revolution mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Please visit this url to

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