political views survey

[quote=“patriciareed, post:20, topic:43418”]
the feeling I get with my computer (but who knows) is not so much that it has viruses (its always pure as the driven snow on scans) but that someone has obtained user and even administrator privileges through remote access and changes settings, among other things, at will. I am keenly aware that this is a statistically improbable scenario. however, lets say we just humor it and go with it as a thought experiment. would Linux solve this or prevent this if in fact this was the problem?
[/quote]One of the problems with Windoze is that by default you have administrative privileges . . . or at least that was the way it was with XP. (That was the last Windoze OS I used before I became a ‘nix kinda’ guy years ago.) Consequently, you had to actively set up a LUA (Limited User Account) and login as the LUA to avoid system wide changes being made by someone that penetrated the machine. If you log in as administrator, you’ve already given the administrator’s password, so system wide changes CAN be made by someone penetrating the machine WITHOUT knowing the password.

Conversely, someone KNOWING your administrator password can log in as administrator even if you’re using a LUA. That’s why it’s essential to have a STRONG password, preferably at least 8 characters, to include some symbols, and also upper case and lower case. For example: a8@gH!kL would be a strong password. (Password Managers help you deal with these things, which are next to impossible to memorize, but that’s a whole 'nother topic.)

VISTA started the UAC (“User Account Control”) whereby any system change had to be done via password. But it was pretty crude and bothersome, so my understanding is that a lot of people disabled that mechanism, and consequently shot themselves in the foot. I NEVER used VISTA though, so I don’t know for sure how it worked.

Windoze 7 and 8, which I have NOT used either, may have made that mechanism smoother, and as I understand it Windoze 8 is more like Linux.

In any case, if you’re using XP and logging in as administrator, you’re automatically giving ANYONE that penetrates your machine the privileges to change things.

Linux is just the opposite. By default, you are NOT the administrator (known as “sudo” in Linux . . . “Super User Do”). You have to actively manipulate the machine to become the “Super User” . . . and you rily don’t want to run all the time as “sudo” anyway.

So in answer to your question, YES, Linux will prevent the problem you are having as long as you DON’T run perpetually as the Super User (and the manipulation to do that is purposely difficult for a novice) . . . which is the default config anyway. When making any changes to the system, you MUST provide the sudo password.

Remote control will not be possible with a Linux Distribution unless you want to enable such a feature and are very good at configuring via the the command line, that particular security hole is not something Linux users have to deal with.

That is however a very common problem with Windows and their IE browser, most of the updates that get released by Microsoft are described as dealing with an issue that could allow the computer to be controlled by a remote hack.

When you say “clean scans” are you referring to a detailed scan by a fully updated anti virus program or one of those gimmick “registry cleaners” or “spyware detectors”?

An Anti Virus program is only as good as the pattern file it uses as a map, this pattern file must be set to update daily before the scheduled scan starts. The options must also be set to run a “Full” or “Detailed” scan, the “Quick Scan” options do not check archived data like inside .exe files or compressed files.

I’ve never logged in as admin. I think I did once on my old computer, but never this one.

[quote=“Susanna, post:23, topic:43418”]
I’ve never logged in as admin. I think I did once on my old computer, but never this one.
[/quote]So you used a LUA, and consequently were unable to change any of your system wide settings OR install software?

If her distro is based on Ubuntu she can pseudo for software installs and updates without logging in as root.

[quote=“RET423, post:25, topic:43418”]
If her distro is based on Ubuntu she can pseudo for software installs and updates without logging in as root.
[/quote]I think she’s talking about Windoze . . . not any 'nix OS.

Oh, that would explain the “Admin” reference as opposed to “root” I guess.

[quote=“RET423, post:27, topic:43418”]
Oh, that would explain the “Admin” reference as opposed to “root” I guess.
[/quote]Yeah, “administrator” is Windoze terminology and kind of revealing, but I think more than anything she has talked before about having the Windoze OS on her machine (XP I think).

Nevertheless, I could be wrong. Maybe she IS talking about 'nix . . . in which case you’re right, sudo WOULD do it.

how hard would it be for an old dog like me to learn a new trick like Linux? I do have windows 8.1 btw and that has not helped… so Linux or a mac I suppose would be the next step. my poor old brain recoils from the learning curve involved with either of those, but on the other hand I want to do some serious writing in my remaining “golden yrs” and I don’t want to show that writing to the world until i’m ready to show it to the world! btw I just switched antiviruses for the umpteenth time, am running a 30-day trial of Trend Micro, and it definitely has not cleared up everything but definitely has made at least an improvement.

So in answer to your question, YES, Linux will prevent the problem you are having as long as you DON’T run perpetually as the Super User (and the manipulation to do that is purposely difficult for a novice) . . . which is the default config anyway. When making any changes to the system, you MUST provide the sudo password.

[quote=“BobJam, post:17, topic:43418”]
And it’s actually pretty easy to do, at least from the Linux side . . . the classic “follow the on screen instructions”.
[/quote] you actually think I could do it myself!?

Most of the Linux distributions are very similar to the Windows XP interface if you have used that, the office suite is Libre and it is very similar to Microsoft Office and most come with Firefox as the web browser, all of this should be quite familiar.

Whoever installs it can adjust the preferences so it acts just about identical as Windows as long as the right graphic interface is chosen, just figure out which Windows version you liked best and there is a Linux compatible GUI that will make your Linux install very familiar.

Apple is a bit different but not so much that it would totally throw you, I will say that if you buy a Mac it will run the same 5 years from now as it does the day you bought it. They cost a bit more and there are fewer free software options and your current printer most likely will need to be replaced with a Mac compatible model but once you “get used to” the Mac your computer frustrations will basically be over.

If you want to preserve your Windows install and data I would not advise “cutting your teeth” on this project yourself, a mistake could render your Windows install unusable and make preserving your files a tricky task. If you have an old computer you don’t care about to experiment on to get used to the install process (and post back here with any questions or problems) then I would suggest using that for a trial run.

[quote=“RET423, post:32, topic:43418”]
If you want to preserve your Windows install and data I would not advise “cutting your teeth” on this project yourself, a mistake could render your Windows install unusable and make preserving your files a tricky task. If you have an old computer you don’t care about to experiment on to get used to the install process (and post back here with any questions or problems) then I would suggest using that for a trial run.
[/quote] thanks I think I will need local professional help on this one.

since you are online RET, or were, hope you still are, I just checked my event logs which is pretty pointless since I really don’t know how to read them anyway! but did so just out of curiosity. I’ve been on my computer about half an hour and the app log showed hundreds of errors labeled Security-SPP, event ID 16385. The security log showed innumerable "special logon"s, most of them with the event ID # 4624, 4672, 4797, or4648. just normal “noise” or something more?

[quote=“RET423, post:31, topic:43418”]
Most of the Linux distributions are very similar to the Windows XP interface if you have used that, the office suite is Libre and it is very similar to Microsoft Office and most come with Firefox as the web browser, all of this should be quite familiar.

Whoever installs it can adjust the preferences so it acts just about identical as Windows as long as the right graphic interface is chosen, just figure out which Windows version you liked best and there is a Linux compatible GUI that will make your Linux install very familiar.

Apple is a bit different but not so much that it would totally throw you, I will say that if you buy a Mac it will run the same 5 years from now as it does the day you bought it. They cost a bit more and there are fewer free software options and your current printer most likely will need to be replaced with a Mac compatible model but once you “get used to” the Mac your computer frustrations will basically be over.
[/quote] that would make me very happy indeed. I think I will first try the Linux. if I have to eventually go to a mac, I will somehow make that happen.

Try running this exact command from a command prompt while you are logged in as an administrator

%systemroot%\System32\Tasks\Microsoft\Windows\SoftwareProtectionPlatform

This will give Administrator permissions to the Security Software regardless of what the Administrator status is of the logged in user, so the security software should be able to start or restart as needed without generating the error.

Restart the computer after running that command and check the log after awhile to see if it is still generating this same error.

[quote=“RET423, post:35, topic:43418”]
Try running this exact command from a command prompt while you are logged in as an administrator

%systemroot%\System32\Tasks\Microsoft\Windows\SoftwareProtectionPlatform

This will give Administrator permissions to the Security Software regardless of what the Administrator status is of the logged in user, so the security software should be able to start or restart as needed without generating the error.

Restart the computer after running that command and check the log after awhile to see if it is still generating this same error.
[/quote] I instantly received this message as soon as I typed in the suggested command prompt: ‘C:\WINDOWS\System32\Tasks\Microsoft\Windows\SoftwareProtectionProgram’ is not recognized as an internal or external command, operable program, or batch file.’

[quote=“patriciareed, post:34, topic:43418”]
I think I will first try the Linux
[/quote]Coupla’ things.

The more I think about it, I think RET may be right . . . you probably SHOULDN’T try right away to load a dual boot with Linux AND Windoze on the boot menu. I said it was “easy”, but I was using my own experience level as a reference. I’m a bit of a student geek and I like to drive these things more than most.

However, you can test drive Linux from a Linux CD (you can download an image to burn for FREE). This might be the way for you to go at first, because it will allow you to see if you even like it and which “flavor” (commonly called a “distro” . . . there are several different “distro’s” of Linux: “Red Hat”, “Ubuntu”, “OpenSuse”, “Mint”, and more.)

It will be slow and sluggish because you’ll be running off of the CD, so the CD motor will have to spin up every time you manipulate things . . . it won’t be as responsive as it would be if it were running off your HDD, but the advantage is that you won’t have to go through the installation routine only to find out you don’t like it, and then be confronted with removing it to recover the space.

I’m inclined to say removing it would be “easy” but I don’t want to fall into that trap again. I’m guessing you don’t want to be bothered with all this “geek” stuff . . . you just want things to work and be on your way.

If that’s your approach, then test driving off a CD may be the best way to go to see if you really want to make this leap.

One thing on the test drive though. Give it more than just a quick look. Play around for a few days. It may be strange to you at first (stating the obvious . . . it WILL), but play around with it and give it more than a glance.

Your initial reaction is probably going to be something like, “This is for the birds . . . I’m going back to Windoze where I know what I’m doing.” Indeed, THAT was MY first reaction, but I kept looking at it for a few days and I’m glad I did.

I use Ubuntu, but I’ve tried several distro’s and still have another besides Ubuntu on my machine.

The “desktop environment” can be changed and there are a lot of them you can use . . . each distro has it’s default DE and that’s what you’ll see from the CD.

Before I get into too much lingo, the “DE” is what you first see when you boot up into an OS. It’s really not a program, rather it’s a set of appearances from which you can select a program (actually, in Linux the various DE’s ARE programs, but you don’t need to bother about that right now.)

For example, the default DE for Ubuntu and what you’ll see is called “Unity”. I don’t like it and have substituted other DE’s.

Here are my desktops.

For my Ubuntu 12.04.4 LTS (“LTS”=“Long Term Support” . . . something you’ll catch on to if you decide to go with Ubuntu) I use the “Mate” desktop, but it doesn’t come with Ubuntu, so I had to download it separately:

Running off the CD, what you’ll see doesn’t even come close to this, so don’t worry about it. I just want to show you how “customizable” it is.

I’ve pointed out the “Terminal” . . . and that’s like the “C prompt” you use in Windoze for the command line. Don’t even worry about this at first. I’m guessing you want a “point and click” thing (that would be a “GUI” . . . “Graphical User Interface”. . . the geek jargon can be annoying sometimes, so I’m going to try and use plain English.)

One of the things you’ll notice right away is that there’s no “Start” button like there is in Windoze. (Actually there IS a Linux DE that DOES show a “Start” button, but you can just start your programs from the Menu’s in the upper left corner anyway.)

Panels are used as devices to house frequently used utilities and other programs . . . very similar to the Windows “Quick Launch” device or a docking program.

Here’s an old version of Ubuntu I keep on my machine because I like it. It’s version 9.10:

For it, I use the “Gnome” desktop, which is what you see.

And here is Mint 12 on my machine:

What you see there is the “Mate” desktop that comes as one of the DE’s offered by Mint.

Both Mint and Ubuntu are often used for transitions from Windoze and have a lot of “point and click” packages (“GUI’s”").

But Red Hat, for example, is pretty command line intense, so you probably don’t want to try a distro like that at first.

I’d recommend Ubuntu, Mint, or OpenSuse. Mint might be easiest to get around in at first.

Try it and give it a chance.

I wouldn’t be so keen on suggesting you try Linux, but it seems as though, as you’ve described your problems, this might be the best solution.

[quote=“patriciareed, post:36, topic:43418”]
I instantly received this message as soon as I typed in the suggested command prompt: ‘C:\WINDOWS\System32\Tasks\Microsoft\Windows\SoftwareProtectionProgram’ is not recognized as an internal or external command, operable program, or batch file.’
[/quote]RET is more familiar with Windoze commands than I am, but I think the space you had in the word “Software”, and you also used the word “Program” instead of “Platform” as RET instructed, is tripping up the recognition.

Again, I’m not that familiar with Windoze commands, so RET will set you straight, but I know Linux gets very cranky if you have a space where it shouldn’t be or even use upper case instead of the lower case it wants to see. I’m pretty sure Windoze is similar, but I DO know Linux is very particular about the syntax of a command.

You may be able to get away with swapping upper and lower case in the Windoze command line, but Linux will spit it back to you if you do that. Linux commands have to be exact even with case.

Nope, I installed software on it, don’t remember if I changed any settings; I don’t usually do that, and I do have Windows. In fact, I think that I installed XP after I signed on as admin. Or maybe not. It was a long time ago, I don’t remember. I got the computer in 2000, the disc drive got too full, I didn’t have enough memory to upgrade, and would have had to change the motherboard to do so (I had upgraded the memory once, but it hit max at 256 - I now have 3 gig). So I just got a new computer.

[quote=“BobJam, post:38, topic:43418”]
RET is more familiar with Windoze commands than I am, but I think the space you had in the word “Software”, and you also used the word “Program” instead of “Platform” as RET instructed, is tripping up the recognition.

Again, I’m not that familiar with Windoze commands, so RET will set you straight, but I know Linux gets very cranky if you have a space where it shouldn’t be or even use upper case instead of the lower case it wants to see. I’m pretty sure Windoze is similar, but I DO know Linux is very particular about the syntax of a command.

You may be able to get away with swapping upper and lower case in the Windoze command line, but Linux will spit it back to you if you do that. Linux commands have to be exact even with case.
[/quote] I did NOT actually have a space in “Software” but I DID substitute “Program” for “Platform”, glad you noticed. I will check and see if I am still getting that error. If so, I will try RET’s suggestion again.

And many, many thanks for the tutorial in your longer post. I will try to have help when I do that tho, I don’t feel confident enough to do it without a parachute! you are correct that I never had any ambition to be a computer geek to even a very minor extent, but it has been forced upon me.