Q: When does antivirus software become a virus, of sorts, itself?
A: When it marks safe, non-infected software and sites as being infected.
This was the case, not once, but twice during October when the Avast! antivirus software labeled both The PCLinuxOS Magazine and the main PCLinuxOS sites as being infected with malicious software. I suppose since they can't beat Linux with security and quality, the Windows community must resort to falsely reporting software and sites as containing malicious software. Given the flop and joke that Windows has become, it seems that the Windows community is running scared.
Actually, it's Windows users who should be running scared. They should be running to Linux in droves. They should be running away from a corporation who is in bed with the NSA. They should be running scared of the increasingly prevalent incidences of malicious software. They should be running to embrace and adopt the security that Linux offers.
The stories of antivirus-software-gone-awry could fill a book. They go back in time for as long as antivirus software has existed. Virus definition databases would routinely become so large that the antivirus software would further slow an already slow and inefficient operating system to a crawl.
Running antivirus software has become akin to putting a bandage on an arterial bleeder, and then keep applying more bandages on top of blood soaked bandages as it continues to hemorrhage. Viruses and other malicious software are symptoms of an insecure operating system. Instead of replacing an insecure operating system with a secure one, users keep the bandage companies (the antivirus software vendors) in business by continually buying an ever increasing number of bandages to stop the hemorrhaging.
Why all of this talk about viruses, antivirus software, etc.? Well, besides the "events" in October with Avast! labeling the PCLinuxOS sites as containing malware, much of this month's magazine was already planned to center around computer security issues. The security articles this month revolve around real security for your data and online presence, not plugging an infinite number of leaks in an operating system that looks like Swiss cheese.
I feel fortunate to be running Linux, freed from the frustration of always being on guard for yet another piece of malicious code just waiting to take advantage of yet another vulnerability in an operating system that's an embarrassment to the computing industry. I feel fortunate to be freed from that constant worry, able to devote more of my focus to doing the tasks that I need or want to get done.
Today, the biggest threats to all computer users come from sources no one could have possibly envisioned 15 or 20 years ago. Todays headlines repeatedly ring out with an alphabet soup of governmental agencies -- and entire governments -- who think it is their business to pry into the most private aspects of our lives. The biggest concern today is the protection of our data, our reputations, and our privacy.
Until next month, I bid you peace, happiness, serenity and prosperity.