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Larry Magid

Two in one day. Wow. Gotta be a Microsoft rollout.

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Larry Magid is a technology journalist and an Internet safety advocate. It says so right on the label.

He's co-director of ConnectSafely.org, founder of SafeKids.com, and he runs NoBellyPrize.com. [Nobel Prize, No Belly Prize - get it?] He also writes for CNET. Which is where the rest of the world learns about Larry Magid (if at all).

When Larry writes an article for CNET he'll publish the same article at his 'Larry's World', possibly one of the above sites, then 'PC Answers'. Then 'Connect Safely'. A couple hundred words and maximum spread. This guy gets it everywhere. And no need for technical chops here - just write something that doesn't piss the advertisers off and go with it.

Larry's been mildly interested in the Twitter/Facebook outage the other week and he's reached some startling conclusions he really wanted to share.

Could you be responsible for the Twitter outage?

Of course you're not personally responsible for bringing down Twitter, but if your computer isn't equipped with up-to-date anti-malware software and the latest version of your operating system, you could unwittingly be part of the problem.

Holy shit what an unholy mouthful. 'Not personally responsible'? Because you're as stupid as Larry and run Windows online? And who needs 'anti-malware software' save for the idiots running Windows? And 'unwittingly be part of the problem'? Is this because you and your friends have no wits about you, Larry?

It'd be one thing if teh Linus had zero exploits, the Mac had one, and Windows had five. Then people could argue 'hey I dunno about that Windows, man - it could turn into something nasty!'

But the real world situation - for years now - has been that Linux has ZERO exploits, the Mac has practically speaking ZERO exploits as well, and teh Windows has TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND - or according to some Microsoft representatives CLOSE TO ONE MILLION.

So when does the 'wit factor' kick in?

Typically a DoS attack, which is often called a distributed denial-of-service attack, results when multiple computers simultaneously try to access the site in question. Usually the reason that happens is because the attacking PCs are infected with malware that does the dirty work for whoever is behind the attack.

No shit, Larry? Really? Thanks. Now we got it in CBS black on white: it was Windows that caused the Twitter/Facebook outage.

As Symantec blogger Marian Merritt pointed out: 'it's often the case that DDoS attacks come from computers infected with bots, turning them into zombie computers doing their cybercriminal's bidding'.

Oh we got another tool in here! It's 'often the case', Marion? Hey she works for Symantec so waddaya expect? Honesty? These people got bills to pay, mouths to feed! And we all know the only OS brand that gets 'infected with bots' (you can evidently get infected with them according to rocket scientist Marion) and gets turned into zombies is Windows. Or would you perhaps want to contest that, Marion? Thought not. And you gotta love this 'cybercriminal's bidding'. You gotta love it. This of course being the tried (and almost worn out) spin technique of deflecting and diverting attention to the wrong people.

Make the Sale!

Time to up-sell a bit. Larry's got three - and only three - ways for you to protect yourself. That is if you give a shit about being a zombie and polluting the Internets.

  1. Using a good anti-malware suite from a reputable vendor such as Symantec, TrendMicro, McAfee, ZoneAlarm, or CA (Computer Associates). You can find trial versions of such programs as well as the excellent AVG-Anti Virus Free Edition at CNET's Download.com.

    So either you make a sale for your buddies or you help drive up site traffic. Cool!

  2. Making sure your operating system has the latest patches. Visit Microsoft and Apple security pages for information.

    But where is teh Linus? And putting Apple in there was a dirty trick. Others might call it an outright lie.

  3. Avoid clicking on e-mail links that take you to Web sites you're not familiar with (malware is often distributed through 'drive by downloads' from unreputable or infected sites).

    Oh is this ever rich. Windows lusers, in case you didn't know, can't really relax online. They have to keep in mind that anything they do, anywhere at any time, could infect them and turn them into idiots zombies again. Drive by downloads can only damage Windows. Only Windows. Of course Larry, Marion, and all the rest of them at Symantec, TrendMicro, McAfee, ZoneAlarm, and CA (Computer Associates) already know that. They're just not telling YOU.

But that's it. The end of the list! Of things you can do to make yourself more safe! Did you catch how clever it was to put 'Apple' in there? So that the dimwitted uneducated Joe Six Pack lusers sort of subconsciously figure 'oh they mentioned the MAC in there so that's probably not safer' and 'there was no mention of teh Linus - it's probably not a real operating system'.

Seriously: do Larry and these other people know their target demographic or what! They're pushovers. One for Symantec, one for TrendMicro, one for you, one for me... Great stuff.

There is no repeat absolutely no mention of the fact that the best, cheapest, and easiest way to protect yourself from getting infected by one of those nasty bots and becoming a zombie trying to knock Twitter off the Internets is to just GET THE FUCK OFF WINDOWS.

No contest.

Larry? This is the Hall of Monkeys. You've been sent here because you're bad. Possibly evil. Unless of course you want to cop a plea on being a tool. We don't know what to do with you yet because frankly we've never encountered anyone so bad. Or evil. Or just a tool.

Sit on the floor in the corner there until you're called for.

One of Larry's newest books is MySpace Unraveled: A parents guide to teen social networking, coauthored with Anne Collier. He also wrote The Little PC Book, a critically acclaimed best seller. Other books include The Little Quicken Book, Cruising Online: Larry Magid's Guide to the New Digital Highways, The Fully Powered PC and Electronic Link: Using the IBM PC to Communicate.

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