"Hey, Mark. Can you check my system? I think there's a virus or something on it. My scanning program is coming up." This is usually how the "is my Windows system infected?" conversation begins.
It happened again at the office just today. One of the guys called me over to his Windows system wondering why an anti-virus program has popped up telling him that the system was infected.
I looked things over and did a double take. I couldn't believe that his system was THAT infected with spyware. It turns out that is wasn't. It was a ruse.
It was a browser hijacker. A faked system-scan screen shot was displayed in the browser. It looked exactly like the control panel on his Windows system. A pop up was asking to do a scan. Once clicked, it downloads its payload. It could be infecting your system with a Virus, or simply hijacking it to track your every move (something that gets reported and sold to marketing web sites). Or it just may be installing a program that you simply are not asking for.
The point is, it's being done in an underhanded way.
If you run Linux, this kind of thing doesn't bother your system. Even though you may (or may not) see this kind of thing pop up, Linux is immune from Windows Hijackers.
OneClickLinux recommends the following Linux computer makers:
LinPC.us LinPC.us systems come with PCLinuxOS 2009.1 completely installed and configured as a working desktop. They also ship a LiveCD to restore your system to a like new state. They've installed current versions of Open Office, Mozilla Firefox and ThunderBird along with K3b, gftp, mplayer, streamtuner, streamripper. A nice setup for getting started with browsing the internet, email, office, playing DVDS, MP3s, etc. Once you have your system up and running, you can easily add any application you need. Just open Synaptic, the software manager and install any of 7000 applications available to every PCLinuxOS user.
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Kiowa Linux Kiowa is a terrific Linux operating system. I use it on my laptop. The folks at Kiowa have taken the very best of Mandriva, tailored it to their own specs, and made it even easier to use.