My Windows XP machine runs Blink. Compared to Symantec and McAffee’s monster suites, it’s very lightweight and has the least impact to the system by any other utility suites I’ve seen. This thing has everything – system and application firewall, intrusion detection, and protection against identity theft, malware, registry protection, and application and execution protection that work in tandem with data execution prevention for those sneaky rootkits the big, bad, and evil companies are itching to plant on your systems. The best part: the Personal Edition (with everything that’s been mentioned) is free* (disclaimer: this is not a paid ad).
Windows Vista users are out of luck, at least for the time being: it is currently not compatible, and this left my laptop (running Business Edition) out in the open interwubs for all evil-doers to prey on. While waiting on a Vista-compatible (currently in the works), I decided to get a free trial of Windows OneCare.
And then all hell broke loose. This same notebook running Vista has been beaconing system logs out into some remote server. Not that I keep information that is of great financial importance to anyone, but the thought of being compromised sends chills down my spine. Later on, I realized how I wrought it upon myself, as I had to open a number of ports to allow outbound traffic for testing utilities I need. It appears that the hackers have caught up to Vista’s defenses, and neither the third-party vendors nor Microsoft themselves are in their own game. I’ve since wiped my hard disk out. Against my own will, I’m sticking with the Norton suite that came with in the box until Blink for Vista is out. it’s Windows XP all over again: early adopters have to go through the new OS’s growing pains like guinea pigs.
(Of course, the root of all this evil is the proliferation of Windows itself. The crackers, seeking the widest user base possible that can be compromised choose Windows over the remaining 10% of the market left to Macs and other *nix-es.)
A totally unrelated rant: Windows’ bad habit of restarting itself after a system update without so much as a little note or two about shutting down your running applications and losing unsaved word does not sit well with me. Mac and *-nix users have it all too easy. The modular architecture of *-nix where there are no unnecessary associations and dependencies from one part of the operating system to another lets it sit quietly on its own for much longer. This puts even Windows Vista (and its supposedly reworked modular architecture) to shame, really.
* for US-based sign-ups.