Windows viruses and email

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A friend of mine that owns a small business called me late last night. His anti-virus program was detecting a Netsky payload and wasn’t letting him retrieve his email. I gave him a few suggestions and then in about an hour he called me back and said he was up and running again.

This is the second time he’s been hit by malicious code–a few months back he had a terrible problem with spyware that was crippling IE on his main computer. He does a lot of business over the internet, so he spent the better part of two days working through the problems with the help of Microsoft tech support.

He took his latest virus hiccup in stride, but he’s also beginning to wonder about switching his email systems and the computers that connect to the internet over to something other than Windows. It kind of makes sense. For security reasons he has a strict policy of never opening any email attachments (unless he knows the sender and was expecting something from them) and he has strict policy against any employees downloading applications from the Net anymore on his internet-connected work machines–unless it’s from a trusted source. He wants the reliability of an appliance and Windows may or may not fit the bill. He’s also seeking some lowest-common-denominator-level of reliable service. The baseline has to work.

Anyway, he’s not switching anytime soon, but with the virus attacks over the last couple years, it’s beginning to get old. His confidence gets shaken in Windows when he runs into problems like this.

It’s interesting, in this last episode he was more suspicious of a recent Windows update he ran than he was of his anti-virus program–which updates all the time. This isn’t right. In fact, he really needs the virus protection built in–especially for his email and web browser. His view of Windows is tightly coupled with how net-secure his machine is. Microsoft is going to be forced into providing virus protection.