Home > Windows > Microsoft: SP2 makes Windows 15 times safer Microsoft: SP2 makes Windows 15 times safer Eugenia Loli 2005-05-24 Windows 76 Comments Computers running Windows XP SP2 are 15 times less likely than those running XP or XP SP1 to be infected by some of the most dangerous forms of malware, according to a Microsoft security guru. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 76 Comments 2005-05-24 8:02 pm Anonymous So, what’s 15 times 0? =oD 2005-05-24 8:04 pm Anonymous Anyone remember Trusted Computing? It was supposed to make users even safer. It was later found to be vapour-ware…and a myth! I will believe it when the so called SP2 is a year old. 2005-05-24 8:09 pm Anonymous This is believable. The SP2 additions of integrated IE pop-up blocking, firewall, and the monitoring of antivirus software, really goes a long way at helping to prevent malware infections. Hopefully, Microsoft AntiSpyware will become an integrated part of the next Windows version. This will help even more. 2005-05-24 8:11 pm Anonymous i can expect my windows machine to be hacked in just under 4 hours as opposed to 15 minutes? 2005-05-24 8:12 pm Anonymous As long as there is no antivirus software, Windows is still very much at risk. SP2 may increase security by a factor of 15, but that just goes to show Windows was pretty crappy to begin with. 2005-05-24 8:14 pm Anonymous reduces signs of aging by 63% i’m sure sp2 is a big improvement over sp1, but how do you quantify something like this? 2005-05-24 8:16 pm Anonymous How many times better does it become with the subscription security service? (How many times worse is it than another OS?) 2005-05-24 8:18 pm Anonymous Sp2 is pretty decent at holding incompetent users hands. I feel that MS letting pirated systems go unpatched is putting everyone else at risk, however. 2005-05-24 8:18 pm Anonymous increase security by 15% can you imagine what would happen if MSFT actually patched all the holes in the win32/IE/activex API’s? Here’s to hoping that Longhorn’s backward compatiblity is based on a Virtual Machine. Removing 99% of the viruses out there in quick try. 2005-05-24 8:23 pm Anonymous So before SP2? What were the chances one would get infected? 100% ? Because right now 100/15 gives only 6% of soon-to-be-infected machines with XP+SP2. That seems already optimistic… 2005-05-24 8:47 pm Anonymous May 24, 2005: “It is currently in our plans (to have) an enterprise offering that addresses spyware,” Garms said. OMG, spyware has barely hit the internet and microsoft already has plans addressing it 2005-05-24 8:49 pm Anonymous This reads like marketing stuff pulled from thier.. noses. If that was a reality, one could ask why did you broke it so much before? 😉 2005-05-24 8:57 pm Anonymous It still exists. Just because the anti-Microsoft media doesn’t talk about it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. There are a lot of folks out there who despirately want MS to fail in every way. Mis-reporting the facts or leaving out critical information is just a tactic on their part to try to destroy any credability MS has. 2005-05-24 9:03 pm Anonymous Does sp2 make windows 2x free software? (free as in freedom) If so than it is an improvement. 2005-05-24 9:10 pm Anonymous >> I feel that MS letting pirated systems go unpatched is putting everyone else at risk, however. Microsoft isn’t stopped users from patching their systems, the users are choosing that. Dr Phil: You choose the behaviour, you choose the result. PS) This isn’t a MS-only problem. – Microsoft Fanboy 2005-05-24 9:12 pm Anonymous I think this is like saying “wearing pants make it 15 times less likely that someone will touch your private parts…” They add a firewall to shut off the services that 95% of their users weren’t using. They add automated updates to make sure that 90% of users actually do updates on time. They add incentives to use anti-virus software and have had massive work done for them to raise awareness on spyware issues. And the net effect: People’s computers are more secure. I’m so shocked! 2005-05-24 9:27 pm Anonymous If you want a secure system go for Linux. Many studies(except the Microsoft-sponsored ones) confirm that Linux in a typical default configuration is many times more secure than any version of Windows. 2005-05-24 9:31 pm Anonymous .. and it broke 15% of software that used to run on XP just fine. 2005-05-24 9:33 pm Anonymous Exactly, that’s what’s so funny, isn’t it? MS finally applying some common sense (like, doh, wouldn’t it be a good idea not to let 659 services listen to the world by default?) and now they’re jumping up and down shouting: Look how great we are !!11!!!111 Windows is now 15 times more secure!11!!!!11 Hilarious. 2005-05-24 9:40 pm Anonymous is linux that secure? openbsd is much more secure, they say, but i have no experience with it. i use a windows xp machine daily, without special firewall and without antivirus, and still i got no virus on my system for many years. my linux desktop also gave no problems. so it’s the user which makes systems vulnurable, and most linux users are geeky enough to know how to handle dagerous websites and dangerous emails. software can help, but as soon as linux get the dumb users too, it wil experience many “security problems” (read: user stupidity) 2005-05-24 9:49 pm Anonymous “so it’s the user which makes systems vulnurable, and most linux users are geeky enough to know how to handle dagerous websites and dangerous emails. software can help, but as soon as linux get the dumb users too, it wil experience many “security problems” (read: user stupidity)” I disagree. I know several “dumb users” who don’t have any security problems with linux, but always had security problems with windows. I also find it amazing who people seem to be able to always tell us what the future will bring and on top of that, this story isn’t even about linux or openbsd. 2005-05-24 10:04 pm Anonymous Automatic update is shit as you have to turn it off if you want to update your windows with a proxy… 2005-05-24 11:14 pm Anonymous “Some people will have you believe that the primary impact of spyware is the spying on your systems, but that is the secondary impact of spyware,” Garms said. Spyware causing crashes and erratic behavior “are the things that generate user help desk calls.” Let me get this straight: The primary impact of spyware is to cause crashes and erratic behavior, not spying on your system. How stupid can that be? If the purpose of a spyware is to spy, why in the hell would it want to cause crashes and erratic behavior, which undoubtedly triggers an investigation to the cause of such and lead to the discovery of a spyware? Wouldn’t the main objective of spying be to get what you want without getting caught? 2005-05-24 11:30 pm Anonymous Who do you have to piss off to have your XP hacked in 15 minutes? I have unupdated XP installs sometimes sit for days before I get a chance to install AV and set up the firewall, and they have never got a virus. I’ve yet to see a virus install itself on an XP machine with no user interaction just by being connected to the internet. 2005-05-25 12:00 am Anonymous No, firefox makes Windows more secure… SP2 makes Windows a little less unsecure. 2005-05-25 12:06 am Anonymous AirIntake said… “I’ve yet to see a virus install itself on an XP machine with no user interaction just by being connected to the internet.” You, sir, are almost correct. Those are called worms. Sasser anyone? /rotkohl. 2005-05-25 12:09 am Anonymous It’s easy to smash the hell out of Microsoft, heck I do it enough, however this is positive. They are making progress forward, and while it may only benefit the ‘uneducated’ users, that’s the majority. Many people I know don’t know or care what a firewall is, they don’t know or care what windowsupdate is. To them the computer is just a tool, and SP2 looks like it’s allowing them to do more work with less hassle. and what twat is reporting every comment. Matt 2005-05-25 12:21 am Anonymous “Who do you have to piss off to have your XP hacked in 15 minutes? I have unupdated XP installs sometimes sit for days before I get a chance to install AV and set up the firewall, and they have never got a virus. I’ve yet to see a virus install itself on an XP machine with no user interaction just by being connected to the internet.” I suppose you have never been connected to a university network, where worms thrive. My roommate reformatted his computer and reinstalled Windows XP. In the small time window he took to download the updates from Windows Update, he got infect (MSBlaster I think, but I don’t really remember). Of course, learning his lesson, he just used my NetBSD box to download the service packs and burned them to CD and reinstalled Windows XP. He didn’t anger anyone. He just connected his computer to the university network. However, I agree that this is a postive development for Windows users, although it is almost too little too late. In the two weeks since coming home from school, I had to fix my relatives’ computers. The main problem. of course, being spy/malware. SP2 is nice once you have it installed, but getting there is half the battle. In order to install SP2, you have to remove all the spy/malware, or you blue screen when you reboot. This is the case, if the computer is infected with something like WinTools, which runs as a service, rather than a regular program. Using Ad-Aware and Spybot Search and Destroy was not enough to remove all the mal/spyware, so I took the typical Windows route: reformat. When I told one person this, they kind of cringed (I would too) at the thought of rebuilding the whole system. It is a very sad state that the Windows world is in (an observation my uncle made as well). I’m just glad that I’m no longer a part of it. 2005-05-25 12:43 am Anonymous I have seen worms infect W9x machines in under an hour, even behind our firewall at work. XP seems to be able to withstand those worms for a while though. It probably just depends on your internal network, or where (IP range wise) you connect to the internet. 2005-05-25 12:46 am Anonymous Well, there are some worms doing this but your ISP might have blocked the offending port… However, these kinds of exploits also exist for other systems. Until I changed the default port for SSH on my servers, I had an impressive amount of failed “hack” attempts per day. It was even worse when I had cable and was in the (in)famous 24.* IP range. While the “15 times more secure” is a strange claim (I mean, it’s like “Well, our product was kinda flakey… but it’s now better, believe us!”), the SP2 is a good thing. I have to use Windows XP daily and I really don’t have any problem with security breachs or malware. I do admit that I am rather proactive with security, though. After all even your favourite Linux distro can be DoS’d or rooted if you don’t configure it properly or update it frequently. 2005-05-25 1:26 am Anonymous That’s partially because Outlook has never been ported to Linux and partially because there aren’t many linux e-mail virus’s (yea there are some). The biggest danger is to have some default user installed with no password and not referred to /sbin/nologin. People run scripts against random hosts for this. Most of our machines at work get hit with these scripts 3-5 times a week. They must get some people? 2005-05-25 1:28 am Anonymous A lot of people’s worm problems would be solved if they got a SOHO-based firewall router and put that between their computers and the Internet. These routers are cheap, extremely easy to set up, and will block most (if not all) worms by default. Of course, this won’t work if you have other machines on your LAN that are infected, but hey … we don’t live in a perfect world Or, you could simply use another OS. (No that this is an option for everyone, but I’m simply putting it here because I know otherwise, at least 30 anti-Windows zealots will point this out). 2005-05-25 1:52 am Anonymous Or you could just leave the Windows SP2 firewall turned on. Or turn on the firewall for XP and XP SP1. You then need the user to go to a dodgy site or download a dodgy email. Both of which can be protected against by using a virus checker. I’ve been running XP for 4 years. The firewall is on. I run automatic updates I’ve gone to do dodgy sites. I just say no whenever I’m asked if I want to install the latest spyware app. I have downloaded dodgy emails. I have the brains not to run these. I run a viruschecker. It has caught stuff trying to be installed on my PC when using IE and Firefox. I’ve never gotten a virus. My PC runs fine. I’m not evangelical about it. It just works. 2005-05-25 3:31 am Anonymous “A machine that had Windows XP or XP SP1 was 15 times more likely to have one of the highly prevalent top 20 worms installed than on a machine running XP SP2” And THAT, folks, ain’t NEARLY the same thing as saying SP2 makes XP 15 times safer IN GENERAL! C’mon, this is bovine excrement! This is ruminant evacuation! With SP2, you block the “top 20 worms” – and this makes XP 15 times safer? I DON’T think so! You only have to read this kind of crap from Microsoft to understand WHY Microsoft is NEVER to be trusted in ANYTHING ANY of their employees say! Read my lips! They are LIARS! They make Scott McClellan or the Di Rita guy from the Pentagon look like NUNS! 2005-05-25 3:43 am Anonymous AirIntake said: “It probably just depends on your internal network, or where (IP range wise) you connect to the internet.” You might as well say it probably depends on the number of script kiddies who happen to be eating dinner when you turn on your computer. Either way, it’s a crappy yardstick to measure the security of an OS with. Point being that you need not piss off anyone. Any unpatched Windows install doing it raw on the Internets can and will get owned in short order. No user intervention required. Take a look at any firewall log. See all those hits on 445 and 135? Hint: it rhymes with germ. Maybe I’m being a little condescending, but if you’ve never seen it, you’re not looking very hard. That said, I’m writing this on an XP machine. My machine runs flawlessly and is a pleasure to use. If you can keep the crap out, Windows XP is actually quite a good OS. I know what I’m doing. Most people don’t. Microsoft’s biggest problem is users who don’t know anything about computers, and they will never get past it. With every release, guys like me have to turn off more and more handholding “features”. Remember when MacOS was the “toy” OS in computing? Now look who’s doing the coddling and crippling… /rotkohl. //why the hell is there a puppy in my search window? did clippy teach us nothing? 2005-05-25 4:57 am Anonymous 3 questions… 1) what if any factual evidence does this article have or describe about SP2 actually improving security other than Microsoft’s word that it does? 2) why does OSNews/com feed the hype of these trivial and irrelevant marketing ploys by Microsoft? 3) am i being harsh or should journalists be judged by there credibility? you decide 2005-05-25 5:25 am Anonymous Type: “rd /s /q C:” at the command prompt. This will most certainly fix the secuirity problems. 2005-05-25 5:26 am Anonymous I’m sorry, I meant C: or whatever drive Windows is on. :p 2005-05-25 5:49 am Anonymous citing data culled by the Windows error reporting tool, which sends data back to Microsoft when an application crashes. Maybe the error reporting tool is the greatest spyware of them all.Who knows for sure it sends data back to MS and not a different triggered site? Even if the error reporting tool would be of great value,we haven’t seen sh*t in in the 5 years that annoying tool is running.I disabled internet altogether on (M$) and got some removable HD’s.One turn-key and a box starts with *BSD or Linux.Saves me a lot of precious time which i would otherwise spend to much with repairing ,spyware fighting and maintaining windows. 2005-05-25 8:02 am Anonymous they should add, “until crackers put all their energy into breaking SP2 security. At the moment, the amount of unpatched XP machines permanently online still is so high, that targeting SP2 is a waste of energy, economically.” Ditch the “fifteen times”, and say “much safer”, and I’ll agree and say, Congratulations Microsoft. Silly marketing drones. 2005-05-25 8:06 am Anonymous Windows xp is 15 times more insecure than windows xp sp2…. 2005-05-25 8:25 am Anonymous i’ve noticed with my own clients that after sp2 was installed i wasn’t getting as many calls to clean the machines out… 15 times is a pretty bold statement, i don’t know if i’d be very surprised if it was indeed true though 2005-05-25 9:33 am Anonymous 4 (maybe 5) years ago, I installed a vanilla WinXP. Installed http://free.grisoft.com and firefox. Immediately I turned off Windows Updates. I made my XP run with the bare minimal services I needed. Up till 2 weeks ago I never installed any SP or patches. My box runs fine, no BSODs, no crashes at all. Than I had to install SP1 and SP2 due to school(.NET) requirements. Considering those 2 weeks, I didn’t notice any difference between a vanilla XP and an XP with SPs about security issues. I think MS always has to exagerate about everything they do: how long to expect longhorn ? why release an AV instead of fixing the known security holes ? do you trust an OS that crashes at its first demonstration ? (i’m not a MS-fanboy, i do believe in the coexisting of Windows, Linux and Apple) 2005-05-25 9:49 am Anonymous The port-usage restrictions in SP2 (throttling open connections) mean many gamers and avid downloaders have refused to install SP2 – they probably represent a significant proportion of the hackable population now. 2005-05-25 9:51 am Anonymous r00t said: > All software that they make, will forever be buggy pieces of shit. I’ve got news for you: every piece of software of some size has bugs. 2005-05-25 11:26 am Anonymous It’s amazing what a couple of sticky plasters can do… although sort of unrelated, my favourite is the internet access feature from 2003 Server, ‘Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Configuration’, that prevents adware/virus’s from infecting the server by actively preventing you from ever actually accessing the internet, what a great idea……. 2005-05-25 12:02 pm Anonymous I work at a broadband ISP and constantly have to have our customers turn the XP firewall off for them to get online. It’s a great firewall! It doesn’t allow any virii to get in or to spread from said machine. But it also doesn’t allow the machine to renew its DHCP lease. Or surf the web. Or check email. And the oddest thing? It doesn’t do this on every SP2 box, just some…gotta love unpredictable behaviour. 2005-05-25 12:21 pm Anonymous Subject says it all. 2005-05-25 12:27 pm Anonymous Why 15? Why not 14? or 13.2? Mine is 12 times better… MS PR dep is on its lowest ever. 2005-05-25 12:28 pm Anonymous It’s a darn shame that Microsoft has bought an anti-virus company and is now planning to ‘address spyware’ because they will just turn the weaknesses of their operating systems into new revenue streams while they wait for the cow to leave the barn. What it means is that they have no incentive to remove all the bugs from their system as it would undercut their new revenue model if running the cow would mean there are no longer any viruses or spyware running on the system. Admitting that SP2 makes the system 15 times safer than before is unwitting testimony to the fact that prior versions are ludicrously vulnerable and they have no one else but themselves to blame for it but they’re going to stick the bill on you anyway [not on me, I’ll drive a Mac until they don’t make ’em anymore + the time it takes for it to be so slow and outdated that it won’t do anything useful anymore which, because it’s a Mac, will be a good many years after the last model hits the supply chain]. 2005-05-25 12:57 pm Anonymous >There are a lot of folks out there who despirately want MS to fail in every way. Actually speaking as a linux advocate, i would Love microsoft to succeed. It would mean far less virus infected windoze machines on my work network eating bandwith caused by semi-technical morons have disabled their virus checker because it was “Slowing everything up”. Actually option B would be to make Disabling virus checking a sackable offence, but i dont see that happening around here as the management are the worst offenders. 🙁 >Mis-reporting the facts or leaving out critical information is just a tactic on their part to try to destroy any credability MS has. I’m afraid I have never seen any examples of that. Connect a windows machine directly to the internet and it very quickly *will* be infected. Its easy and provable. It is worth noting i havent tried something quite so stupid since SP2, but i did with an SP1 machine on a DSL link about 6 months ago. That was “amusing”. It was infected before the Virus checking had finished downloading its update. As far as security is concerned MS has no credibility. The only safe way to connect a Windows machine to the internet is via a firewall. (Actually, thats a good idea whatever OS your using) and and Moron who connects a Windows XP directly to a DSL line without one deserves anything they get. Unfortunately the rest of us dont deserve it. Personally i would like to see ISPs insist on up to date and enabled Firewall software and virus software before allowing a connection to their networks. While were on the subject of leaving out critical information, how about MS leaving Virus checker subscriptions and Spyware cleaning out of its TCO costs? 2005-05-25 1:05 pm Anonymous Who do you have to piss off to have your XP hacked in 15 minutes? I have unupdated XP installs sometimes sit for days before I get a chance to install AV and set up the firewall, and they have never got a virus. I’ve yet to see a virus install itself on an XP machine with no user interaction just by being connected to the internet. 1: Install Windows XP 2: Patch up to SP2 behind a firewall (Or the impact later is lessend) 3: Install a DSL/Dial up modem 4: Log in to the internet 5: go and make a cup of coffee/tea. Enjoy your new virus-infected PC!! If you want your new Virus infected PC faster, you can perform #3 before #2. You can pretty much garuntee you will be infected before it downloads much in the way of patches. 2005-05-25 1:40 pm Anonymous It is amazing how people have become so cynical over anything that Microsoft does. Having said that, coming out to say that something is 15% more secure than previous editions is admittantly pretty hilarious; it almost admits some degree of failure on Microsoft’s part in trying to improve the security. Why not wait about making a comment about the security of windows until it is 75% more secure. I will say though, having to deal with spyware/virus on computers everyday at my job, that the patches that make up SP2 have really cut the number of calls we go out on by about 50%. As far as stability (mind you not security), SP2 is much more stable than previous versions. But I digress… 2005-05-25 2:40 pm Anonymous Steps 1-5: Done Where are my viruses? Either they don’t exist, or 3 virus scanners and 3 spyware scanners are wrong. Either way, my computers still work fine, and that’s what matters. I have an XP machine that sits connected to the internet all day (with a VNC connection open none the less), with it’s only protection being the SP2 firewall (P2 366, 96M RAM makes it too slow to run a resident AV without annoying me). I run a virus and spyware scan weekly, and they show nothing. I’m sorry, but a patched firewalled XP SP2 being infected like that so fast is just FUD. 2005-05-25 2:54 pm Anonymous Thats really quite impressive. My experience differs quite a lot, Dont know if its because I’m on a residential DSL line that doesnt do any filtering, but there you go. Will have to see if i can dig up my old DSL modem card and an old PC, and experiment. (I tend to use a ADSL SoHo modem+hub combo these days) However there is still the problem of getting infected before you patch Windows up to the required level. Thats what kept happening to me last time i tried it. I suspect it will be quite a while before copies of Windows XP pre-patched with SP2 come through the OEM and retail channels. Personally i have been dissapointed so much by Microsoft products claimed “Security” that yes, i tend to take anything they say with more than a pinch of salt, and Yes, i will expect them to prove it before i believe a word of it. 2005-05-25 3:25 pm Anonymous Maybe the internet is just more friendly to computers up here in Canada 2005-05-25 4:10 pm Anonymous Dont plug it it. -nX 2005-05-25 4:28 pm Anonymous However there is still the problem of getting infected before you patch Windows up to the required level. Thats what kept happening to me last time i tried it. I suspect it will be quite a while before copies of Windows XP pre-patched with SP2 come through the OEM and retail channels. As I said before, get a SOHO firewall/router … they can be had for about $30-$40. That will solve the problem immediately of getting nailed before you install all the patches. This is the absolute best solution because it offers an extra layer of protection before anything even gets to the computer, and works great with any OS, not just Windows. Failing that, there’s a technique called slipstreaming – just Google for a program called ‘Autostreamer’. Another thing you can do is to install a firewall program like Sygate before hitting the Internet. I’ve got an XP machine behind a SOHO Netgear router I bought in 2001, with nothing but the XP-SP2 firewall turned on. I’ve had this machine running for acouple of months and no problems so far. 2005-05-25 4:32 pm Anonymous Maybe they think they can write good software, maybe they think they can write secure software, but they most certainly are as bad at math as the neighbor’s sleeping dog. Anyway. Thing is, quite a lot of people can be fooled by such marketing crap, just think how the 99% of tv ads look like and are about. These things seem to work, so they use them. No matter if we laugh at it, as long as the cash flows for them. My adive to anyone, at whichever level of computer literacy: _never_ trust _any_ company or software who tells you in numbers how more secure they are. If it looks like sh*t and smells like sh*t than it’s almost always just sh*t. If it isn’t, you still don’t want any of it, beacuse it looks and smells like sh*t 2005-05-25 5:59 pm Anonymous As I said before, get a SOHO firewall/router … they can be had for about $30-$40. That will solve the problem immediately of getting nailed before you install all the patches. This is the absolute best solution because it offers an extra layer of protection before anything even gets to the computer, and works great with any OS, not just Windows. But this is beside the point. its adding an extra layer of security between the internet and computer. It doesnt say anything about how secure Windows is. I usually use a SoHo router to connect to the internet. Its easier. Will work with anything from Windows to AmigaOS as long as it supports ethernet. (Neither of which I would be prepared to connect to the internet directly, Saying that I wouldnt usually be prepared to connect a Linux box directly to the internet either.) The router is a good idea, in general for normal users, and a lot ISPs tend to supply these nowadays. (I was pleasantly surprised that a friend of mine who has signed up to BT actually got a proper internet router rather than the Speedtouch thing i was expecting) Failing that, there’s a technique called slipstreaming – just Google for a program called ‘Autostreamer’. Another thing you can do is to install a firewall program like Sygate before hitting the Internet. Slipstreaming: Never come across that before. Interesting. However that fails the “average user” test. Software firewall: Yes thats an option. However as with the first option, its just adding something extra to the system to gloss over holes in the OS. I paid 160GBP for my copy of Windows XP. Now i have to spend an extra 30 GBP or so before i can safely connect it to the internet? sounds fishy to me. Again, that fails the “Average user” test. I’ve got an XP machine behind a SOHO Netgear router I bought in 2001, with nothing but the XP-SP2 firewall turned on. I’ve had this machine running for acouple of months and no problems so far. As do i (Except my router is a Binatone) However, there is precisely one Windows machine connected to my network, and i know user involved (Ie, me) is relatively trustworthy and rarely uses it on the internet anyway. A router will filter most automated attacks (Unless you have set up PAT up in a very silly way), but again this is moving at least some of the issue of security away from Windows. 2005-05-25 7:15 pm Anonymous I installed SP2 hearing all the fanfare about how great it is. Next to noodles, this is the next best thing on earth .. yada yada yada… installed it and browsed around happily with IE, played some trailers/movies in Win media player…. In about 20mins, the whole machine was freakin’ slow… Now, I did this above experiment with a naked PC to see Win SP2 reliability/protection etc…. and guess what — my pc was infected with several worms/trojans. And viruses. I used MS Antispyware beta — this is a decent product and cleant it out, installed zoneAlarm to keep it safe and used trendmicro antivirus and voila !! No more infections, no more worries. Bottomline — SP2 on its own is not enough. You need the following. Period. 1. Firewall ( ZoneAlarm ) 2. Antivirus ( TrendMicro ) 3. Antispyware ( Spybot or MS Antispyware ) and *only* then you’re on your way. And btw, this has nothing to do with SP2 being great. Its because SP2 is another shoddy thing on a shoddy OS. 2005-05-25 11:01 pm Anonymous Look I’ll explain this so most of the readers here can understand. Install Windows XP (whatever version). Turn ON the firewall if it’s not already on. Connect to the internet. YOUR COMPUTER CANNOT BE SEEN ON THE INTERNET NOW UNLESS YOU INITIATE A CONNECTION WITH AN INTERNET SERVER YOURSELF. Try this yourself. Install Windows. Turn on the firewall. Try to ping this machine from another PC. You can’t. Try to do anything from your machine to the new one. You can’t. If you can’t why do you think a virus can. Has it got some mystical software that isn’t available to IT people. So all the geniuses that say they’ve installed Windows and gotten infected immediately are either lying or incapable of turning on the firewall or are going to websites or reading emails before patching and installing their viruschecker. Yes. SP2s firewall breaks stuff. ALL FIREWALLS DO. You have to edit rules or update your old crappy software. I agree SP2 is not enough. A virus checker provides peace of mind. A spyware checker also provides peace of mind. But I’ve been running Windows for years and haven’t been infected. I keep reading these rants by people who shouldn’t be allowed operate computers. Just move to linux and give the rest of us a break. Maybe my DSL link (where I use Kazaalite, IRC, Web and Limewire + my Web and FTP servers without about 15GB traffic per month) is a special one, unaffected by the normal laws of TCP/IP. 2005-05-26 6:37 am Anonymous >I agree SP2 is not enough. A virus checker provides peace of >mind. A spyware checker also provides peace of mind. But >I’ve been running Windows for years and haven’t been >infected. With your logic…. If have been driving 250 on the highway for about 20 years now and i did not have had any accident. So driving 250 on the highway is safe! The reality is that about 99,99999% of all infected computers are Windows computers, 99,99999% of all spyware infected computers are windows computers and 99,99999% of all crashing computers are windows computers. Sure there are exeptions and sure a user can do lots of things to prevent it but MS is aming at the Joe user and those are not the ones that can secure their system. 2005-05-26 8:04 am Anonymous Look I’ll explain this so most of the readers here can understand. Install Windows XP (whatever version). Turn ON the firewall if it’s not already on. Connect to the internet. YOUR COMPUTER CANNOT BE SEEN ON THE INTERNET NOW UNLESS YOU INITIATE A CONNECTION WITH AN INTERNET SERVER YOURSELF. [/i] no, let me. How do you get the XP SP2 firewall? oh that would be by… Oh yeah, connecting to the internet for an hour (If your lucky) The fact is, if you cant currently get XPSP2 other than by exposing yourself. If you expose yourself you run the significant risk of getting infected unless you are behind a firewall. There are ways around this, however expecting the general user population to know about is more than a little optimistic. Oh and BTW, of course you can be seen on the internet. Just most ports dont respond. Try PINGing your home machine and see if it gets blocked? It takes about an hour to download all the patches for MS windows using Windows update (The Windows update facility the majority of users are using if they bother at all) and during that time, the machine is wide open. Try this yourself. Install Windows. Turn on the firewall. Try to ping this machine from another PC. You can’t. Try to do anything from your machine to the new one. You can’t. If you can’t why do you think a virus can. Has it got some mystical software that isn’t available to IT people. Well as i installed XP last night to prove an earier post to my own satisfaction, i can tell you pretty catagorically that Windows doesnt come with a firewall. You need to Install SP2 before MS were embarrased anough by their pathetic performance to include one as standard. As for Viruses, You are incorrect. Viruses can do rather a lot that i cant do. (Or wouldnt do). I cant easilly cause Buffer overflows on certain ports, i cant repeatedly hammer the TCP stack to cause Denial of service attacks (Which XPSP2 wont prevent BTW) So here we are in our Chicken and egg situation. I have the software and the hardware to prevent infection during this vulnerable period, but most users dont. They can download the software, but to do this, they will still be connected to the internet insecurely for the duration. Also, if you buy a VC at a shop, it still needs to be updated before it will detect any recent threats. Personally my way of dealing with it is to relagate Windows XP to a machine dedicated to Mechwarrior and Medieval total war, a use for windows XP is more than suited to. So all the geniuses that say they’ve installed Windows and gotten infected immediately are either lying or incapable of turning on the firewall or are going to websites or reading emails before patching and installing their viruschecker. It is a matter of time before someone figures a way around the XP firewall if they havent done already. Remember the pathetic excuse for a firewall in SP1? Well this new one is better, but by how much remains to be proven. 2005-05-26 1:56 pm Anonymous I used to use an XP disk with SP1 slipstreamed and firewall on by default. Now I use XP with SP2 slipstreamed and firewall on by default. I’m sure many people with a Dell or HP or whatnot have a system restore disk that includes XP with SP1 or SP2 included, as I have been recieving these disks with our new work computers for over a year now. That pretty much solves any problems right out of the box. 2005-05-26 2:00 pm Anonymous If you are smart enough you will realize that Windows XP without service packs too has a firewall. Right click the properties of the internet connection. Go to Advanced and activate Windows XP Internet Connection firewall and configure/tweak it further (ie if you want to). It doesnt allow any hacker/program to ping to your computer and detect open ports. Well after downloading the Service pack 2 you can safely download another free firewall as a substitute if you really want to. Since Windows firewall is closely bound with the system it only allows computers which recieve queries from your PC to send you data thus keeping you safe. Along with a user friendly firewall such as Zonealarm/Sygate the Windows irewall can make your computer very secure. If you have an NTFS formatted HDD you can assign file permissions as in linux so you can make certain important files in the Windows dir secure and log on as a Power User or make a customised user type with specific user rights. And on the final note: STOP feeding FUD to the readers. 2005-05-26 2:05 pm Anonymous I think that even the original XP release contained the ICF (Internet Connection Firewall), so even enabling that should allow one to be safe long enough to download updates. You don’t need SP1 or SP2 to have the firewall, so just turn the damn thing on before you connect to the internet to D/L the updates. 2005-05-26 4:18 pm Anonymous Try running a linux box with root priveleges and without a firewall and you will see what not happens to your OS. Perhaps some smart guy might code a virus that formats your HDD in the next restart. Well its whats happening There are 500 million users of Windows who dont care to do this and run as an administrator and not a power user (not normal user this type can run legacy apps) and you say MS is responsible. Stop feeding FUD. 2005-05-26 4:30 pm Anonymous Expose a linux box to the internet with a firewall but root privelges and a Windows box with SP 2 and Administrator. Send 15 of the worst know viruses/scripts/malware on each for the type of OS and you will notice that the 15 malicious programs/scripts will do more harm on a linux box. How?? Well you can recompile the kernel in linux to some unknown type. You can edit the config of X11 or alternatively you can edit the script to reformat your HDD at thee boot level. In Windows You CANT recompile the kernel. You CANT format the HDD without confirmation. You CANT edit the hidden files unless you enable it in Folder options. So root on linux is more dangerous than Administrator on Windows for the 500 million (somewhat dumb/ignorant) PC users. Tell me is a buffer overflow more harmful than a kernel recompile script without confirmation. 2005-05-26 4:45 pm Anonymous If buying a firewall or downloading a free firewall or using the inbuilt firewall in windows xp fails the average use test as Anonymous(IP: —.dsl.pipex.com) so does using linux. Mind you Windows is far more easier and productive than linux. 2005-05-26 11:32 pm Anonymous Do you see what I mean? A couple of the posters above shouldn’t be allowed install OSes. I say in my post that a SP2 isn’t enough and that I run a virus checker and spyware checker. Devnull reads it that I don’t run a virus checker and spyware checker. Solution. Don’t install OSes Devnull. I also say to turn on your virus checker if it’s not on. Some genius says how do they install SP2 without it. 1: XP, XP SP1 and XP SP2 come with firewall. If it’s not turned on then turn it on. 2: His machine can be seen on the internet with his firewall turned off. Really? Turn on your firewall Spodula. Try it then. Or don’t install OSes Spodula. By the way. Why do you have to connect to the internet to download SP2 as your first step? It’s been out for nearly a year now. Download it on another PC (do you have a CD burner, if not purchase any of the plethora of mags that have it on their coverdisks) or download it to another partition before you reinstall or for millions of users if your PC is recent just run the XP with SP2 CD you got with the PC if you purchased over the last 8 or 9 months. The other posters actually know something about the OS. Where were you guys earlier? 2005-05-26 11:41 pm Anonymous I agree with you Sunny. If connecting to the internet with the inbuilt firewall is too hard then linux might be out of their league. At least they would then move to the linux articles and complain about that instead though. 2005-05-27 5:18 am Anonymous Did you even bother to read my post or are you again spreading BS based on your small vision? Where did i state that you do not run a viruscanner of spyware checker, where? 2005-05-27 5:50 am Anonymous I took that driving at 250 on the highway would be like running Windows without a virus checker and spyware checker. I would assume that running Windows with a firewall and virus checker and spyware checker would not have the same risk as driving at 250 on the highway. Obviously you equate that as a really risky setup and I’m due to crash. I’m sorry. Maybe if you say what you mean next time rather than giving crap analogies people will understand you. I should have just taken your post for what it is. My logic does not say I was travelling at 250. More like 60. So it’s possible I can crash but it’s not likely. Do you drive your car at 60? Would you stop because there was a chance you may crash? Anyway this is getting stupid(er) now so I’ll stop. By the way. If 99.99999% of computer are Windows and 99.99999% of computers that crash are Windows you are saying that .00001 of computers are not Windows and .00001 of crashing computers are not Windows so Windows crashes at exactly the same rate as non Windows computers. So it’s as stable as other OSes? I don’t agree with that statement but don’t just pluck numbers out of the air. You tend to exaggerate. 2005-05-27 10:25 am Anonymous >By the way. If 99.99999% of computer are Windows and >99.99999% of computers that crash are Windows you are >saying that.00001 of computers are not Windows and .00001 >of crashing computers are not Windows so Windows crashes >at exactly the same rate as non Windows computers. Are you sure you did read my posts correct, it looks like you presume a lot of things. I NEVER have said that 99.9999 of computer are running Windows, never. I you continue to interpetet my post uncorrect its very hard to have a “normal” conversation. >So it’s as stable as other OSes? If you count DOS as other OS you are right 2005-05-30 5:33 am Anonymous Can you imagine a condom ad: you’ll be 15 times less likely to catch AIDS!