How hard could it be to make computers stable?

Spam is out of control. A huge portion of the internet traffic and processing power of your computer are used on shit that you dont need, don’t want, and would be better off without. It is designed to install automatically while you arent aware of it, and in some cases arent even at a web site at all.

How fucking hard could it be to design a computer that wont do anything that you dont tell it to?? Here’s an example.

When “” tries to copy files to your computer, a dialogue box pops up. “Allow to copy files? Yes/Fuck no”

Visiting websites wouldnt be a problem. Make one folder that all information from webpages is copied into. If anything in that folder tries to write anything anywhere else, the box pops up asking if you really want it to. There could even be a nifty little “auto say NO to all stupid bullshit” feature so that you dont even have to worry about manually clicking it.

It seems like something the great minds at microsoft could create in 15 minutes. Why the hell haven’t they? I’d rather click “yes” 15 times a day to allow legitimate stuff to be written to my hard drive than deal with the bullshit that happens now.

Whenever you install a program, make a new dialogue box pop up to confirm installation of every executable file it wants to install. That way aol cant sneak in that fucking wildtangent that regularly accesses the internet and autoamatically downloads bullshit onto my computer without me knowing about it.

Why the FUCK are there .exe files on my computer that I never put there? Jesus, it seems like this is the simplest fucking problem of all to fix. All i want is for a simple confirmation request whenever something wants to write “xyz.hahaha.omfgl0ser.exe” to my fucking hard drive! DO NOT LET .EXE FILES BE WRITTEN TO MY HARD DRIVE WITHOUT CHECKING WITH ME FIRST!

Okay, now someone who actually knows what they’re talking about can come around and tell me why this will never work.

I have no doubt it would work, you can’t tell me that a mainframe, or high end mail server/web server/transaction server gets fouled up by this crap. They’re designed not to.

OTOH, consumer PC operating systems are designed to have as many bells and whistles as possible, which is apparently what the public wants. Microsoft goes ahead and writes code to make things easier on the public rather than making it harder for hackers. A lot of the programming goes into making things work together, which opens you up for attack from outside.

I still think it is pathetic that MS can’t seem to keep their security tight, I anticipate it will lead to their eventual downfall, if they don’t get it straight. Having a new “critical” patch come online every 2 weeks is just ridiculous.

They have designed software for this. It’s a firewall :rolleyes:

They don’t design stuff like this because 80% of the time the stuff’s legit… and it’s fucking annoying. It’d be like having to log into the Straight Dope to view every page just in case it’s not you anymore.

Well it would be quite easy… we just would’t code it at all. See, that would be up to you, since YOU want to make all the choices.

I’ve only ever had one problem with XP, and that was my entire fault.

trying my damndest not to gloat here

People aren’t very security-minded when it comes to their computers. For fuck’s sake, 70% of people in this survey would give up their computer password for a freakin’ bar of chocolate. As long as this is the case, Microsoft can continue their policy of “we will fix no hole before it is exploited.”

If I may ask, what do you use your computer for, mostly? It might be time to switch operating systems.

Disable ActiveX controls in IE and you’re 90% of the way there.

Or use Mozilla.

They say that the new Windows (codenamed Longhorn) will have a danm good firewall embedded.

To keep stuff from getting installed on W2K or XP just surf with a user account rather than administrator. Or go under security settings in IE and disable file downloads–you can allow them whenever it is something you want to explicity download yourself.

Firewalls don’t always prevent it, either.

I really want to know if there’s a movement trying to get spyware banned or to prevent companies from pulling this shit. The way some of it fucks up one’s computer, it’s almost a virus.

As the others have said, it’s not hard to stop all of this stuff. The problem is that then you stop the stuff you DO want, too. It’s a tradeoff between security and convenience. A huge amount of executable content gets downloaded to your PC while you’re on the net, and much of it is stuff you want. Javascript to make web pages more interactive, flash, java applets, etc. The spammers and hackers mimic this stuff. You can stop them, but then they look for other holes. You can lock your PC right down, but then it’ll be a pain to surf the web.

If you want, and you’re running IE, go to tools/Internet Options/Security, and set your internet security to ‘high’ if it isn’t already. Or, you can use custom settings and disable all active content like ActiveX and various plugins. If you want to see what effect this will have, go to your security settings, set custom security, and set all your permissions to ‘prompt’. Then you’ll see just how much executable content is being sent to your machine, because IE will prompt you every time it encounters some.

M$OFT keeps adding features, many of which compromise security, privacy, or both. You could try the Mozilla browser for a bit more privacy or you could get into tools>internet_tools>privacy and tools>internet_tools>security and disable some of the options. If you check the “prompt” box, the thing will come back and prompt you when it receives one of the cookies, javascripts, whatever. This will help you get a handle on what legitimate sites are sending you.
So much for the browser. The operating system and some of the bundled applications are another matter. Whenever MSOFT creates a new ap there are about a million script-kiddies trying to find holes in it and they do. Linux is a lot better but tougher to operate and install. Which way do you want to go?



Stop running a Microsoft OS. Seriously.

a) The majority of people out there use a Microsoft OS. People who are tired of us Mac folks and Linux folks ragging on Windows for being so vulnerable to malicious exploits like to say that the only reason MacOS and Linux are less rife with viruses and other malware is because of the market share. They’re wrong about it being the only reason, but it’s a big factor. Moral: don’t run the most commonly used operating system. And for now, that’s Microsoft Windows.

b) The Microsoft OS has for some time been designed to do lots of things automatically, seamlessly. This eliminates the need for the end user to understand how to do those things manually and makes the computer seem “simpler”, at least until and unless you want to do something your way instead of Microsoft’s way. But it also means that on a really massive scale the OS is actually designed to do things without asking your permission first, which makes it easy to hack and write malware for. And Microsoft still isn’t fixing it, it just patches against specific exploits. Moral: *** don’t run an operating system that is designed to think it, not you, should be in control of what happens on your computer.*** In the spirit of fair disclosure, I will acknowledge that Apple has fallen into this trap with some dangerously automated protocols that could be exploited, and which Apple hasn’t fixed yet. But so far, no one has exploited this weakness, see (a) above.

c) The Microsoft OS is proprietary, meaning that the source code for its architecture is kept classified as an industry secret. Linux and the Darwin foundation of MacOS X are both open source. This means that zillions of geeks help look for possible security holes in Linux and Darwin code, while Microsoft OS code is only examined by MS employees and by people who have illicit copies they aren’t supposed to have and who are probably up to no good. Microsoft has tried to spin this as meaning that open source operating systems are more vulnerable because crackers can just download the source code and look for opportunities, but Linux servers are common as web servers and yet simply don’t get hacked, while Microsoft servers do. Open source code is more secure because the defense efforts benefit more from everyone having access to how it works than the malicious opportunists do. Moral: don’t use a proprietary operating system if an open source OS will suffice. (Apple’s GUI tends to pass its execution requests back to Darwin which demands authentication and respects privileges in the conventional Unix fashion, so it inherits most of the benefits of a pure open source OS).

In certain respects it’s easy to do. Just because such a computer doesn’t exist doesn’t mean it isn’t possible.

Some random thoughts:

[li]Does “wont do anything you dont tell it to” equivalent to “ask me for confirmation before it does anything”? So, I’m on the Internet and I ask to download a JPG of Alanis Morrisette in a bikini. My perfect computer asks me if I want to download it. I say yes. It asks me if I want to save it to disk. I say yes. It asks me where to download it to. I give a path. It asks me if this is the current path. I say yes. It asks me if I want to save the file to that path. I say yes. It asks me if I want to write to my hard disk. I throw the computer out the window in frustration.[/li][li]My perfect computer’s OS was written last year. This year a brand new ultra-fast way to communicate with other computers comes out. However, I can’t use this new way because the OS writers haven’t finished upgrading the OS to work with the new way. And I am NOT talking about MS! Do you think Linux writes itself?! So, my perfect computer is perfect, but it’s always left back about a half grade.[/li][li]My car starts with a key. ANCIENT technology. Why isn’t the damn thing secured with a public key/certificate and iris reader? Well, partially history; them things didn’t exist in Henry Ford’s day. And the first cars didn’t have keys because we all assumed that people didn’t go around stealing other people’s stuff. I mean after all, there ain’t no key for a horse! [/li][li]Mac and Linux are just as insecure as MS. IMHO, the only difference is that people are not (yet) writing worms/Trojans/viruses/whatever for Linux and Mac OS. More fun to go “where the money is.”[/li][li]I can easily write you a computer program that has NO bugs and NO security flaws. But, you can’t browse the Internet with “Hello, World!”! I can write you a more sophisticated program that only has a few minor bugs and no security flaws. But, you STILL can’t browse the internet with a command-line RPN calculator. Etc. By the time I get to a web browser, I’m talking person-years of effort. Bound to be some innocent mistakes and corner cases. Then start piling on all the new technology.[/li][li]You may say that computers are stupid, or MS is sneaky, or Windows is evil. Well, that may be, but it wasn’t computers that said that Iraq was full of WMDs! It wasn’t MS that stood up and said it in front of the entire UN. It wasn’t Windows that ruled over an entire country like it was his personal torture chamber! You wanna worry about something, worry about humans.[/li][/ul]


Though I tend to attempt to push people in the direction of a KDE-oriented Linux distro rather than Apple. Though I’ve got some personal issues with Apple, the primary reason is that, IME, long time Windows users tend to be more comfortable with KDE than OS X (or Gnome, for that matter.)

It’s also easier to hand them a Knoppix CD or a handful of Suse CDs than to convince them to go out and buy a new computer.

Suse 9.1, btw, kicks some ass on my cheap beast of a notebook. There were a couple of quirks with X, but they were of the annoying dialog variety rather than the “I can’t see anything on my screen” variety, and took all of two minutes to fix.

To be safe in the mean time, turn your computer off until 2006.

I think this wins the award for “Most Completely Random and Inappropriate Thread for a Political Snipe”


Not really. Your humble opinion doesn’t really jibe with the facts.

Having looked at some of the projected system requirements for Longhorn, I’d expect even a top-of-the-line machine these days to shit itself on the first install disc.

I must disagree here. First of all, to really cause damage a computer system, you typically have to be running in root. Now, OSX and most Linux distros strongly discourage you from running in root. If you did get a virus in a Linux system, the worst it could do(most likely) is wipe out your home directory. But Windows is almost always running in the root(administrator mode), where getting a virus can wipe out the entire machine. Other design choices in OSX and Linux make them inherently more secure than Windows.

Secondly, for a real world example of open source programs being more secure than closed source, with both having the similar market share, Apache webservers(typically running on BSD or Linux) out number Microsoft IIS servers about 3 to 1. Yet Microsoft webservers are exploited much more often than Apache ones.

AHunter3, that is the most reasonable post I’ve ever read from a Mac user. Thank you for not being a tool and frothing at the mouth about it. And you did address the big point, that being that the reason that Apples aren’t attacked so much is because they’re uncommon. However, I think you know that that day will inevitably come, and then what will we go to?

Ultimately, as long as you leave the door open someone will try to come in, and some will be more successful than others. Whattayagonnado?

Well, we’re hoping that Apple will revamp the URL-based part of its application-launching services so as to fix the MacOS X gaping hole before someone writes malware that exploits it in a big way. More information below on this. So far, it’s a security risk but there are no worms or viruses that take advantage of it.

Aside from that subtopic, the OS is in pretty good shape, and there are still no MacOS X viruses, period, and no other form of malware that can spread itself or attack your Mac through any means other than you double-clicking on it and launching it and allowing it to attach your own personal computer. The “it” in this case is a single exploit, essentially a script that erases your home directory that has been misnamed as an advance demo copy of Office 2004 for MacOS X. And that, so far, is the sum total of all MacOS X malware.

I agree with you, more of the damn stuff is likely to come.

The MacOS X security hole: the modern Mac has a hierarchy of methods of deciding what application to use to open a document when you double-click a document. If the file has a Creator Code, the application with the corresponding Creator Code will be used. If the file has no Creator Code but has a file extension, the application that is affiliated on the OS level with that extension will be used. But overriding these two is a scheme in which individual document files can be bound to any application on a file by file basis, and apparently, if I understand correctly, the underlying protocol by which this binding occurs is identical to the registration of URL types – you know, whereby the OS knows that “ftp://” is a type of URL that should be passed to an application that has been blessed as the ftp-handler, and “mailto:” is a different URL type that should be passed to the designated mailto-handler, and so on. So the OS is set up to allow the introduction of new URL types on a regular basis, and this is apparently very exploitable because it does not currently require user acknowledgement. This security hole is still present as of MacOS 10.3.4.

There is a fix called “Paranoid Android”, available from I have to admit I don’t use it, counting (perhaps foolishly) on the likelihood of me hearing about any exploits before I run across them in person.

Ya. Sure. Within 3 days of gracing my computer room a few years back, my shiny new eMac emitted a puff of magic smoke and died. Granted, it was very ‘stable’ after that.