Facebook hacked; blame Windows? Over my dead body

Jason Perlow today announces his move away from Windows after his Facebook account was compromised though 'Windows malware'. Good move, or unnecessary move?
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor

Jason Perlow, long-time open source advocate, today announces his move away from Windows after his Facebook account was compromised, causing untold damage to his online and offline safety net.

Fair enough, I can see his logic. But it doesn't warrant the complete mass exodus from the Windows camp just yet.

Don't get me wrong; I respect the man to the highest extent. But he has yet to provide definitive proof that root security issues on his Windows system compromised his Facebook account. Though colleague Ryan Naraine, ZDNet security guru, suggests an infection of a variant of Koobface - a worm which targets Windows machines and attacks users of social networking sites - this could be the issue but no anti-malware scans detected anything of the sort.

He runs multiple machines, some in virtualisation mode, and runs on various machines a combination of Avast! Free, Symantec Antivirus, Spybot Search & Destroy, and even what I consider to be the god of all anti-virus programs - Kaspersky (because let's face it, it's like a software version of the old school KGB; it hunts the virus down and crushes it) yet these yielded no resulting malware.

I've been running Windows 7 since the first release candidate, upgrading as soon as it was released to manufacturing (via university access to MSDNAA). I use Facebook on a daily basis, not only through my desktop but also my laptop, my BlackBerry, other people's machines (which I admit is a bit risky with his potential malware issue) and the university public PC's available.

But I don't have an anti-virus installed. I have a Kaspersky key lying around the office, and maybe install it once every three or four months to give my system a good checking over. But I don't need one. It comes down to a few simple rules:

  • Don't install crap which more often than not results in a compromised system.
  • Don't download torrents; not only will you eventually get caught, but it's a minefield of malware out there.
  • Don't open anything you don't know because again, if you do, it'll open your system up like an iPad launch day.

Suffice to say, each time I scan my system, I'll get a few rogue cookies and at very worst a program which looks "suspicious", but I know full well that it isn't. I am fully aware of the security risks out there but as the only person living in this house of mine, I feel I simply do not require an anti-malware solution.

To set the score straight, I genuinely applaud Perlow's full migration away from the Windows environment wherever possible. Really, I do. Since my 48 hour full immersion in the open-source community, I built new found respect for Windows alternatives. I maintain that it's far easier for a previously-advanced Linux user such as Perlow to fully migrate, and for the Generation Y and students worldwide it isn't so easy with compatibility issues and university network support potential run-in's.

But it's a bold move nonetheless, and though I won't be following suit any time soon, sometimes finding the answer to a hacked Facebook isn't always so black and white. At least I survived his Facebook friend cull though.

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