Letters to Redmond

Letters@Redmondmag.com: July 2006

Politics and IT, eliminating spyware, password security and global warming.

Worthwhile Reading
I've been reading this magazine for about as many years as I've been MS certified ... NT4. Regardless, I've lived through many changes of this magazine and love the adaptations to the current and real issues that face IT everyday. The evolution changes at just the right pace. However (yes, it's not all good), keep Doug's political rants to a non-existent minimum. Yes, I don't think any IT magazine has any place in the political genre. Keep the personal political points out of the facts that we readers need to make reading the magazine worthwhile.

Keep the good stuff coming and stay on task, you'll keep a reader for life.
Brent Smith
Philadelphia

System Diagnostics
Not everyone can do this ["Reader Tips: Do Away with Spyware," March 2006], but when I see an infected system I pull the hard drive out of the machine in question, drop it in a USB 2.0 enclosure and run multiple scans with various tools from an external "clean and protected" machine. This sometimes is enough--if not, at least I can get a clean backup of data. Often times, external scans are enough. Infected files in system restore areas can also be removed this way.

I've found that a system restore gives a false sense of security. I use Norton AV and Lavasoft Ad-Aware for external scans. Once these are done I will re-install the disk and run HouseCall online from Trend Micro. CWShredder--now from Trend Micro--and XoftSpy are also effective at finding spyware that other programs are poor at. Obviously, if network access has been compromised the last steps are academic and a reinstall becomes the best approach. Providing proper protection, backup and imaging strategies should come after an experience like this. Don Heinsen
San Jose, Calif.

Simple Security
As an ex-IT Manager, I feel reasonably qualified to comment on the issues raised here ["9 Perfect Password Pointers," April 2006]. Enforcing regular password changes simply doesn't work.

For instance, if your system will not allow the use of a previous password until the 11th change, users will simply use the same password they always have, with a number at the end (i.e. January1) all the way to January10, then back to January1 again on the 11th change. Banks don't insist we change our ATM card PIN every 30 days, so why should we be expected to change our passwords on a regular basis? This is an education issue, not one of password complexity or change frequency. If users are educated to understand that their various system passwords are as important as the PINs they're given by the bank, your company's data would be a whole lot more secure. For instance, you wouldn't write your ATM PIN on the back of the card, so why write your login password on the reverse of your keyboard? Once this change in culture has been successfully effected, system passwords will become as "secure" as ATM PINs. Simple.
Paul Morgan
London, U.K.

Fools Rush In
Global warming! What global warming? [See the June 1, 2006, Redmond Report newsletter, "Redmond Doesn't Hate the Mac Entirely."] Instead of everyone sitting on their backsides and accepting the crap from the U.N., why don't people look into it for themselves? See what the scientists are saying instead of the people who want to raise our taxes and have more control over us.

There was an interesting statement from a major group of New Zealand scientists released in the last couple of weeks for anyone wanting to take the time to find it. It never made the headlines--I wonder why? Was it because they said that anyone who said they could predict the weather and temperature in 70 years time is a fool? This came from scientists mind you, not the government. Global warming, a load of bull droppings.
John Meredith
New Zealand

About the Author

This page is compiled by the editors of Redmond magazine from your letters. Write to us at letters@redmondmag.com and if your letter is printed in the magazine, you'll be entered into a drawing for a free Redmond T-shirt.

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