Many of my friends think that I lean towards a “scare them to death” philosophy, when it comes to the Internet. I often get badgered with questions like – “Don’t you ever see anything good about the Internet?” Or, “Don’t you get tired of scaring people with all your talk of the dangers on the Internet?”
Just to be clear – there is no doubt that the Internet can provide a rich educational and cultural experience, at a minimum, but at the same time, it is virtually impossible for Microsoft Windows users not to be exposed to the underbelly of the Internet.
The sad reality is, that most of my friends (as I explain to them), are just like the majority of computer users who are undereducated when it comes to recognizing the dangers, and threats, that the Internet poses to their computers, and to their personal privacy.
Most cyber security vendors will tell you, that a little common sense, a properly configured and updated system, coupled with their antimalware software will keep you safe on the Internet. Don’t believe it.
Cyber crime has undergone a fundamental change this past year. Much of today’s badware is smart enough to probe a system, searching out vulnerabilities in either the operating system or installed applications, with little or no interaction required from the user.
If you’re tired of having to consider whether the antimalware applications running on your system are up to the task of protecting you against cyber crime: identity theft; email scams; system penetration; viruses, spyware; adware; rogue software; web site spoofing; social media scams; erosion of your privacy rights; denial-of-service attack; then you need to start thinking outside the Microsoft Windows box.
I’m not a Microsoft hater – in fact, I love Windows, and I have been on board since Version 1.0. But, there’s no denying, that based on Windows installed base (well over 90% of the PCs in the world operate using some version of Windows), cyber criminals have seized the opportunity such a large market presents.
Current statistics indicate that over 95 percent of viruses, spyware, and other types of malware, are designed and targeted to attack Microsoft Windows. I’m not laying the blame at Microsoft’s door – third party application developers could do much more to ensure their applications are hardened against cyber criminals.
It seems reasonable to make the point then, that if you’re not running Windows while surfing the Net, but instead, you’re running an alternative operating system, you shouldn’t have to unnecessarily worry about malware, viruses, and spyware.
So, is it time that you took yourself out of this cyber crime market? Is it time for you to consider using an alternative operating system, while you interact with the Internet? And, if you are leaning this way – what operating system should suit your needs?
Since having to learn the fundamentals of a new operating system is a legitimate dissuader for most people, when faced with the question of the feasibly of changing to an unknown operating environment, familiarity in terms of the look and feel of the new system is of primary importance.
Ubuntu, an open source operating system, arguably the most popular distribution of Linux, has the look and feel of a Windows installation. I recently installed Ubuntu alongside Windows 7 Ultimate, which allows me to choose which operating system I want at Boot, and I haven’t been on the Internet since in Windows. Windows however, remains important to me since so many of my offline applications are Windows specific.
One fundamental difference you will observe immediately when using Ubuntu is it’s blazing speed.
The following screen captures indicates just how easy it is to install Ubuntu to run alongside your Windows installation. Be sure to choose the right installation from the selection.
The following screen capture shows the Ubuntu install on my C: drive. Installing Ubuntu in this way, is dead simple – no partitioning or any other esoteric steps required.
So what does Ubuntu look like when running? The following screen shots show just some of the possibilities.
Ubuntu installs with all the applications you are ever likely to need, but it doesn’t stop there – there are literally thousands of applications readily available through the built-in Software Center. No more searching the Internet for free applications, and having to download from questionable sites.
I’m not suggesting for a moment, that you replace your current Windows installation – although, you may choose to do so when you experience the power of Ubuntu. Instead, I’m recommending that you interact with the Internet using Ubuntu in order to substantially reduce the risks Windows user have to contend with.
1 GHz x86 processor
1 Gb of system memory (RAM)
15 GB of hard-drive space (although this can be split onto 2 drives, a 5Gb / and a 10Gb /home fairly easily)
Graphics card and monitor capable of 1024 by 768
Either a CD/DVD drive or a USB socket (or both)
Download at: Ubuntu
Note: A follow-up full review of Ubuntu is in the works, and should be posted here in the next week, or so.
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