Security is a thorny and ever-changing problem. It took Microsoft until Windows XP Service Pack 2 to produce an OS that was even vaguely considered as safe enough for the typical consumer to use. So why is Windows 7 starting to show cracks already? A host of researchers are pointing out flaws that the operating system is susceptible to.
The first of these is a bootkit something that a criminal would have to have physical access to your computer to install. It sneaks in ahead of Windows or potentially other operating systems to install itself. So if you let strangers near your computer or work in an open plan office beware. However the creators of the bootkit point out that most hackers will find easier ways to break into any computer.
Next up is filename security. This is a throwback to older versions of Windows where the hacker provides a file with a changed extension to pretend it is something else (launchme.exe.txt for example). An unsuspecting user launches it and is infected by the payload within the file. Happily this is easily solved by changing a single setting in Windows 7 hopefully Microsoft will do this for the final release to save a lot of potential hassle.
To fix your system open a Windows Explorer folder select Folder options… from the Tools menu. Click on the View tab find the “Hide extensions for known file types” option and untick it. Click Apply and you will now see the file extension at the end of each filename.
If you don’t know your .exe files from your .iwilleatyourpcalive files follow this simple advice
Finally there is the risk of getting a corrupt copy of the system itself. Microsoft has repeatedly warned about installing dubiously-sourced versions of the beta and release candidate. Now it appears criminals are flogging the RC as a final product and adding their own little present in the installer. Remember kids only buy genuine software!