Keeping Net users safe the Linux way (31 Jan, 2019)

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Keeping Net users safe the Linux way (31 Jan, 2019)

Postby aardvark_admin » Thu Jan 31, 2019 5:35 am

This column is archived at: https://aardvark.co.nz/daily/2019/0131.shtml

Can Linux immunise the gullible and tech-neophite against the attentions of these evil tech-support scammers?

Is there any good reason not to convert all the would-be "victims" to Linux and potentially save them from a lot of heart-ache and financial penalty?

What (if any) are the downsides of shifting these people away from Windows?

Which distro would *you* recommend for such people?
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Re: Keeping Net users safe the Linux way (31 Jan, 2019)

Postby hagfish » Thu Jan 31, 2019 8:09 am

My mother in law got about five years of use from an Ubuntu PC I built for her for about 10 years ago. I ran the 'Long Term Support' releases, and updated them a couple of times each year. It was completely trouble-free, other than the crappy second-hand printers she kept trying to get running o_o

That was back during the era of 'Linux on the Desktop'. About five years ago she got a Macbook Air. She asked me to help her choose among cheapie Windows laptops (any of which would have been landfill by now) but I talked her into the Mac, because guess-who would have to support it? :D She uses it every day, loves it, and it's still mint. I run the updates twice a year. Flawless victory.

The father in law got an iPad and a Kindle about five years ago, and never looked back. My parents are the same: MacBook Pro and iPad. Neither couple has ever had a Windows PC in the house.

These days, if I had to recommend a 'computer' it would probably be an iPad. If a 'proper' keyboard is essential, then a (nice) Chromebook or an old, refurbished MacBook Pro. I'm not impressed at all with the current crop of portable Macs.

The only people I know who use Ye Olde Desketoppe PCs are (fellow) gamers. I'm out of touch with modern Linux distros (I tapped out circa 'Raring Ringtail') but it would probably be Ubuntu, and it would run any game worth its salt. I've found that games that have only Windows binaries are not usually of any interest to me. Support for Mac/Linux is like a secret handshake - it implies that the developers know what they are doing.

For a while, Linux downsides included no iTunes, no XNA or DirectX (Windows-only frameworks used by (crappy) games), no Flash, - these problems have largely gone away. As long as it will run a modern browser, we're off to the races.
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Re: Keeping Net users safe the Linux way (31 Jan, 2019)

Postby goosemoose » Thu Jan 31, 2019 9:18 am

Yep, got the olds running Linux. Saves a few issues. Although I have set others up with Linux who still fall for scams. I have told them don't fall for emails from banks etc. Mind you companies make life difficult by also sending bills via email so sometimes they don't get paid as they get ignored as spam. I've told them that if that ever happens then blast the company for spamming their email with promotions and bills whilst charging exorbitant rates for paper bills, that do stop spam. Then change to a new supplier.
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Re: Keeping Net users safe the Linux way (31 Jan, 2019)

Postby par_annoyed » Thu Jan 31, 2019 10:19 am

I recommend it to anyone who will listen. Many people are afraid it will mess up their stuff however, and telling them about 'dual boot' and suchlike makes their eyes glaze over..... Ah well.....
I actually like the 'less fussy' desktops, so I personally use Xubuntu, as I like the XFCE desktop for its simplicity. The great thing though is that there is a Linux distribution for just about everybody, whatever their preferences may be. Several of my nephews and nieces have now tried it out, with some success I have to say - pleased about that...

And Linux just runs and runs and runs, and even handles hardware faults in many cases ! (I had a motherboard problem with my new PC, you could STILL contact it via SSH, even though the graphics had completely locked up !! - there's one in the eye for Windoze). I thought it was ridiculous that I had to accept Windoze being reloaded on it for warranty return, even though I told them clearly what had failed.....
If you really do need Win for some stuff (I do sometimes) then there's always VirtualBox. Its overhead isn't that bad (may be it is for heavy graphics processing, but I don't need that).

We switched the SPAM filters OFF. Then you get everything, but it works for us. the spam and phishing ones are pretty obvious - just hover over the links....

So I'll keep recommending Linux (and Firefox) to everyone.

If it gets too popular, perhaps the hackers will start attacking it, but from its web server reputation, it's still pretty damn good.
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Re: Keeping Net users safe the Linux way (31 Jan, 2019)

Postby par_annoyed » Thu Jan 31, 2019 10:25 am

2 - I had fun with a scammer ringing up - played very dumb, and kept saying stuff like "errr...what ?" I almost gave him my IP address to see if he realised it was Linux, but decided that would give it away. He tried to get me to go to a web page, and he gave up before I finished messing with him (about 15 minutes). Someone rang the following day and I just said "I've got Linux sunshine, so F**K OFF!!" at the top of my voice. Great therapy for when you are feeling grumpy !! I've not had a call since then - perhaps they do have their own blacklist ?
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Re: Keeping Net users safe the Linux way (31 Jan, 2019)

Postby Perry » Thu Jan 31, 2019 10:47 am

I wonder what this is doing to hasten the demise of the PSTN?

One person contacted me recently and said they'd given up their landline as it was mostly used by scammers and telemarketers.
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Re: Keeping Net users safe the Linux way (31 Jan, 2019)

Postby Stevesub1 » Thu Jan 31, 2019 10:53 am

I used to have Linux Mint on my laptop and was quite happy with it BUT there weere issues that I could not fix. One was my couple of years old printer but there were other that I cannot remember now. I am now back onto Windows and everything works as planned. I do pay for Bitdefender for all my devices and that seems to keep the nasties away.

I had one Indian call several years ago when I was in OZ and strung him a long for about 10 mins before he hung up, my wife got one on her OZ phone the other day and told him to pee off.

HP support was another scam that I nearly got sucked into when my laptop was giving problems until I found the correct HP support site. They gave me on site support at home and put in a new motherboard and RAM on an out of warranty business HP laptop for free. I notice that the scam site has now disappeared after I told and showed the HP support guy about it.
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Re: Keeping Net users safe the Linux way (31 Jan, 2019)

Postby par_annoyed » Thu Jan 31, 2019 11:14 am

I guess that backwards compatibility with older/rarer devices is probably Linux's weakest area. I do remember when on dialup before BB, I couldn't get the Linux of the day to talk to my modem card, despite many,many tries.
That card had a proprietary Windows driver (of course!!). Although I do reckon that it probably wouldn't work on Windows 10 today either....

And to be fair, there is a delay with some spanking new stuff too, as Linux drivers have to be written by someone....

So yeah, it's not all perfect.
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Re: Keeping Net users safe the Linux way (31 Jan, 2019)

Postby superglue » Thu Jan 31, 2019 12:15 pm

Yep I've "converted" a number of folk onto Linux with great success, although I've ended up the default support guru, I'd rather that than support them with windows any day.
Of course Linux has improved markedly in recent years, even printer and scanner support is so much better now., it's now a breeze to install and it all works out the the box. My personal distribution preference is openSUSE and everyone I've loaded it for loves it once they get the hang of it.
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Re: Keeping Net users safe the Linux way (31 Jan, 2019)

Postby Muscular Jam » Thu Jan 31, 2019 2:20 pm

After my parents-in-law fell for this scam and had their bank account cleaned out and their home folder wiped I switched them over to linux mint and they are very happy with it.
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