McAfee Faulty AV Update & Virtualization
The McAfee Faulty AV Update happened a week or two ago and is no longer news. But just today though, McAffee announced that it’s offering compensations:
Although its impact isn’t huge in the sense that we’re not losing data and the problem is fix-able, my company suffered a lot of desktop downtime. It took us about 2 days to get all the Windows desktops fixed. As all of our graphics artists use Linux for their work, most of the people impacted were only business users or those developing software on Windows. And that’s a blessing. [Read on for what I have to say about virtualization]
The vulnerability of Windows XP is unacceptable given our options these days. Even though this problem has nothing to do with Windows XP itself, the fact that it needed an anti-virus software in the first place is to blame. Windows 7 is out. And I haven’t even tried it. But I doubt if it’ll make much difference. The anti-virus for Windows is a market to stay…
But this got me thinking about what to do to make my home computing life easier. I already got a lot of stuff to do at work, and I can’t afford to spend too much time fixing my home computers(3+ of them). Even with anti-virus protection, I’ve still got infected by viruses before. Ideally, once it’s all set up, I only “play” and I don’t fix(much).
Virtualization comes to mind. Again, nothing new. But I’m surprised recently by Sun Virtualbox and how easy it is to use. I had some problems with VMware and Verizon’s dial-up software conflicting each other. So I had to try Sun Virtualbox. After trying it for 2 weeks, I found it very easier to use compared to VMware Player. With its “Guest Additions” installed, I don’t have to switch between the host and guest OS by pressing a key. This means you can click inside and outside of the VM window w/o interruptions. I can maximize the VM window and the VM desktop automatically maximizes its resolution. I’m sure VMware can do the same thing, but again Sun Virtualbox seems easier to get it to do this.
When I have enough spare time at home, my dream configuration would be one single computer with multiple screens, running the latest version of Fedora as a base OS. Its storage would be raid protected. Smaller critical files can be put on cloud storage like Dropbox. Then on top of this base OS, I will run Windows XP~7 and any other Linux OS I wanna experiment with. Mac users really get the best out of this. Sun Virtualbox has a version for Mac OSX. So you get the best desktop environment out there and you’re able to run mostly any OS on top of it.
One key thing to do is to make snapshots of these “guest” OS VMs. Virtualbox has a command that can take a snapshot:
vboxmanage snapshot (additional parameters needed)
I will set up a job that’ll periodically make snapshots, so that if the VM got infected by virus, I can rollback to any snapshot taken before then. With this, we should also have a job that’ll purge old snapshots. Certain snapshots should be made permanent. This probably has to be done through naming of the snapshots and purposely skipping these snapshots in the purge script. Also new installations of software or change of configuration of the guest OS should be preceded by a manual snapshot. It may also be a good thing to make it automatically make a snapshot upon guest OS startup and shutdown. That might be tougher to do, but with all these things implemented, I should be able to do away with most problems inherent with Windows.
Then the world would be truly free….