High Anxiety

Yesterday was a very challenging day for me. It involved winblowze 10 which is not a common thing for me to touch. Very uncommon, in fact, since I never use it myself.

It all started with a concerted, multi-pronged attack against a non-profit for which I do some volunteer work. It first gained our notice when the office manager thwarted an attempt to drain our bank account with a wire transfer, and an attempt to change the password on our financial account along with an email bomb designed to hide emails indicating that attempts had been made to do so. It then moved on to attacks against members of the institution requesting money for the director in the form of Google play gift cards.

Fortunately, the treasurer had put a hold on the account before funds went missing. So that was all good. I got involved with the mail bomb and soon discovered the emails from our financial institution.

So the bottom line is that, to improve security, we are upgrading some winblowze systems at the office to Linux. Don’t ask me why we had that OS on our systems because that is a very long story – more than I want to get into here.

Unfortunately we still have one bit of software that requires Windows. So my plan was to use VirtualBox and run w10 in a VM. I installed Linux and VirtualBox on a replacement computer and created the virtual machine. It was then time to install Win10.

Here are the problems with the closed and proprietary operating system from Redmond in this situation.

Privacy – not!

To do a normal installation with the VM – or any host – connected to the Internet, there is now no option to create local user accounts. M$ wants all your information including name and date of birth. I meant, seriously? What does this have to do with running a computer?!

Oh, wait. M$ just wants to force you into doing everything while connected to their servers. You have just lost every bit of on-line privacy you might have had left. All of your personal business is now available to M$, even the stuff you know enough not to put up on social media.

The circumvention

So after hours of internet searches I found what might have been a circumvention. Unfortunately M$ has closed that little loophole – no point in even telling what it is because it no longer works.

After even more internetting, I found another alternative. Don’t install Win10 while connected to the internet. It has to assume, at least for the moment, that you really do need a local accounts and can connect to the internet later, at which time they can suck up your data. Of course the installation forces you through multiple screens on which they first request you to connect to the internet, and then to try and determine whether you might be able to connect later.

I finally arrived a a screen that asked for my name and some other personal information, but not quite as much as the on-line account creation. Then – horrors – it asked me to choose three security questions and provide answers. After providing these – using easy to remember but bogus answers – I was ready to go. So I thought.

After waiting forever through the initial setup I was able to get to a point where I could create more accounts. Unfortunately I had reconnected to the internet and was again forced to create a M$ on-line account. So once again I disconnected from the internet and was barely able to add the other accounts I needed.

Needless to say, it was a long and frustrating day for me.

The real solution

Linux is the real solution to this invasion of your privacy that you have to pay for yourself.

First, Linux is free of charge and free to share with friends and family. Updates can be downloaded and installed without having to provide any personal data or any information about your computer. None. No way. Never.

Linux requires no on-line sign-ups or accounts. All of your accounts are maintained entirely on your computer where they are well protected by the uncompromising security of Linux. No one can get in unless you want them to. And you are free to create on-line accounts such as for the Firefox web browser – but only if you choose to do so. You retain complete control.

You can also create as many login accounts as you want. With no limitations of any kind. No tricks are required to do so.

Plus, Linux can do everything that other OS does and so much more while remaining free as in beer and free as in speech.

Did I mention that I hate Windows?