Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Recently I got a call from an IT security person at my work. He told me that my computer has a virus and it has been keeping back during the past weeks.

Cut the story short. What I realized is that I have installed DropBox at work long time ago. A few weeks ago I started to share a folder with my friend in another country when I communicated with him over the internet on my Mac. I have the DropBox installed on my Mac as well. My friend is using Windows. What he tried was to put a doc file in a DropBox folder in his computer and set me to share the folder. The problem is that his doc file has a virus infected. The next day when I went to work. The DropBox synced the file to my work computer which is Windows.

After I uninstalled my DrogBox at my work computer, the virus is gone. A thorough scan was executed on my computer and nothing was found.

The interesting thing is that my Mac have never been affected by the virus. Of course, I don't have any anti-virus application installed and I could not check it. However, with Apple's OS security mechanism, I don't think it is possible to get virus by using word doc files. There is no way to get anything executable.

This is an excellent example to explain the security difference between the Apple computer and the Windows based PC.

In addition to Apple great security guard, I have followed a recommended advice to set up normal user accounts for my family members. Whoever logs in the Mac will have limit privilege to access OS. This does not affect my family member to use my Mac computer. My account has administrative right and I do all the installation work of applications on the Mac.

Another rule is that I only install applications after a full review or applications from Apple or trusted corporations. I put all the none-Apple applications in MyApplication folder and create alias for other accounts in their dock or desktop. Whenever I don't like some applications or for any security reasons I realize later, I simple delete the application.

DropBox is a nice web tool to share files. However, you can imagine how easy you can get infected with virus with shared files from friends who uses Windows. There are many great Cloud applications emerging, but... Just be very careful on the Cloud!

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