More from: virus

Texas Virus chart 4/19

Joe here is the xlsx spreadsheet Data charted from Accessible Dashboard Data – Updated Daily. Note peak around 4/15 should be back at March 15 levels around May 5. IF TESTING increases it will show as a jump in cases BUT the overall slope on the chart will still be working downward – in other words a bunch of people *have* had the virus & recovered but were not in the count before, so at the day they are added it looks like a huge jump.


Dangerous consequences of the Cold War

Scanning electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2

This scanning electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 (round gold objects) emerging from the surface of cells cultured in the lab. SARS-CoV-2, also known as 2019-nCoV, is the virus that causes COVID-19. The virus shown was isolated from a patient in the U.S. Credit: NIAID-RML. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

I suppose we could call it the Chinese Cold Virus, or maybe the Cold War of 2020. Our “social distancing” quarantine The Great Wall of COVID-19.

The COVID-19 cold virus is a modified cold virus that escaped laboratories in China apparently through bats (see COVID-19 Emergence) sold in a “wet” meat market near the research facility. The Chinese Cold Virus has spread globally into what is globally accepted to be a pandemic.

Diagram of COVID-19

Diagram of COVID-19, from

We are presently battling this virus in what could honestly be referred to as a Cold War, and the stakes are life or death for the elders and those among us with weak immune systems. Reliable information is updated daily at 10:00AM EDT on the official US government Center for Disease Control web site at and in Indiana on the official Indiana State Department of Health web site at

Inherent in this global effort to slow the spread of the disease so that all infected can receive life saving health care are many voluntary suspensions of individual liberty that are clearly not within the constitutionally granted powers of government, but with which we as sovereign individual citizens voluntarily choose to comply in the interest of the well being of ourselves and our communities. The danger is that these voluntary deprivations of individual liberty could become government expectations, rather than temporary voluntary individual accommodations of government requests.

The following article summary is from an Electronic Frontier Foundation article by MATTHEW GUARIGLIA and ADAM SCHWARTZ MARCH 10, 2020 and can be read at and worth a read. Importantly it lists some of the civil rights violations being used to slow spread of the disease and restrictions that must be placed upon those civil rights violations to prevent them from becoming permanent.

Special efforts by public health agencies to combat the spread of COVID-19 are warranted. In the digital world as in the physical world, public policy must reflect a balance between collective good and civil liberties in order to protect the health and safety of our society from communicable disease outbreaks. It is important, however, that any extraordinary measures used to manage a specific crisis must not become permanent fixtures in the landscape of government intrusions into daily life. There is historical precedent for life-saving programs such as these, and their intrusions on digital liberties, to outlive their urgency.

Thus, any data collection and digital monitoring of potential carriers of COVID-19 should take into consideration and commit to these principles:

The article concludes:

EFF has long advocated against digital surveillance by government and corporations of our movements, health, and personal relationships, and against big data systems that can turn our lives into open books. Such data processing often invades our privacy, deters our free speech and association, and disparately burdens racial minorities. Some use of big data may now be warranted as public health officials work to contain COVID-19. But it must be medically necessary, as determined by public health experts; any new processing of personal data must be proportionate to the actual need; people must not be scrutinized because of their nationality or other demographic factors; and any new government powers must expire when the disease is contained.

The same procedures being used to track and slow spread of this disease could be used for less noble purposes. You can read the full article here:

ClamScan Signature File Problem?

Suddenly clamscan (clamtk,clamav) finds it on every computer. Could be a virus that gets around well, or it could be a virus signature table defect.

-------START FRESH CLAM UPDATE 20140306-024521 -------
ClamAV update process started at Thu Mar 6 02:45:21 2014
main.cvd is up to date (version: 55, sigs: 2424225, f-level: 60, builder: neo)
daily.cld is up to date (version: 18538, sigs: 805203, f-level: 63, builder: neo)
bytecode.cld is up to date (version: 236, sigs: 43, f-level: 63, builder: dgoddard)
-------START VIRUS SCAN ON MICROSOFT PARTITION 20140306-024527 -------
/d/Windows/System32/drivers/nvstor.sys: Win.Worm.Autorun-4414 FOUND
/d/Windows/System32/drivers/sisraid4.sys: Win.Worm.Autorun-4415 FOUND
/d/Windows/System32/DriverStore/FileRepository/nvraid.inf_x86_neutral_0276fc3b3ea60d41/nvstor.sys: Win.Worm.Autorun-4414 FOUND
/d/Windows/System32/DriverStore/FileRepository/nvraid.inf_x86_neutral_dd659ed032d28a14/nvstor.sys: Win.Worm.Autorun-4414 FOUND
/d/Windows/System32/DriverStore/FileRepository/sisraid4.inf_x86_neutral_65ab84e9830f6f4b/sisraid4.sys: Win.Worm.Autorun-4415 FOUND
/d/Windows/winsxs/x86_nvraid.inf_31bf3856ad364e35_6.1.7601.17514_none_3be22d131d40bd72/nvstor.sys: Win.Worm.Autorun-4414 FOUND
/d/Windows/winsxs/x86_nvraid.inf_31bf3856ad364e35_6.1.7601.17577_none_3ba44e691d6eb11d/nvstor.sys: Win.Worm.Autorun-4414 FOUND
/d/Windows/winsxs/x86_nvraid.inf_31bf3856ad364e35_6.1.7601.21680_none_3c1c1942369abb77/nvstor.sys: Win.Worm.Autorun-4414 FOUND
/d/Windows/winsxs/x86_sisraid4.inf_31bf3856ad364e35_6.1.7600.16385_none_2818a03f1981d8b1/sisraid4.sys: Win.Worm.Autorun-4415 FOUND

———– SCAN SUMMARY ———–
Known viruses: 3224077
Engine version: 0.97.8
Scanned directories: 16254
Scanned files: 90882
Infected files: 9
Data scanned: 14072.15 MB
Data read: 30367.52 MB (ratio 0.46:1)
Time: 6360.069 sec (106 m 0 s)

Ubuntu 11.04 Is Now Available

What does it mean to business?

Unix and Linux have long been recognized as safer for business and individuals to use, due to the way they protect from virus and spyware infections. Microsoft Windows 7 emulates some of that now. An article on says:

Some people say that linux suffers less from malware because it has less than 1% of the desktop market compared to Windows 90% & suggest that if linux ever increases in popularity then it will suffer just as badly. This argument is deeply flawed & not just by the spurious statistics. Linux dominates server markets. Why struggle to write a virus that might knock out a few thousand desktops when knocking out a few thousand servers could knock out a continent? Yet it is the desktop machines that are commonly exploited.

Our web server stats 1Q2011 showed calling computers are using 30% Linux, 11% Mac, and under 60% Microsoft Windows of all flavors. Microsoft no longer has anywhere near the 90% market share they had a decade ago, hence the reason they priced Windows 7 at half the amount they were charging for the same level of Windows Vista and Windows XP. Still the author’s point is valid that zombie-fying servers would be what criminals did if they could pull it off — they zombify desktops because Microsoft is easier to infect than Linux or Unix. I am told, however, that organized crime is now beginning to target Mac users, and eventually also Linux users. An article in here: says:

One of the more notable developments of the Mac attracting cyber criminal attention is the emergence of what’s purportedly the world’s first do-it-yourself crimeware kit primed for Mac OS X. Recently announced in some closed underground forums, according to Danish IT security company CSIS Security Group, the tool enables users to build malware to turn victim Mac OS X machines into zombies with point-and-click simplicity.

The kit, called Weyland-Yutani Bot, comprises a builder that enables a user to create malware capable of Web injections and form grabbing, according to the kit’s creator. It also boasts an administration panel and supports encryption.

Presently the kit supports Firefox and Chrome; support for Safari will follow, according to CSIS. Additionally, the creator of the kit claims that similar kits for iPad and Linux will be forthcoming.

The kit, by the way, costs about $1,000 — payable only in virtual currencies such as WMZ.

So the only constant is still change. Some design reasons that Linux is fundamentally safer than Windows are expressed here: In summary:

  • Programs are run as normal user, not Root User
  • More eyeballs on the code, nowhere for malware to hide
  • Vast diversity makes it difficult to reproduce flaws in a system
  • All software and drivers are frequently updated by Package Managers
  • Software is generally installed from vast Repositories not from unfamiliar websites
  • Developers/programmers are recognised as Rock Gods rather than treated with contempt
  • Elegant, secure code is admired & aspired to. Hasty kludges are an embarrassment
  • Ownership of the means of production is in the hands of the workers
  • No-one profits from supplying anti-virus or security products

“A computer virus, like a biological virus, must have a reproduction rate that exceeds its death (eradication) rate in order to spread. Each of the above obstacles significantly reduces the reproduction rate of the Linux virus. If the reproduction rate falls below the threshold necessary to replace the existing population, the virus is doomed from the beginning — even before news reports start to raise the awareness level of potential victims.” by Ray of

I might add to this that the level of transparency — public inspection of the total work — prohibits under the table deals to sneak in spyware or add back doors that upload private information to outsiders without the owner’s knowledge or consent. In the Microsoft world no one really knows how many deals Microsoft has going with various data warehouses and government entities to deliver private information from their customers computers. It is also true that the main way malware sneaks onto computers is more often user gullibility than software errors, in particular with the current technique that relies on ‘drive by downloads’ where the user is persuaded to do some necessary action, such as clicking a link and approving the installation of the software. A friend being stranded in a foreign country needing cash to get home, an impossibly good business deal, or promises of pictures or videos of something of interest are examples of bait.

Free anti-virus software is available for Linux, even though it is much harder to infect a Linux system than it is to infect a Microsoft Windows system. The ClamAV software is available via the automatic software center in Linux (Applications / Ubuntu Software Center), but I understand it scans mostly for Microsoft viruses so that a Windows partition on the same computer can be safely cleaned from Linux: an infected Microsoft Windows system will normally not detect any viruses because the viruses themselves are made to disable the scanners so they avoid detection: scanning from Linux is the only reasonable way to find and remove Microsoft viruses. Still anti-virus software that also scans for Linux viruses should be installed, and there is a free download for personal use here: If you are using it for business use instead of personal use please be honest enough to give them the small fee they ask for a legit business license — it’s cheap compared to the McAfee and Norton Windows products.

We downloaded and are streaming (bit torrent) all six of the working torrents for the latest Ubuntu, Natty Narwhal, which was released this week. The main download page is here: and you can find alternate means of downloading here: Server versions are also available here: The peer-to-peer bit torrrents downloaded all six cd-roms for us in about an hour total, so we feel bit torrent is the most time-efficient download method right now (high interest, large number of peers available) but the older direct FTP or HTML downloads are still available. If you have not tried Ubuntu and would like to see it without changing your computer, download the appropriate file and burn it to CD-ROM to make a Live CD that you can try without altering your computer. You can make a USB boot drive once the CD is booted, which will run faster than the CD runs.

The links to the bit torrent downloads as shown on the Ubuntu download page are:

These torrents all seem to work except the netbook download which reports that the link is broken. Our spies tell us that the netbook version is the same as the notebook/desktop version, so it is possible that someone accidentally cut/pasted a link that doesn’t have a matching file.

We have ‘updated’ one computer with the new system. A discussion of changes is provided from the Ubuntu main site here: The salient points at this time are:

1. the Unity (mobile device) style desktop is the default. This is a collection of floating icons vertically on the left with a Mac style menu bar across the top. The menu bar content changes to match which ever window is active at the moment after the manner of the Apple Mac UI. The icons on the left replace the task bars like Android mobile devices. The workspace switcher is near the bottom of the list: the Home Folder is at the top. Right click icons and choose from the pop-up menu to delete them. The circular icon at screen top left is called APPS provides a list of apps — this is the major change which you should explore as it has the same functionality but it is expressed as a group of icons in a window instead of a list in a menu. Right click Apps to add them to the floaty list.

2. VMWare Player downloaded and ran first time — no compile errors. Usually takes a while before VMWare catches up to the new header files after a Linux release. Acts a little funky when you drag the VMWare window between workspaces in the workspace switcher.

3. We changed the number of workspaces available by logging in using the Ubuntu Classic session shell: in the past we would right click the workspace icon and select properties, then specify how many rows and columns we wanted. Right click on the current icon does not let us configure the workspaces. When we booted back with the Unity shell, it set the workspaces back to four on us. Psi.

4. When you log in you can select which kind of desktop you want.  It’s at the bottom- click to switch between Ubuntu, Ubuntu Classic, Gnome, KDE, or whatever on the login screen Session Menu.

Current Irritations:

1. Apps set to start at login in System / Preferences / Startup Applications have no way to control *in which* workspace they will start. Not a new problem.

2. No matter how many times or how many ways we specify that Chrome is our default browser, it keeps switching back to FireFox.