In recent weeks, Gigastrand has seen 2 instances of browser extension malware installed by unwitting users on Safari in Mac OS and Chrome in Gigastrand OS v3.
This discovery makes a change in operating system ineffective when it comes to security. Malware seems to be targeting Internet browsers with the OS being a secondary consideration.
However, this is easily mitigated if users pay attention. These extensions generally require user permission to install – a fairly standard security precaution in browsers. Once installed, they can be easily removed from a browser by removing them in the extensions or plugins page for the browser. In extreme cases, the browser can be uninstalled and reinstalled.
One word of caution, browsers like Chrome will re-install an extension upon login. There is a narrow window of time between login and when the extension is reinstalled to be on the extension page.
A few pieces of advice to prevent this from happening.
Don’t install plugins or browser extensions from outside sources.
Read the prompts that popup on a website. Do not agree to install anything unless you know what it is.
Watch the prompts for software carefully. Do not install programs that install 3rd party software as well.
Paying attention to what your computer tells you can prevent a lot of this from happening no matter what OS you use.
Some of you who regularly update your system might have seen the following error in Chrome:
We know exactly why this is happening: Google has decided to stop supporting 32-bit Linux operating systems by sometime in March. This means you will stop receiving updates to Chrome after a certain point and it will eventually stop working for some things.
What we have tried: Gigastrand has been experimenting with the multi-architecture (multiarch) feature of Gigastrand OS 2.x to try installing Google Chrome 64-bit on the system so that our customers can keep going with the 32-bit operating system some require for their systems.
While this is theoretically possible, it requires a complete revamp of the operating system itself as many of the dependencies required for Chrome are shared with other programs and would need to be replaced with 64-bit versions.
Internally, we need a version of Gigastrand OS that will run on older hardware, we are planning to develop a 32-bit version of 3.0 that will allow 64-bit only programs like Chrome to run. However, we are uncertain what the result might be.
Solution: Until then, you can still use Chrome in 2.x, you can use Firefox, or you can upgrade to Gigastrand OS 3.0 which includes the 64-bit version of Chrome.