Why Now?
Tuesday, January 18, 2005
  Spyware, Virii, Worms, &c

The people who create this crap should be sent directly to the lowest level of hell until the end of the universe, no, until Windows is debugged, the end of the universe is too soon.

I have spent parts of two days doing pro bono consulting so an employee of a client will not get "downsized" for acquiring a spyware parasite.

The problem was multi-layered. Normally I just tell people to go back to an earlier restore point, but if that doesn't work to wipe their hard drives and restore from their backup files, which is often met with "about the weekly backups, umm, well they haven't exactly been weekly."

The last backup was before Halloween, Service Pack 2 had been installed, the only restore point was after the machine became infected. Service Pack 2 was installed to make up for not installing a number of earlier security updates, and it didn't get better.

I finally talked him through enough of a fix to be able to grab the essential data files before wiping the hard disk and reinstalling everything from the original CDs. I also shipped him Firefox and Eudora, made him swear a blood oath to backup, and promised not to say anything unless I was asked by my normal contact at the company, but he better tell his boss or he'd be fired for covering it up.

Please, people, if you are running a Windows machine have a good restore point before you install anything new, use anti-virus software, if nothing else use the Window's firewall, get a couple of anti-spyware programs and use them on a regular basis, and back up your data. The backups are critical because you are the only source for the information you have created. If nothing else, print out your e-mail addresses, bookmarks, and documents. If you have a CD/DVD writer, use it.

Note: I use Pegasus, and Thunderbird is another nice e-mail program that replaces that standard target of virus writers: MS Outlook.


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