If you tell enough stories, perhaps the moral will show up.


I Got Spywared

I ought to go into detail about this, but it's late so I think I'll go straight to the takeaways:

  • Don't browse as an admin. Resolving this has taken about fifteen hours over three days. I would rather have spent that time asleep. You can resolve a lot of LUA issues in fifteen hours. The problem here is that Firefox needs to be used as an admin to update, and I wanted 3.06 ....
  • It can happen to you. I was using Firefox, I didn't click on anything I was aware of, and the MS Antispyware 2009 installer ran. Arguably it's time to get into Noscript -- I've always put that off because I can't face setting up the exclusions.
  • It took me a long time to figure out what was going on. I was able to dump the overt spyware without too much difficulty, but the blocking of anti-malware domain names and the re-writing of Google search results in Firefox and IE to go via windows click dot com had me puzzled. It wasn't the hosts file: they've moved on -- it's device drivers now. I needed to get clear understanding becuase I couldn't get any tools to run -- of course.
  • I needed help to figure out what device drivers were the problem. I found it at www.myantispyware.com which appears to be a guy called Patrik publishing instructions. God bless him. His advice didn't quite fit the condition of my machine -- no surprise after all the work I'd done -- but it gave me the names of the files to remove, and that did the job.
  • Everyone needs a boot disk. I could have used my Backtrack key, or anything else that could mount NTFS to write, but I had a copy of the Ultimate Boot CD for Windows so I tried that. It was slow to boot, but easy to use. If I wasn't really comfortable in Linux, UBCD would be my first choice. Without it, I would have had to follow Patrik's laborious instructions , and I might have chosen to re-install instead.
  • Everyone needs a fabulous hosts file. I got the Winhelp2002 version -- it seems pretty comprehensive.
  • Wow! A lot of competent sounding people discuss malware in terms of removal, detection utilities etc. This seems insane to me -- it's really a question of not being admin. This is my first in years, and I don't have any of those tools.

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