The laptop that my work issued me did not come with enough RAM or hard drive space. The first part was easily-remedied, the second part less so. There was some encryption software installed that made any sort of cloning from small hard drive to large hard drive more trouble than it was worth. So I reinstalled Windows from scratch.

How secure is Windows 7? So secure that I hadn’t even finished installing all of my software before I’d gotten invaded by a host of spyware and adware. Now, generally speaking, adware has to be conspicuous in order to be effective. I get that. The spyware/malware, on the other hand, is completely getting it wrong.

If I am making some sort of spyware, one of my main goals is that it is not discovered. If I make spyware that sucks up 90% of the CPU on a quad-core machine, it’s not going to take people long to either start looking for the problem say “screw it” and reinstall Windows. It makes the computer that they’re trying to gather data from useless. People will be less inclined to use it. With a little bit of discipline, that thing culd have been on my computer for weeks and weeks without my knowing about. The virus scanner didn’t find it. I wouldn’t have known. Instead, I tracked down the file I was looking for and hit “delete” and that was that.

It’s usually the making of a bad movie when the bad guy is so bad that he gets in his own way. Yet, for the spyware industry, it seems to be standard operating procedure.

Category: Server Room

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6 Responses to Malware & Twirling Moustaches

  1. web says:

    Did you turn off something of the Win7 security settings or leave a blank Admin-level password? So far the only ways I’ve seen spyware/adware get in is by either those two, or as a tagalong with some “free software” when someone wasn’t quite paying attention.

  2. Brandon Berg says:

    How is that possible? Were you installing all your software from a warez server in Estonia?

  3. trumwill says:

    I don’t know what the hell happened. I didn’t lower security settings or leave a blank password. All of the software is above-board since this is my work laptop (errr, not that it would ever be otherwise).

    I’m trying to think if there’s any new software I have installed that I didn’t install before (shareware with malware), though I’m not noticing anything.

    I do have autologon turned on, though, which I didn’t before (I haven’t put any corporate data on it yet and won’t until I have a handle on this).

    And I did use IE rather than Firefox, but I assumed that recent version of IE are comparatively safe since I know that Microsoft has been working at that.

    I’m wondering at what point I start all over.

  4. Mike Hunt says:

    One day computers will be easy enough where someone of average intelligence can just set it up and use it right out of the box.

    I don’t know when that day will be, though.

    (Disclaimer: I have never used a Mac, so for all I know, that day is already here.)

  5. ? says:

    Were you intalling right from the disk? Was the disk corrupted?

    How did you know what file to delete, and what was it?

  6. trumwill says:

    I installed it from a the “factory settings” backup partition of the original computer.

    I found the file to delete by looking at Task Manager and seeing what was soaking up the CPU. It was a svrhost file dug deep into the Windows Common Files. I deleted the entire directory and that problem went away. I still have adware problems, though.

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