More Adventures in Killing SpyWare

I swear if I ever find the author of spyware or similar evil software I will happily beat him to death with his own mother.

I spent two hours tonight cleaning off viruses and spyware and bots off of an ex-coworkers system. This is the one that called a while ago and that I did the same thing for her a year ago. Is creating an OS that acts in such a way that it doesn’t have to be cleaned out every twelve months too much to ask? Seriously. And this isn’t the only person I’ve had to apply a clue-stick to lately.

I bitched about this before, claiming that the OS that is currently produced by Microsoft (though I’m sure the one that’s just around the next corner, and excuse me while I break into a rousing chorus of tomorrow, tomorrow, will be much better) is designed in such a way that it, combined with the malicious nature of the fuckers on the internet, invites people to mess up their systems?

Run everything as the super user.

Everything is scriptable.

Allow the running of random executables and activeX controls from anything, sometimes without prompting the user.

Though I guess when your revenue is starting to rely on forcing people to upgrade all the time, you can set up a system where frustrated users will go and buy another computer (with a fresh and new copy of your latest OS installed of course). It’s not like they aren’t used to screwing the little guy.

Anyway, went in and the system was sloooooow. Lots of nasty stuff running, a (surprise surprise) IE toolbar installed, and more than a couple of process names that looked unfamilar enough to be dangerous. Not being able to get to Google with IE and the “page not found” page that it produced looking like the standard IIS 404 page but with the addition of some “helpful” online shopping links was another indication that all was not well in Kansas.

So I spent some quality time with hijackthis.exe and the usual anti-spyware/adware programs. Re-install AVG, update the 6 or 7 critical windows updates that were waiting to be installed (she told me she was all up to date when I asked…. so much for trusting people), set up firefox as the default browser. Oh, and lots of rebooting into safe mode and back again.

Honestly I give it six months before they’re back to the same point, but since they are moving I won’t be able to help much.

All in all I guess I should thank Microsoft for making me a few extra bucks, but I could think of far better ways to spend my evening.

3 Comments on “More Adventures in Killing SpyWare”

  1. Hey can I ask you a dumb question? Toss me an email and give me your top 10 steps for cleaning a system? My great-aunt’s system is doing the same things you were talking about and I’d like to see what I can do for it. Help me Arcy-Wan-Terexy, you’re my only hope!