Tuesday, April 03, 2012

 

I'm Back ... Barely!

Hi folks! I've been off on my honeymoon with Mrs. Stripper, drinking in the wonderfulness of Costa Rica ... not to mention the wonderfulness of Mrs. Stripper. Alex Jay was kind enough to take on the task of entertaining and enlightening the masses here on the blog, for which I thank him most heartily. I hope you all enjoyed his posts last month. They are a product of a whole different style of research than mine, and he uncovers amazing and interesting information that is completely beyond my abilities to gather.

I was supposed to be back at the helm on April Fools Day, but computer problems intervened. I was once again attacked by a very nasty virus, pretty much the minute I got home from the trip and turned on the computer. It's an evolution of a virus I had before and thought I'd conquered with a System Restore, extensive manual cleaning, and disinfection tools. Turns out it was just lying low and cooking up nasty new ways to take over my machine. This time I went through four different disinfection applications trying to flush it out. Every one of them found things and claimed to have disinfected the machine -- every one of them was fooling itself. 

I finally gave up on disinfecting that machine, and have spent the last week loading all my stuff onto a new machine. This after finding out the hard way that my hotsy-totsy ShadowProtect Backup didn't quite live up to its marketing in regard to being able to move all your stuff onto a new machine and configure everything automatically. The hype turned out to be just that. Ended up moving all my data and installing my apps manually.

For the record, and just in case you encounter the same thing, I believe the virus (or Trojan, to be more accurate) came in through a faked message notifying me to update my Adobe Flash Player. At first I thought Adobe was actually at fault for allowing a Trojan to piggyback on an Adobe update, but I realize now that I was taken in by a completely bogus update message. For goodness sake, if you see such a window pop up on your computer, don't click on it; even to say "Don't Install"! Go into your Task Manager and kill the process.

For the record, Ad-Aware was active on the machine and didn't block it in the first place, and once the Trojan was resident, it could not be completely wiped off by Ad-Aware, Spybot, Kaspersky, BitDefender or Avast; though every one of them found the intruder and thought they'd squashed it.

So the upshot is that I'm on a new machine, and I've pretty much got everything I need transferred over now. After much research, I'm going with Kaspersky as my active antivirus tool, and also have installed NoScript on Firefox as additional protection. I hope that combo will keep the intruder from attacking me again on this clean new machine.

Probably tomorrow I'll do a 'real' post and try to get back in the groove. See you then ... I hope!

Comments:
Hello Allan---I'm so glad you had a fun honeymoon,and we all missed you. This computer business always such a pain in the gluteus. There's ALWAYS something weird going on. My sister is trying to get me to buy a new Mac. She says there's never any problems with one--no viruses, trojans, sunspots or interference from Castro jamming the signal. What would you suggest?---
 
Hi Cole --
Macs can and do get viruses and trojans, but they are pretty rare in comparison to PCs.

The problem with Macs, from my perspective, is that there are very few apps available by comparison to Windows, and both hardware and software tend to be quite pricey in comparison to PCs. However, if you aren't a real serious user doing business on your machine, like I am, Macs are a pretty good choice, especially from the standpoint of avoiding trouble and working with a generally simpler, easier to understand interface.

That's my two cents on the very touchy Mac vs. PC debate.

--Allan
 
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