Summer is over – Welcome to Troy…

Posted on Monday 25 August 2008

Well summer is fading and the kids start back to school this week. So it’s time I got off my holiday backside and got back to writing again.

Well I’m running back and forth today fighting fires on several computers at the same time today. My daughters computer (actually the newest of all the ones I’m working on ) is priority one and it is slowly dying. Partially from abuse I suspect (the downside of having it reside in a home with 3 males – two under 6 ) and partially from not being “computer savvy” for lack of a better word!

Some how, even though it had a well known commercial firewall and virus scanner installed, which automatically updated and scanned, it ended up infected with no less that half a dozen Trojan pieces of software and thanks to Ad-Aware ( which I still consider one of the best tools available ) I found the Trojan loader (for some reason the security software missed all this, or was manually over ruled when it found it! )

Trojan software, also known as a Trojan Horse (for the obvious reason ) is software that you install on your computer (either intentionally or otherwise ) expecting to get something of benefit, but which contains a piece of malicious programming designed to make your computer do something else which you probably didn’t want to do. These are extremely dangerous programs and can lead to a lot of grief!

Trojans can even corrupt the original security software that you installed (firewall and virus scanner ) while at the same time doing the one thing you installed your virus scanner and firewall to protect you against! So in reality, you think all is well, when actually the worst thing possible is  happening!

If you are really, really lucky, you are just bombarding all your friends with all that crappy spam that we all hate, along with the odd virus and/or Trojan package. If you are really unlucky, well….. it ain’t good news… please read the following article on Wikipedia to know more about why you really should be careful with ANY piece of software that you plan to load on your computer. Be afraid…. be very afraid.

See Wikipedias articles on Trojan Horse Payloads

So now I’ve got a major cleanup to do, and have so far removed no less than six different Trojans from this little computer and found a major Trojan loader (a program that actually loads “other Trojan programs onto your computer without you having to do anything – so you’ll never know what hit you! ) and am also quickly coming to the conclusion that the security software has been compromised and will have to be replaced… sigh…

Which leads me to end with this little insight ( thanks to my lovely wife, ) and I apologize because at the same time it’s a bit of a rant…

We’ve all been sold on computers, and pretty well everyone has at least one in every home ( some have many, many more ) and we have been “educated/trained” to treat it as an appliance, like a phone, or television or an electronic book. Unfortunately, a computer still requires a lot more care and attention than anything else that may be in your house.

When you are using any computer and especially when you are on the network (which includes just reading your email, ) you should treat it like a loaded gun sitting on your coffee table – keep your eye on where it is pointed and pay attention to what your fingers are doing!

Whenever you are working with your computer, read any and all windows that pop up and act accordingly. If you don’t know what it is saying, find someone else who does! We are all “rushed” these days, with too much to do, with too little time to do it in ( yeah, even me the retired guy! ) Blindly clicking on or closing a window without paying any attention to what it may be trying to tell you, can lead to a very painful and possibly disastrous result.

Be safe, not sorry…

End Article

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