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Breaking, Entering Your PC (Windows Scumware And Parasiteware Alert)
Los Angeles Times ^ | 11/26/04 | Terry McDermott

Posted on 11/26/2004 11:49:59 AM PST by goldstategop

The site has multiple forums for various computing problems, but the overwhelming number of inquiries in the last year has dealt with spyware, which on the site has a variety of less neutral names, "scumware" being one of the more polite. Scumware had been an epidemic; in the last year it grew into a pandemic, said Steve Wechsler, one of those drawn to Eshelman's site.

Wechsler was tending bar at a public golf course in South San Francisco when he bought his first computer less than a decade ago.

"I brought it home and turned it on, clicked on Netscape and expected something to happen. I still think about how dumb I was," he said. That ignorance makes him empathize with other casual users, people who expect their computers to be tools, not obligations.

The muting of the usefulness of those tools is what motivates him most. "I hate bullies. I've hated bullies my whole life. They prey on people. I'm not going to sit by and do nothing," he said. "It's your computer. They have no right to assault it."

(Excerpt) Read more at latimes.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Crime/Corruption; Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: adware; auhaorg; computersecurity; exploit; getamac; internetexploiter; lowqualitycrap; malware; microsoft; parasiteware; patch; pcdefense; scumware; securityflaw; spyware; trojan; virus; windows; worm
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This is a LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG article about scumware and parasiteware on people's computers and how to fight it. Its a long war. It also includes a discussion of http://www.auha.org Sounds Sanskrit but as a site, Jim Eshelman's encyclopedic knowledge of the dark side of the Internet is unrivaled. There's some nifty freeware links on his website to help you fight the plague that keeps you from enjoying the World Wide Web. This stuff is getting worse by the day but as the old saying has it, "knowledge is power." Here then is one reporter's experience with malware and tips on how to keep it off your PC - for good.
1 posted on 11/26/2004 11:50:01 AM PST by goldstategop
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To: goldstategop
"It used to be [information technology] knowledge was like drugs — if you had some, you shared it with friends," he said.

ROFL!
2 posted on 11/26/2004 11:58:04 AM PST by YoungHickey
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To: goldstategop
I spent yesterday at the folks house fixing computers after turkey... I offered to fix anyone's machine who brought it with them to dinner -- (that was a mistake)

Every box I touched (7 of them) had no less than 100'ish pieces of spyware in them. Each had a couple of virii, and NONE of them had visited windoze update.

I need to stop volunteering - or get one of these:


3 posted on 11/26/2004 11:58:05 AM PST by visagoth (If you think education is expensive - try ignorance)
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To: goldstategop
bump for later

.

4 posted on 11/26/2004 12:01:43 PM PST by Elle Bee
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To: goldstategop
I tend to believe that most problems have very simple solutions.

The solution to spam, spyware, etc IS simple:

Once the perpetrator is found, publish his name, photo and home address on the Internet.

Problem solved! : )
5 posted on 11/26/2004 12:01:59 PM PST by studly hungwell (A conservative Californian who hates what has become of California)
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To: visagoth

I know what you mean, I work in systems support and my wife complained to me last month that her new laptop was slow. I loaded a spybot and found over 250. No viruses, I keep nortons on my machines for that.


6 posted on 11/26/2004 12:03:55 PM PST by TXBSAFH (Never underestimate the power of human stupidity--Robert Heinlein)
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To: goldstategop; All
Help for viruses and malware:
 
 Ad-Aware ... Spybot ... Peper Uninstaller ... HijackThis... CWShredder ... Spyware Blaster ... IE Spyad ... Free online Virus scan ... AVG AntiVirus ... LSPfix ... How to Show Hidden Files ... How to boot into Safe Mode ... How did I get infected in the first place?


Things you need--(all FREE)
Anti-Virus
AVG Anti-Virus version 7 (free) release available...
 Avast
Firewall
Kerio(Direct Download) Zone Alarm
 If are using zone alarm it may slow your PC. Try Outpost Firewall http://www.agnitum.com/products/outpost or Sygate Firewall http://www.sygate.com/, both have FREE and Pro versions and are heads above ZA.
Misc.
IE Spyads SpywareBlaster Spyware Guard
Windows Update- you must keep updated, it is the start of a secure system-
get all CRITICAL Updates

Things you want(Still Free)
 
 Get Firefox I use Firefox PR1 and IMHO, beats the sox off MS Explorer. Life is good with tabs. Click the link and give it a try.

Ad-Aware
Spybot S&D
SpywareBlaster
MS MVP Hosts file
Mike Lin's Homepage and get the Startup Control Panel and Startup Monitor tools.
 
The best forum for malware removal:
 http://forums.spywareinfo.com/index.php?s=262d844129208feb8b0cf5b0186a32f6&act=SC&c=4
SWI Forums--

7 posted on 11/26/2004 12:05:06 PM PST by backhoe ("We met at Dawn- and destiny Prevailed...")
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To: visagoth

If you are stuck fixing your relatives' PCs, make sure you download the IT version of SP2 from Microsoft Technet. You can burn it to a CD and easily install SP2 onto multiple XP systems. It is a huge download, but can be a real time saver when working on multiple systems.


8 posted on 11/26/2004 12:08:06 PM PST by MediaMole
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To: beezdotcom

bump for later


9 posted on 11/26/2004 12:08:07 PM PST by beezdotcom (I'm usually either right or wrong...)
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To: goldstategop

self ping


10 posted on 11/26/2004 12:08:44 PM PST by hsrazorback1 (To get what you had, do what you did.)
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To: goldstategop

correcting your link:
it is
http://aumha.org


11 posted on 11/26/2004 12:08:53 PM PST by error99
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To: visagoth
I offered to fix anyone's machine who brought it with them to dinner -- (that was a mistake)

You are much too kind! By the way, where do you live?

12 posted on 11/26/2004 12:09:03 PM PST by LadyLiberty86
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To: goldstategop
http://www.aumha.org/ is the address. You want to be safe(r):
1. Use Firefox 2. Install all Windows updates 3. Use spybot search and destroy. Overkill (effective, but using a nuke to kill roaches): turn off directx at your firewall - only turn it on to do your Windows updates.
13 posted on 11/26/2004 12:10:20 PM PST by Salo
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To: MediaMole
If you are stuck fixing your relatives' PCs, make sure you download the IT version of SP2 from Microsoft Technet. You can burn it to a CD and easily install SP2 onto multiple XP systems.

Heh... I have my handy 'geek disc' with it loaded on it for the one and only XP box I fixed... the other 6 had either WinME (The Mistake Edition) or Win98.

14 posted on 11/26/2004 12:12:03 PM PST by visagoth (If you think education is expensive - try ignorance)
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To: LadyLiberty86
By the way, where do you live?

Ummmm... er - Alaska - yeah that's it. On one of the islands.

15 posted on 11/26/2004 12:15:35 PM PST by visagoth (If you think education is expensive - try ignorance)
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To: visagoth

It's amazing. My kids are reasonably computer literature, but none of them seems to understand updating, either of the operating system or of the various anti-spyware programs I put on their computers.

At least they could clean some of the easy spyware off. The hard stuff sometimes requires messing around with the Registry, which I'd rather they didn't try.


16 posted on 11/26/2004 12:17:03 PM PST by Cicero (Nil illegitemus carborundum est)
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To: studly hungwell

Studly,

I love your screen name. Read your post.. snickered... read your screen name and laughed out loud. Too good.


17 posted on 11/26/2004 12:19:49 PM PST by softengine (We MUST bust Sandy "I stuff my pants" Berger.)
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To: goldstategop

ping


18 posted on 11/26/2004 12:20:04 PM PST by Clypp
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To: goldstategop

thanks for post/article. I join the FReeper list that have been plagued with spyware/virus infections this past few weeks .. all with firewalls; spy sweepers; antivirus; and caution to NOT open anything form 'unknowns"

perps are terrorists & when caught should be handled as such as such = shooting the next day would be a good idea in my estimation


19 posted on 11/26/2004 12:22:35 PM PST by DollyCali (We can never repay our veterans...NEVER. Thank you all who served our great country.)
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To: visagoth
Same thing happened to me at my aunt's house for Thanksgiving. I spent 3 hours fixing her PC while everyone else was having fun watching the Cowboys game :(.

Her PC was totally hosed, and after trying to for an hour to clean up the mess, I decided to reformat and reinstall Windows.

As for the original article, no problems with that stuff here....I'm on Mandrake 10.1 Official running Firefox for Web browsing. Mandrake 10.1 is the best Linux desktop I've seen, and I ain't going back to Windows.

I would advise anyone using Linux, or thinking about using Linux to give it a try, it's super!
20 posted on 11/26/2004 12:23:47 PM PST by KoRn
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To: error99

Free Republic is such a great resource and many thanks to everyone here who is so helpful.

I had AdAware 6.0 and had tons of crap the past few days. I got AdAware SE thanks to the suggestions here. I have SpyBot and others too.

AdAware SE clean up almost everything plus I ran a few AV programs. I will probably spend the $26.95 for the yearly pay version of AdAware SE Plus.

Thanks to everyone here. I sure miss Drudge but I got a lot of crap from his web site. I guess he cannot make it just on banner ads.


21 posted on 11/26/2004 12:26:37 PM PST by FrankRepublican (Boycott NBC & their parent company General Electric for smearing the USMC)
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Comment #22 Removed by Moderator

To: goldstategop

Knowledge is power all right. I used my superior logic and knowledge to reach the conclusion that windoze was no long worth the trouble. When I bought a mac laptop just for fun and it was so nice to use and easy to operate that when my desktop started to die I just bought a Mac G5 dual processor. I don't miss windoze even a little bit.

I have no virus, spyware, scumware problems whatsoever.


23 posted on 11/26/2004 12:44:45 PM PST by mercy
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To: KoRn

We said GOOD RIDDANCE to MS Windows in my house over four years ago! ...nothing but RedHat Linux, and FreeBSD here.


24 posted on 11/26/2004 12:46:50 PM PST by hiredhand ( "Pudge the Indestructible Kitty" lives at - http://www.justonemorefarm.com)
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To: goldstategop

BTTT for later!


25 posted on 11/26/2004 12:47:01 PM PST by MplsSteve
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To: mercy
I have no virus, spyware, scumware problems whatsoever.

Yep, the best solution to the problem.

26 posted on 11/26/2004 12:56:36 PM PST by jalisco555 ("The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity." W. B. Yeats)
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To: backhoe

Great stuff. Thanks, backhoe.

Your CWShredder link is no longer valid. They were bought by InterMute, and Version 2.0 is freeware, now available here:

http://www.softpedia.com/public/cat/10/17/10-17-150.shtml


27 posted on 11/26/2004 1:02:09 PM PST by glock rocks (You're on, Bo... which is it... turkey or Atta Boy?)
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To: visagoth

Sounds familar. I have two friends (both with MBAs) and when it comes to taking care of their computers they are lost. One I installed adware and he couldn't believe what it found. Then Spybot put him into shock. By the time I was done he thought he had a new machine...repeated with my other friend later that day. Amazing, very smart people but fail to understand what it takes to keep their computers going.


28 posted on 11/26/2004 1:03:41 PM PST by engrpat
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To: DollyCali
perps are terrorists & when caught should be handled as such as such = shooting the next day would be a good idea in my estimation

In my state, we can shoot someone for breaking into our home.

My computer is "home".

For some reason, we cannot seem to get anyone interested in prosecuting these vandals. As with spam, the Direct Marketing Association pays a lot of bribes to weaken and neuter the Can-Spam bill, and it would not be surprising if they had a hand in this as well.

29 posted on 11/26/2004 1:04:03 PM PST by Gorzaloon (This tagline intentionally left blank.)
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To: Baynative

That is new info ( to me ) and I appreciate it! Will mull it over. My adventures with hijackers are here:

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1168134/posts


30 posted on 11/26/2004 1:04:32 PM PST by backhoe ("We met at Dawn- and destiny Prevailed...")
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To: backhoe

Thanks for all the great links. BTW your sygate link has a glitch.


31 posted on 11/26/2004 1:06:33 PM PST by raybbr
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To: backhoe

Ping to me (another all night computer tune-up)


32 posted on 11/26/2004 1:07:46 PM PST by TexasTransplant (When you are over the hill, you pick up speed)
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Comment #33 Removed by Moderator

To: ChefKeith

Ping

Scumware


34 posted on 11/26/2004 1:10:04 PM PST by WestCoastGal (*****86 DAYS UNTIL DAYTONA*****)
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To: goldstategop

Thanks for the post. AumHa is wonderful. It was love at first sight.


35 posted on 11/26/2004 1:13:21 PM PST by Iris7 (.....to protect the Constitution from all enemies, both foreign and domestic. Same bunch, anyway.)
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To: goldstategop

I can relate to this as spyware has infected my computer and i can no longer get on the internet!Earthlink put forth a valiant effort to assist me with this problem but to no avail.Spyware should be illegal and the companies should be made to pay each individual for its attaching to files and corrupting browsers."IT IS I WHO WILL DECIDE YOUR NEED TO KNOW"!!! I DON'T GIVE A DA#N ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS AND HOPE IT FAILS!!When this spyware is used it is NO different than a thief breaking into your home and stealing.


36 posted on 11/26/2004 1:14:07 PM PST by INSENSITIVE GUY
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To: TXBSAFH
"I know what you mean, I work in systems support and my wife complained to me last month that her new laptop was slow. I loaded a spybot and found over 250. No viruses, I keep nortons on my machines for that."

A few months ago, I gave my son my "old" computer; a machine that had always performed perfectly for me, and which had a good antivirus program that I kept updated, as well as downloading all of the MS updates and fixes. Last month, they began to complain of it crashing. Then it stopped altogether. I ran AdAware and found over 700 instances of viruses, spyware and other data miners and dirty tricks. But they still had to reformat and reinstall. Files were so corrupted they simply couldn't run. Of course, neither of them ever thought to install any kind of firewall.

37 posted on 11/26/2004 1:16:16 PM PST by redhead ("Gee, Ricky. I'm sorry your mom blew up...")
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To: goldstategop
I am a computer security professional. Thanksgiving night my nephew spent the night and this morning my son let him get on the PC and on the Internet. In just a few minutes he'd got so much scumware on my PC it was astounding. I've trained my kids and they RARELY let scumware on to the PC and if they do they let me know right away so I can fix it. My 12-yr-old daughter is the one who noticed this morning and she came running in to my room, "Cousin X was on the internet and now there's spyware on the PC and it is running slow!" I came in and sure enough, it was bogged down with the most tenacious crapware I've yet dealt with.

AdWareSE failed.
SpyBot Search & Destroy failed.
WebRoot SpySweeper failed.
Finally Giant AntiSpyware cleaned it up. It couldn't do it alone, I was busy in Add & Remove Programs, MSCONFIG, and the Registry. It took me 3 non-stop hours to finally eradicate everything (I hope it is gone.).

The bad thing is that my system is patched up, locked down, etc. But it STILL got slimed.

38 posted on 11/26/2004 1:18:00 PM PST by Spiff (Don't believe everything you think.)
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To: backhoe; All

add to that list of spyware cleaners

Giant Antispyware
http://www.download.com/GIANT-AntiSpyware/3000-8022_4-10340291.html

have seen several pcs this week with "TVMedia", "180 Solutions" and "Network Terrorist" spyware that altho said 'cleaned' by Ad-Aware and Spybot, atill this Giant found more entires...

free to try for 15 days.

I think it is a good one.


39 posted on 11/26/2004 1:19:53 PM PST by bitt (Thanks be.)
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To: visagoth

Nice info. thanks.


40 posted on 11/26/2004 1:23:12 PM PST by New Perspective (Proud father of an 11 month old son with Down Syndrome)
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To: visagoth

I'm not sure what it is about family dinners and requests to fix computers, but it happened to me too (I suspect when I get the computers, the problem will be with spyware).


41 posted on 11/26/2004 1:24:03 PM PST by Born Conservative (New annual national holiday for liberals: Shock and Awe Day , November 3rd.)
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To: visagoth
Putting this HOSTS file on your PC is one of the simplest and most effective spyware killers.

http://mvps.org/winhelp2002/hosts.htm

"What it does ... The Hosts file contains the mappings of IP addresses to host names. This file is loaded into memory at startup, then Windows checks the Hosts file before it queries any DNS servers, which enables it to override addresses in the DNS. This prevents access to the listed sites by redirecting any connection attempts back to the local machine. Another feature of the HOSTS file is it's ability to block other applications from connecting to the Internet, as long the the entry exists.

You can use a HOSTS file to block ads, banners, cookies, web bugs, and even most hijackers. This is accomplished by blocking the Server that supplies these little gems. Example - the following entry 127.0.0.1 ad.doubleclick.net blocks all files supplied by the DoubleClick Server to the web page you are viewing. This also prevents the server from tracking your movements.

Now includes most major parasites, hijackers and unwanted Search Engines!"

42 posted on 11/26/2004 1:24:23 PM PST by AmericaUnited
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To: INSENSITIVE GUY

bttt


43 posted on 11/26/2004 1:26:23 PM PST by jslade (People who are easily offended......OFFEND ME!)
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To: HairOfTheDog

hahaha. I run about a dozen virus and intruder programs, mostly out of curiousity to see how they work.

Regrettably, sometimes one will find a 'problem' that all the others miss.

Recently, I downloaded a freeware program from a reputable download site: download.com. Only one of the programs I run notified me of a trojan; all the others missed it. I notfied download.com and within a couple of days, they had revised the file with a clean version.


44 posted on 11/26/2004 1:28:40 PM PST by TomGuy (America: Best friend or worst enemy. Choose wisely.)
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To: visagoth

OK I won't bother you with this problem, but seriously is there a good site to get help with fixing the dumb thing?


45 posted on 11/26/2004 1:29:41 PM PST by patriot_wes
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To: visagoth
I need to stop volunteering...

That's no lie! I got sick of old "friends" calling me for no other reason than because they were too dense to maintain their own stuff.

SO what I did was tell them that if they wanted me to fix their machines, that they'd have to pay me the same rate I charge for freelance work, which is $20 and hour and up. No exceptions.

46 posted on 11/26/2004 1:33:53 PM PST by FierceDraka ("Megatons Make It Fun!")
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To: KoRn
Mandrake 10.1 is the best Linux desktop I've seen...

I've heard the new Mandrake build is pretty slick. Trouble is, I don't have a spare machine on which to play with it. Don't want to mess with a dual-bott, either. I need to find an El Cheapo PC for just that purpose.

47 posted on 11/26/2004 1:38:17 PM PST by FierceDraka ("Megatons Make It Fun!")
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To: FrankRepublican

If I might interject, one other thing you might find useful is Zone Alarm Pro. You can set it up to block the ports that viruses usually attack, as well as pop-up controls, and lot of other neat stuff. Plus, it can stop a rogue program dead in its tracks from trying to contact its home server. Useful for manually tracking down baddies.


48 posted on 11/26/2004 1:41:56 PM PST by FierceDraka ("Megatons Make It Fun!")
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To: mercy
I have no virus, spyware, scumware problems whatsoever.

Be careful, though. The pimply-faced, overweight, teenage malcontents (who should be outside instead of pecking away at the keyboard anyway) are working on ways to attack the Mac.

/something of a spyware expert, slightly paranoid, with a penchant for network security ;-D

49 posted on 11/26/2004 1:44:54 PM PST by FierceDraka ("Megatons Make It Fun!")
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To: goldstategop
Since I switched to Firefox I have had no problems at all with spyware. Before I switched, I was losing half an hour a day to it. I only use IE for certain trusted, specialized websites that Firefox doesn't know how to read properly, but I expect later editions of Firefox won't have this problem.

It's very hard to believe that existing laws don't already provide penalties sufficient to send these sneaky saboteurs to jail for many years. Some tech-savvy state Attorney General could launch a successful political career based on such prosecutions.

50 posted on 11/26/2004 1:46:38 PM PST by VeritatisSplendor
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