The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Monday, May 17, 2004

I've just spent the last couple of hours scrubbing my home computer of a virus. No, it wasn't the latest security threat, Sasser. It was some Trojan program that somehow hijacked my Windows Media Player, and rendered it useless.

The Trojan didn't manage to do any damage--I have a firewall setup that prevents a program like this from making an external connection. But it was a pest, because my Norton Antivirus program apparently couldn't identify it and wipe it out. A couple of free online scanners couldn't pick it up either.

Then, while reading Chris Corrigan's post about open source software, I came across a link for the free AntiVir Personal Edition virus scanner. I figured I had little to lose, so I uninstalled Norton and installed AntiVir. Bingo! AntiVir found the offending files and wiped them out. It killed off Media Player as well, but that's no big loss, as I've got an older version of it that works as well (and I could always get the most current version from Microsoft for free).

So, my system is clean, for now. It's really frustrating to find crap like this, when I take what should be every precaution: A strong firewall, no opening of suspicious attachments (including all Office files, regardless of source), no downloading of executables unless I know they're legit, etc. That's why things like Google's use of ActiveX for Gmail is so disturbing to me: It creates one more hole through which sneaky stuff can invade your computer.

One of the consequences of messing with viruses is that it makes me want to get off the computer for the rest of the night. And so today's shortened blogging session is brought to you by the letter "T" for Trojan.