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Journal Journal: Fie On You, Infernal Spyware!

I just spent most of the afternoon dealing with a spyware "infection" on a coworker's home PC. Ironically, this particular program claimed to be "antimalware". The only malware on this guy's PC was this very program, which continuously popped up an annoying balloon warning how his PC is infected with malware. Well duh. Malware pretending to be "antimalware". How clever. Well, I guess this ruse works on a lot of people who have better things to do than be computer experts, but it's a lowdown, dirty trick.

Unfortunately, Norton Antivirus 2003 with the latest virus pattern saw nothing wrong with the computer. I'm thinking that spyware protection became a feature in newer releases, but it's still disappointing that this wasn't even detected as a trojan. Then again, the malware may have escaped detection because it was probably just a collection of registry settings designed to download and activate its buddy SpyAxe, which is the real trojan. A .reg file from F-Secure fixed the problem when I imported it into the Windows registry. (Thanks, F-Secure!) Anyways, the first thing I had to do when I arrived was to delete a 101 GB junk file from the user's temp directory, which was sized just right to completely fill up his hard disk, so that Norton Antivirus could not run. Cute.

Purveyors of spyware are almost as low as spammers in my reckoning. They cause innumerable man-hours to be wasted in clean-up and prevention, and ruin the computing experiences of countless victims. They are scum, like spammers and terrorists. I suppose that they are profiteers, benefiting through click-fraud, identity theft, and unethical information gathering. I believe that in general, these spyware and spam people exact a far greater toll on society than do the "hackers" (who are often just script kiddies) that we are so often warned about. Admittedly, there must be some overlap between the groups, but these spyware-slinging con artists especially irritate me. They take advantage of user gullability and the woeful design flaws that are Windows' legacy, for malicious ends. Fie on you, Spyware!

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