Sunday, February 13, 2005


Ambidextrous, adj.: Able to pick with equal skill a right-hand pocket or a left.

In the "Yikes!" department, I finally got over to my other friend in need's home to take a look at her sick computer. Said friend is quite intelligent and can handle MS Office, surfing and e-mail sans problem, however, there are teenagers in her house, and downloads are the order of the day. My friend told me of massive slowdowns, ads popping up and needless to say, I came loaded for bear. Started out with AdAware SE in both normal and safe modes, and zapped about 600 nasties. Spybot found a few more bad guys but thankfully CWShredder came up clean. We then tried SpySubtract, and hoo boy, another 170 nasties, including a keystroke logger. My friend couldn't believe it until I showed her her Hotmail password. All of her kids' IM chats were in there as well. Needless to say, my friend was seriously freaked by this development, and she's swung into action to check privacy issues.

Needless to say, this is actually a sobering lesson, in that neither AdAware nor Spybot found the keystroke logger. As much as I admire those products and their creators, they aren't the only tools necessary to keep things clean on a PC. Layered defenses, folks.

New toy on its way. Review when I receive it. Hint - Carl Wilson....

A big spurt of eBay phishing mails over the last couple of days. The URLs point to servers in Ecuador this time around. What, the gangsters got tired of mamaliga? (for the non-cognoscenti, that's the other Romanian national dish aside from pastrami; Lou Gottlieb of the Limeliters described it succintly as cornmeal mush)

Finally, I got a panicked e-mail from my frummie friend. It seems the Linksys router didn't solve the problem after all (as I had suspected it wouldn't). Obviously whatever sites my friend was looking at had passed out of the DNS cache on the laptop, and the query to the local DNS server wouldn't work. I'm going to try TreeWalk on my friend's machine and see if that fixes the problem, if not, I'm getting to the point of tearing out what little hair I have left.


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