Make some effort at least

The other day I saw a PC that had been completely overrun with trojans, virii, and spyware. I won’t say where I saw this particular PC, but suffice it to say it had all the appropriate software installed originally to keep this from happening. However, after cleaning up the trojan that had the AV disabled, it was soon discovered that the Anti-virus definitions had last been updated in Sept. 2004, despite the presence of a nag screen that prompted the user to check for updates every “x” days. (Well, at least the nag screen would have come up before the trojan disabled the AV, but clearly this occurred much later than the last time definition files were updated.) Apparently, it wasn’t enough to make this user take any responsibility for their machine. On the other hand, as badly as this thing got infected, they had someone to fix it for them, so where was the incentive to take any responsibility? I’m certainly not suggesting that technology professionals not fix infected PCs, but I can’t help but wonder how much we act as enablers for irresponsible users? Knowing that they can always get their PC fixed for a few bucks or whatever seems to give them a false sense of security that they don’t have to worry about anything. Is there anything, aside from a catastrophic data loss that would get them to think about their part in PC security?

Tags: Security, anti-virus

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  1. Doubtful, at best. Unfortunately many still don’t see PCs like cars, than need tuneups at regular intervals, that there are idiot lights that come on when something is wrong, and that there is more than just turn it on and drive. Not sure how we get through this, but hopefully the next generations will do a better job than the current few that own the majority of computers.

    I wonder what the average age is of infected PCs? I’d bet it’s fairly high.

  2. First off I’m assuming you are not talking about Angela’s pc 🙂

    As to a few bucks? Most people I know bulk at paying for a computer fix (I had someone offer me $10 to do a foreigner and got upset when I laughed and said I wouldn’t get out of bed for that.)
    Most AV fixes in a shop tend to be around the $50 which makes a lot of home users think twice about it. However when it gets bad enough that they really need something doing, the quickest way is a reinstall and just how many users have a data backup?

    in a corporate setting I’d wonder just how the pc didn’t get picked up that it didn’t have av – or maybe they were just running symantec corporate edition that conveniently hides pc’s that haven’t contacted the server for so long so the admin person doesn’t realise it is out of date…… /bitter mode off.
    A login script to check av defs sounds like it needs to be written to ensure that all pc’s are checked in the corporate environment……

  3. Andy,

    In this case it was a home PC of someone who has no problem spending 50 bucks getting it fixed. This is my point, there are people out there who would rather continue to pay $50 every once in awhile instead of taking a few minutes to keep things updated.

  4. Mike-

    I know what you mean! I personally have had very good success using the word “Compromise”. Your system has been ‘compromised’.

    Whoa… does that mean they can see everything i do…
    … and i just let their imaginations get the best of them.

    This has really kept the users aware of their surroundings. I will get that phone call as soon as they think they may have been ‘compromised’. Which by the way is really is nice to see that they are reading the alerts.

    HB, CA.

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