Monday, December 13, 2010


The story of my desktop computer has always been an odd one. It started out its life as a server for Chevron. When they upgraded their servers it went to Rice university, along with seventy or so clones of itself. It found its way to me because Rice actually only needed seventy of them. And so for the last 3-4 years it's been serving as my principle computer. It did a solid job of this, with the only real issues being the incredible size and noise it made, which earned it the name Goliath.

Goliath has had problems with spyware of various sorts at various times. Since one of its principle uses was collecting things from the net through various differently legal channels it's only natural that it was exposed to these things. A few days ago I encountered something that was so bad that I finally had to pronounce goliath defeated.

Problems had been mounting. Redirects, slow down, any number of frustrating and taxing problems that made the use of the machine more and more of a burden. The blow the slew it was part of a standard set of spyware types. This particular type hijacks the machine, telling you that anything you run is "infected" and saying that you need to buy whatever program this particular virus is trying to sell in order to disinfect your machine. In essence it hijacks your machine and turns it into one big ad. I've dealt with these before, but this one is so aggressive that every trick I have for resolving it is undone. No prompt can be open, no other program can be run, no configuration tool can be accessed. Everything you do that doesn't involve giving them $70 is blocked. With that, on top of the problems the machine was having, on top of the noise, on top of the energy consumption. At this point the only thing left to do was call the machine dead.