Digital Crime Wave?

Discussion in 'NZ Computing' started by YAnewswatcher, Apr 16, 2005.

  1. I've just read Walt Mossberg's report from the WSJ, about the Digital
    Crime Wave detailing the traumas facing computer users on the Net

    http://ptech.wsj.com/archive/report-200504.html

    To quote:

    > THE WINDOWS COMPUTING PLATFORM is in a genuine crisis. Windows computers are
    > being attacked, every day, by an international army of digital criminals who
    > seek to spy on users, turn their own computers against them and deface,
    > corrupt or destroy their data.


    The oddity is that apart from a relative's account of a neighbour who
    had 25 viruses on his computer (and unsupervised teenagers using said
    PC), I've never heard of anyone locally who has had much of a problem. I
    do associate with a number of school staff who use Windows, who are
    decidedly vague about updates but who don't seem to have any sense of
    the state of siege Mossberg (and other writers) describes.

    Can it be that we are somehow off the radar here in our quiet country
    lane in the South Pacific, well off the Information Superhighway?

    --
    YAnewsWatcher.
    YAnewswatcher, Apr 16, 2005
    #1
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  2. On Sat, 16 Apr 2005 01:27:41 UTC, YAnewswatcher
    <> wrote:

    > I've just read Walt Mossberg's report from the WSJ, about the Digital
    > Crime Wave detailing the traumas facing computer users on the Net
    >
    > http://ptech.wsj.com/archive/report-200504.html
    >
    > To quote:
    >
    > > THE WINDOWS COMPUTING PLATFORM is in a genuine crisis. Windows computers are
    > > being attacked, every day, by an international army of digital criminals who
    > > seek to spy on users, turn their own computers against them and deface,
    > > corrupt or destroy their data.

    >
    > The oddity is that apart from a relative's account of a neighbour who
    > had 25 viruses on his computer (and unsupervised teenagers using said
    > PC), I've never heard of anyone locally who has had much of a problem. I
    > do associate with a number of school staff who use Windows, who are
    > decidedly vague about updates but who don't seem to have any sense of
    > the state of siege Mossberg (and other writers) describes.
    >
    > Can it be that we are somehow off the radar here in our quiet country
    > lane in the South Pacific, well off the Information Superhighway?


    Not from what my firewall logs report every day. I have never
    totalled up the number of "attacks" daily, but I would think I would
    get one serious attempt every couple of days and maybe 30-50 automated
    probes to see if I am vulnerable. Which I am not - not only do I run
    a proper firewall, but if they managed to get past it, it runs on an
    OS/2 box, so they would not know what was going on.

    Of course, I do run my own web, ftp and smtp (email) servers and have
    my own domain name, so maybe that all attracts more attention than a
    dumb client only type PC.

    One thing I seem to get almost every day is a set of pings from
    assorted addresses spread across the Internet arriving within about
    half an hour of each other. Allowing for dynamic IP assignment by
    ISPs, these look to come from the same places each time. But what
    good does it do them getting ping reply out of me? I have never
    figured out what they are trying to do.
    Stephen Worthington, Apr 16, 2005
    #2
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  3. In article <>, YAnewswatcher <> wrote:
    >I've just read Walt Mossberg's report from the WSJ, about the Digital
    >Crime Wave detailing the traumas facing computer users on the Net
    >http://ptech.wsj.com/archive/report-200504.html
    >
    >To quote:
    >
    >> THE WINDOWS COMPUTING PLATFORM is in a genuine crisis. Windows computers are
    >> being attacked, every day, by an international army of digital criminals who
    >> seek to spy on users, turn their own computers against them and deface,
    >> corrupt or destroy their data.

    >
    >The oddity is that apart from a relative's account of a neighbour who
    >had 25 viruses on his computer (and unsupervised teenagers using said
    >PC), I've never heard of anyone locally who has had much of a problem. I
    >do associate with a number of school staff who use Windows, who are
    >decidedly vague about updates but who don't seem to have any sense of
    >the state of siege Mossberg (and other writers) describes.
    >
    >Can it be that we are somehow off the radar here in our quiet country
    >lane in the South Pacific, well off the Information Superhighway?


    ... or could it be that this "walt" guy is paranoid as ? :)



    Bruce


    -------------------------------------
    The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.
    - George Bernard Shaw
    Cynic, n: a blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are, not as they ought to be.
    - Ambrose Bierce

    Caution ===== followups may have been changed to relevant groups
    (if there were any)
    Bruce Sinclair, Apr 17, 2005
    #3
  4. YAnewswatcher

    Steven Ellis Guest

    In the last 6 months every windows box I have been asked to inspect by
    clients had atleast one virus or piece of spyware present. The worst
    case was a machine with 6 viruses, 3 dialers, and over 1,200 damaged
    files.

    Most of these are casual home users with standard, and often out of
    date, antivirus and no firewall as they use a modem and didn't realise
    you could get hacked using a modem.

    One machine took close to 3 days to fully clean up, patch, and get
    appropriate tools installed correctly as some of the spyware was buried
    so deep that neither spybot or adaware could fully remove it.

    Most of my clients have now switched to using Firefox as their standard
    web browser, and have questioned why I get they to perform regular
    anti-spyware scans as the computers now don't alert on anything more
    than tracking cookies.

    Steve
    Steven Ellis, Apr 19, 2005
    #4
  5. YAnewswatcher

    DoggNZ Guest

    On 18 Apr 2005 18:32:42 -0700, "Steven Ellis" <>
    wrote:

    >In the last 6 months every windows box I have been asked to inspect by
    >clients had atleast one virus or piece of spyware present. The worst
    >case was a machine with 6 viruses, 3 dialers, and over 1,200 damaged
    >files.
    >
    >Most of these are casual home users with standard, and often out of
    >date, antivirus and no firewall as they use a modem and didn't realise
    >you could get hacked using a modem.
    >
    >One machine took close to 3 days to fully clean up, patch, and get
    >appropriate tools installed correctly as some of the spyware was buried
    >so deep that neither spybot or adaware could fully remove it.
    >

    <snip<

    Eeekkk. I would have been clean installing. "Sorry all your important
    data is gone..what do you mean you haven't been backing it up?..."
    DoggNZ, Apr 19, 2005
    #5
  6. YAnewswatcher

    Steven Ellis Guest

    In some cases a clean install isn't an option. I can present it to the
    client, but they might refuse. Plus a number of machines often don't
    have original installation media anyway, and the CAB files on the HD
    are infected. What joy.
    Steven Ellis, Apr 19, 2005
    #6
  7. YAnewswatcher

    DoggNZ Guest

    On Tue, 19 Apr 2005 15:20:59 -0700, phstpok <>
    wrote:

    >Steven Ellis wrote:
    >> In some cases a clean install isn't an option. I can present it to the
    >> client, but they might refuse. Plus a number of machines often don't
    >> have original installation media anyway, and the CAB files on the HD
    >> are infected. What joy.
    >>

    >Most fixes I do are along the same lines. Full of spyware/virii/trojans
    >etc. And of course backup is a foreign word.
    >
    >I usually drop the hd into a sacrificial box as slave and go from there.
    >
    >Rob


    Yeah..that can be the easiest way when it's running like a pig due to
    countless viruses and spyware. I've also removed the HD from laptops
    and used a USB cradle to give it the once over...very handy.
    DoggNZ, Apr 19, 2005
    #7
  8. In article <>,
    DoggNZ <> wrote:

    > On Tue, 19 Apr 2005 15:20:59 -0700, phstpok <>
    > wrote:
    >
    > >Steven Ellis wrote:
    > >> In some cases a clean install isn't an option. I can present it to the
    > >> client, but they might refuse. Plus a number of machines often don't
    > >> have original installation media anyway, and the CAB files on the HD
    > >> are infected. What joy.
    > >>

    > >Most fixes I do are along the same lines. Full of spyware/virii/trojans
    > >etc. And of course backup is a foreign word.
    > >
    > >I usually drop the hd into a sacrificial box as slave and go from there.
    > >
    > >Rob

    >
    > Yeah..that can be the easiest way when it's running like a pig due to
    > countless viruses and spyware. I've also removed the HD from laptops
    > and used a USB cradle to give it the once over...very handy.


    What proportion of Wintel users wind up in this state? I guess a lot of
    computers are in businesses and not even connected, but with email
    everywhere, a lot are. Plus all those home machines with spotty litle
    Herberts downloading 'stuff' willy nilly.


    I just don't seem to get the impression of any state of siege here in NZ
    that I have picked up on in the USofA.
    --
    YAnewsWatcher.
    YAnewswatcher, Apr 19, 2005
    #8
  9. In article <>, YAnewswatcher <> wrote:
    >In article <>,
    > DoggNZ <> wrote:
    >
    >> On Tue, 19 Apr 2005 15:20:59 -0700, phstpok <>
    >> wrote:
    >>
    >> >Steven Ellis wrote:
    >> >> In some cases a clean install isn't an option. I can present it to the
    >> >> client, but they might refuse. Plus a number of machines often don't
    >> >> have original installation media anyway, and the CAB files on the HD
    >> >> are infected. What joy.
    >> >>
    >> >Most fixes I do are along the same lines. Full of spyware/virii/trojans
    >> >etc. And of course backup is a foreign word.
    >> >
    >> >I usually drop the hd into a sacrificial box as slave and go from there.
    >> >

    >> Yeah..that can be the easiest way when it's running like a pig due to
    >> countless viruses and spyware. I've also removed the HD from laptops
    >> and used a USB cradle to give it the once over...very handy.

    >
    >What proportion of Wintel users wind up in this state? I guess a lot of
    >computers are in businesses and not even connected, but with email
    >everywhere, a lot are. Plus all those home machines with spotty litle
    >Herberts downloading 'stuff' willy nilly.


    >I just don't seem to get the impression of any state of siege here in NZ
    >that I have picked up on in the USofA.


    Quite. Paranoia. The US generally has got very good at it recently :)



    Bruce


    -------------------------------------
    The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.
    - George Bernard Shaw
    Cynic, n: a blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are, not as they ought to be.
    - Ambrose Bierce

    Caution ===== followups may have been changed to relevant groups
    (if there were any)
    Bruce Sinclair, Apr 19, 2005
    #9
  10. YAnewswatcher

    phstpok Guest

    Steven Ellis wrote:
    > In some cases a clean install isn't an option. I can present it to the
    > client, but they might refuse. Plus a number of machines often don't
    > have original installation media anyway, and the CAB files on the HD
    > are infected. What joy.
    >

    Most fixes I do are along the same lines. Full of spyware/virii/trojans
    etc. And of course backup is a foreign word.

    I usually drop the hd into a sacrificial box as slave and go from there.

    Rob
    phstpok, Apr 19, 2005
    #10
  11. YAnewswatcher

    Steven Ellis Guest

    YAnewswatcher wrote:
    > What proportion of Wintel users wind up in this state? I guess a lot

    of
    > computers are in businesses and not even connected, but with email
    > everywhere, a lot are. Plus all those home machines with spotty litle


    > Herberts downloading 'stuff' willy nilly.
    >


    Large corporates tend to have their own way of dealing with these sorts
    of issues. Small business is the biggest problem. It is getting harder
    to find a business machine that doesn't connect to the internet at some
    point for email or updates.

    Too many of these have inadequate tools to prevent compromise

    EG

    No Firewall
    Out of Date Virus software
    Very old Windows OS (95 or 98)
    Missing major updates to windows XP

    In some cases simply trying to update these boxes results in them
    getting compromised, especially when using dialup as it takes so long
    to update.

    Hence I carry a CD with all of the tools and as many of the patches as
    possible.

    Worst cases are home business that let their kids use the computer.
    They are usually totally hosed and would require a rebuild if any of
    their data was actually backed up.

    It has even got to the point where clients as how can they avoid all of
    these issues, and are considering switching to Macs as they can't face
    the constant virus issues they have with Windows.

    Mostly it comes down to a time/knowledge/hassel equation.

    I don't have the time/knowledge so how can I avoid the hassel.

    As to comparisons with the US, I actually think they are mostly fair.
    Where we differ is the lack of broadband penertration which means
    trojaned PCs are less useful when based in NZ.

    Steve
    Steven Ellis, Apr 20, 2005
    #11
  12. YAnewswatcher

    Scooter Guest

    On , , 18 Apr 2005 18:32:42 -0700, Re: Digital Crime Wave?,
    "Steven Ellis" <> wrote:

    >In the last 6 months every windows box I have been asked to inspect by
    >clients had atleast one virus or piece of spyware present. The worst
    >case was a machine with 6 viruses, 3 dialers, and over 1,200 damaged
    >files.
    >
    >Most of these are casual home users with standard, and often out of
    >date, antivirus and no firewall as they use a modem and didn't realise
    >you could get hacked using a modem.
    >
    >One machine took close to 3 days to fully clean up, patch, and get
    >appropriate tools installed correctly as some of the spyware was buried
    >so deep that neither spybot or adaware could fully remove it.


    3 days? I would have given it 30 minutes at the absolute maximum
    before I did a clean install and then given it back to then so
    they could reinstall all their data from backups.


    ---
    1234, the number of the guy who lives
    next door to the Beast (in Octal)
    Scooter, Apr 25, 2005
    #12
  13. YAnewswatcher

    Scooter Guest

    On , , 19 Apr 2005 22:54:21 -0700, Re: Digital Crime Wave?,
    "Steven Ellis" <> wrote:


    >Worst cases are home business that let their kids use the computer.


    Anyone who is running a home business and letting their children
    use the computer is bound to go out of business in a very short
    time.
    Don't give them any credit, make sure you get paid in cash,
    (folding notes or coin).
    ---
    1234, the number of the guy who lives
    next door to the Beast (in Octal)
    Scooter, Apr 25, 2005
    #13
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