Maddening cleansing

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Spent the weekend in Chi-town hanging out with an old friend and also checked a Yankee game. Although the Yanks came out on the losing end 6-2, we did take 2 of 3 from the team with the best record in the AL.
I was also asked to assist my friend with innoculating some school laptops, which were running winXP. Certainly not my idea of fun. Considering the fact that the machines were full of adware, spyware, and trojans, it was clear that this would be a huge undertaking.

I believe that there were a total of 25 machines. It took roughly 1.5hrs to disinfect each machine. We followed a very convoluted process, in an attempt to avoid restaging(formatting the hard drive) each laptop.

First we had to download the latest service pack and retrieve the latest updates. Of course after the updates was retrieved and installed, a reboot was required. Next we enabled the Norton antivirus, and installed the latest virus signatures. This process demanded three reboots. What a royal PITA. Next, we grabbed the spybot and attempted to cleanse the registry of adware. After identifying and removing the unwanted crap, we then installed the beta M$ anti-virus package. It too required network access for updates and yet another reboot. Do you see a trend here?

Finally, a safe mode reboot was required to run spyboot from the DOS shell. We again ran spybot to cleanse the registry of any lingering trojan or adware.

Once I had completed this process on two laptops, I proclaimed how absolutely counterproductive and costly this was to both client and the administrator. I asked, "Had you considered thin-clients?" The response was no, I had not. I strongly encouraged my friend to consider a more robust strategy. Clearly this evolution, had been visited earlier and thus my buddy was quite familiar with this maddening procedure. I wonder what was the recurring cost of managing these laptops? It is inevitable that the machines will again become contaminated with more spyware and trojans, as all the machines are equipped with IE web browsers. I offered Firefox as logical substitute.

Later I learned that the school did in fact have a Linux server, but it was only serving up webpages. Why not install a proxy that would prevent internal traffic from accessing known blacklisted sites? Squid - proxy came to mind. I promised that I would help accomplish the feat.

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    This page contains a single entry by AG published on August 21, 2005 10:31 PM.

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