This is the research diary of researcher Lisbeth
Klastrup, since february 2001 sharing her thoughts on life, universe, persistent online
worlds, games, interactive stories and internet oddities with you on the www.
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©Lisbeth Klastrup 2001-2007
Apart from slowly returning to work (such as grading), I've spent part of this weekend trying to "debug" my Internet Explorer Browser who has recently started to act very weirdly. For instance, I would suddenly be redirected to a website called perfectnav.com every time I was supposed to get a 404. And I started to get strange pop-up windows as an effect of trying, as a test, to install the new version of Kazaa - and they didn't go away even after uninstalling the program (believe me, stay away from Kazaa or one of its clone programs since the free version comes with pop-ups and weird cookies from Gator and Cydoor which you can't get rid of even if you disarm and uncheck them from the beginning.)
So I finally installed Ad-aware again. Following, Ad-aware detected more than 450 mysterious cookies, registry entries and files in my system - it left me with an icky feeling similar to what you would probably be feeling if you had let a host of aliens visit your private apartment while you were at work, because you forgot to remove the "ALL ALIENS WELCOME" sign on your unlocked frontdoor.... Well, after having checked than none of them were actually important or innnocent files (none of them were), I asked Ad-aware to quarantine and delete all these files. Which Ad-aware did. And then my computer crashed completely when I tried to restart...As in COMPLETELY.
More research - i.e. rebooting in safe mode and restoring all the deleted files and then getting rid of them in small clusters - revealed that the source of all evil appears to be a spyware program called Webhancer. This source (read it and be shocked) and this source confirms that it appears to be one of the most evil spyware programs around. Honestly, it's worse than a worm or virus...or, rather, it IS strongly viral. It installs itself secretly on your computer, and combines with the system's winsocket - which means that it "monitors" all outgoing and incoming traffic to your computer (the data "packets"). If you try to remove it via Ad-aware, you crash your entire internet connection because it has become intertwined with the socket. In my case this means that my network connection and Norton Anti-virus won't open when I start the computer. And then everything is stalled.
The official Webhancer compagny's "solution" to this malfunction is that you consciously install the program - which they refer to as a "Customer Companion" (*shivers*) - "correctly", and then remove it via the add/remove program function in the control panel. Yeah, right - would I put my hand on a burning hot stove? A hardcore alternative is apparently to reinstall all your systemfiles :( or seperately reinstall the Winsocket again which I don't think you're able to do in Windows XP (because everything is connected to everything else. ARGH! (if I'm wrong please correct me...)
Currently I'm stuck with Webhancer, since I need the internet to figure out how to get rid of it. *desperate shrug*. So there are probably x compagnies out there who know exactly how many seconds I spent blogging this evening.
Meanwhile I'll go cry myself to sleep while mentally chatising my persona for ever subscribing to a Microsoft browser....
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My Other Places
Death Stories project
DK forskerblogs (DK)
klast at del.icio.us
Site feed Link (Atom)
Buy our book
Mobile Media 2007
Perth DAC 2007
My Ph.D. thesis website:
Towards a Poetics of Virtual Worlds
I also used to host & work in a world called StoryMOO.