Hard drive, he said: A Tale of Slavery and Reeducation
Alas, Even This Title Is Not By Me

Adventures in Vermiculture

The Diet of Worms

As Franz Liebkind once sighed when he ran out of bullets, "Boy, when things go wrong...."

The headaches associated with the downfall of my computer, narrated in the previous posts, continue. Here is our latest episode:

Somehow or other -- no doubt again through human error -- before my firewall and antivirus software were reinstalled, I managed to acquire a worm in my system. When I restarted the machine after firing up Norton Antivirus, that program sent me a continual series of alerts that I was playing host to the verminous W32.Gaobot.YC. Removal of the creature entailed running in Safe Mode, spelunking through the registry, strong emetics and iron fortitude. At one point, I inexplicably lost my DSL connection: it simply disappeared from the computer and could not be reinstalled without first reinstalling Windows XP Service Pack 1. Small birds and mammals were not sacrificed, but the temptation was great.

I think the tricksy wormses are gone now, but they seem to have left a peculiar side effect: My antivirus software is now unable to download updates. What is even more puzzling, I am unable to access the Web sites of the primary antivirus vendors: Symantec, McAfee, et al. are denied me. (I can access those same sites perfectly well via the dial-up connection on my laptop, so it's not a case of their servers being down.)

Googling leads me to no clues: there is no sign of this being a symptom of the worm with which I was infected, nor does my machine show signs of some other process at work. Methinks a call to the handy folks at technical support is in the cards for Monday, unless perhaps my readers can offer up wiser, less costly insights.

That's the trouble with sagas, isn't it? They just go on and on.


David Giacalone

A sagacious fool? A cyber Job? We webloggers can only say "There, but for the grace of Google go I."

You know far better than to take computer guidance from me. So, I can once again merely send my em-pathy. I hope that your saga doesn't turn into a soap opera or series.

Rick Coencas

Your lack of ability to get to antivirus websites, points to some kind of continued infection. There are trojans that do just that. You may need to get the latest update files from Norton on disk or emailed to you to be able to eradicate the virus.

Also suggest that you make sure that as soon as possible, get all of the Windows XP critical updates. I also tend to do the vast majority of recommended updates as well.

My tendency at this point would be to wipe the drive and start from scratch. I hope that it does not come to that for you. It's at least a day's work by the time you have all of your software reinstalled and are up and running again. Also be sure to scan the CDs you created of backup files from your harddrive crash. You could just be transporting the virus from system to system.

Now that I've properly frightened you, and my job is done for the day, I will go watch Evil Dead II.

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