Every now and then, a nightmare scenario pops its head above the parapet.
For the last couple of days I have been suffering an army of them.
The first sign was probably a couple of weeks ago when a six week old laptop hung up on me. I managed to revive it and thought no more about it.
Two days ago, the same laptop started crashing. It would work for a while, then hang for a minute or two before descending onto the Blue Screen of Death.
Once again, I managed to revive it, but my suspicions were more than aroused. I ran a multitude of diagnostics which all came up clean. I then ran a deep anti-virus scan and that is where I found the cause – a deeply embedded Trojan.
You may ask why I didn’t do a scan at the start? In fact, all my machines run the usual anti-virus, anti-Trojan, anti-spyware and firewall software, but this one had somehow slipped through.
About three weeks ago, I revived an old PC that hadn’t been used in about two years. I needed it for a single function, for which it was ideal. Naturally, its virus signatures were two years out of date, and I updated them immediately, but my theory is that the Trojan snuck in during the update period. It then spread through the network, infecting my laptop and causing the resulting havoc. I still don’t know how it breached the defences, which are normally very tight.
The obvious thing to do then is to run deep scans on all the machines on the network, which I did, and this resulted in another laptop failing completely. Obviously the Trojan had infected a system file and the AV had then removed it, rendering the whole system unstable.
So, to date, I have had to reformat and reinstall on two machines. This machine that I am currently using is now up to about 80% strength. There are a load of packages yet to be installed, and I have then to customise the whole interface to my personal preferences.
The other laptop has a slightly dodgy CD drive which means constantly rebooting to get the drive to run properly. I am currently trying to load the OS on that one, and will have to reload all the software if and when that is successful.
The other two machines seem to have survived the attack, and are now clean, having been thoroughly disinfected.
My problem now is that if I miss any element of the Trojan, the fucking thing is going to replicate, and I will be back to square one.
I can’t win.