Ouch! I Fell Off My Soapbox

So the other day, I downloaded a game mod and was mildly surprised to see that it was an .exe file. I double-clicked it even as I was thinking it odd that it wasn’t a .rar or .7z archive full of meshes and textures, and… Surprise!

fbi-cybercrime-division-b

I’m looking at this apparition thinking about all the times I’ve smugly told people that their best defense against malware is using their heads. Claire pointed at it and laughed – she had got the full lecture about stupidly downloading and running any old thing the last time I had to reinstall Windows on her box so she was really snarky when I got hijacked. She’s right though; I need to pay attention to my own advice. I mean, I knew something was a bit off and I ran the .exe anyway. Dumb.

I’ve gotten a lot less vigilant since I installed Ubuntu Linux a couple of years ago and have been using it for everything except games and one or two other apps that need .net Framework. Linux is inherently more secure and most of the malware in the wild right now targets Windows.

Fortunately the thing was just a garden-variety hijacker and easily removed. It could have been a lot worse.

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “Ouch! I Fell Off My Soapbox

  1. all that cyber-speak (well, i have a fairly good idea about .exe’s) — with each passing year i am not only in the slow lane of the INFO HI-WAY, i must be stopped off the road …

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    • Ann

      I bought my first computer back in the ’70s when, if you wanted it to actually do anything, you just programmed it yourself (and it came with a book that told you how). These days, Microsoft hides everything from you so you don’t have much of a chance of understanding what’s going on underneath the pretty window dressing.

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      • in the early ’80’s i was part of a research team (i won’t bore you with whatever boring studies, but) — we didn’t trust any software we didn’t write ourselves! that’s why i feel like i’ve gone from the left-hand lane on the hiway to parkt off the right …

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  2. Ann

    That’s about when I was rewriting some actuarial VisiCalc spreadsheets in COBOL on an IBM mainframe because the prevailing idea was that PCs were toys and couldn’t be relied upon for “real” computing. I kind of came away from that with the idea that a computer is a computer – it can be too big to fit into your basement or small enough to fit in your pocket, but they all share more similarities than differences.

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  3. Wow. So when you say hijacked, you’re saying that the .exe let somebody use your computer to look at the things it said you were blocked for?

    That is seriously horrible, if so. Of the .exe’s author, not you, of course.

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