We are always doing research on what’s new in the world of malware and other computer infections. I ran across a story the other day, about a former investigator with the Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents who was fired in early 2007 when his IT department found illegal pornographic images on his hard drive. After being criminally charged in August of last year, he reportedly lost his job, friends and family. His wife did stand by his side.
It seems he used a Verizon wireless card that had a constant, wireless Internet connection, set up for him by his own computer people. Without proper security, the laptop would allow all sorts of malware and infections to continue operating — including some that could literally take over the computer without him knowing. It’s unclear at what point the laptop became infected with the malware that landed him in trouble. He’d have 40 websites hitting his computer in a minute. A forensic investigator, hired by his attorneys, discovered the flaw in the system which ultimately lead to the charges being dropped.
This case raises serious questions about government security. If a state-run IT department can’t configure a laptop properly, what can a person do to protect themselves from malware? Of course, security software should be able to catch most problems, but what if it’s misconfigured? Or in the cases we see the most, just plain ignored.
Recently a computer came in with all the symptoms of a serious infection. After booting, it was discovered the virus program we installed over a year ago had never been run, had never been updated, and it reminded me of the gentleman from Massachusetts. He thought he was covered but surfing the internet totally unprotected. This issue is becoming more serious everyday. The authourities are notified whenever child porn is found on a computer. And it’s hard to prove you didn’t do it.
The case from Massachusetts brings up some troubling questions. What if a person actually did realize that his PC was compromised with child porn? How could someone safely remove it? If an innocent user took it to the company’s IT department, he or she might get fired. A computer repair shop would probably alert the authorities, and there’s a good chance the police would seize the computer, arrest the user and start the prosecution process.
Is the answer to pour gasoline on a compromised laptop, light it on fire, and get a new one? Like I said we try to keep educated in areas like this and hope people will begin to respond to these issues more responsibly as they become more aware. If you think your computer is infected or being redirected when you are online, you might also consider it cheap insurance to get it dissinfected as soon as possible. At Computer Genius we are always looking for better and faster ways to clean your computer and get you safely back on the internet. Call us at 622-6006 if you think you might have a security issue, we’ll be glad to help.
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