Thursday, November 13, 2008

Antivirus 2009 email going around

I thought it was an email hoax at know, like the one about the 190 pound cougar that someone supposedly shot in Iowa...but I guess it's real.

Here's the email I received:

Another one, actually a malware, is called Anti-Virus 2009. It is a seriously obnoxious problem. You will go to a website that looks innocuous, and suddently this fake anti-virus program takes over your screen and you can't get rid of it. It tells you you have been attacked (which is true) and wants $39.95 or some such amount to get rid of it. This fake program looks exactly like Microsoft's anit-virus program and is a royal pain in the ass. Internet Explorer is made inoperable when it strikes. It was apparently created by some Russian creeps who now distribute it like some kind of franchise. It tried to mess with my Mac, too, but either couldn't get a grip or the program I have for malware, spyware, and other obnoxious stuff stopped it.

The only way I could get rid of it on my wife's pc was to downloadmbam-setup.exe from onto my Mac, make a CD of it, install on her machine, and turn it loose. I have the program, and if you want it I'll send it along.

It sure reads like one of those hoax emails that goes around. Microsoft doesn't have an antivirus program, for one thing. Also, why is anyone still using Internet Explorer? Haven't we learned our security lessons about Microsoft software yet?

I always wonder how much Microsoft gets paid by the antivirus software companies to stay out of the market. I mean, the fact that windows is insecure is their fault. And, they are certainly happy to take over the business model of any other company that writes software.

Anyhow, a little digging revealed that it's a malware program that you get by going to a bad or compromised website.

Another method of distributing Antivirus 2009 involves tricking you by displaying deceptive pop-up ads that may appear as regular Windows notifications with links which look like buttons reading Yes and No. No matter which "button" that you click on, a download starts, installing Antivirus 2009 on your system. Antivirus 2009 installs on your computer through a trojan and may infect your system without your knowledge or consent.

So yeah. Hope the guys who wrote this get their karmic comeuppance.

The other thing that was a surprise to me in that email, was the fact that Malwarebytes is a real program, and that a lot of people recommend it. I hadn't heard of it yet, which is strange cause I get asked to help people with this sort of problem a lot and so I pretty much keep up with developments in the field. Not lately, I guess.

Just for fun, here are a couple of links that talk about removing this spyware.

Enigmasoftware Antivirus 2009 Removal Instructions

Removal instructions at BleepingComputer

Note that I am not recommending Enigmasoftware or Bleepingcomputer or their instructions as I have not had this problem and so don't have any personal experience getting rid of it (yet).

So, use Firefox and keep your shields up when you stray off the beaten path! (how's that for mixed metaphores?)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Left4Dead demo has a virus in it?

(Update: I was using an old, trial version of Nod32. Updated copies of Nod32 apparently did not make this mistake.)

At least that's what Nod32 thought.

I installed the demo via Steam and after it finished (2GB download!), I tried to launch the game.

Steam told me, "This game is currently unavailable. Try again later."


So I g-g-googled it, and the Steam knowledgebase told me to rename ClientRegistry.blob, to delete a bunch of files in the Steam folder, to verify the game cache...yada yada.

What the problem was, was that Nod32 quarantined the Left4Dead executable. I just happened to notice the quarantine take place when I tried reinstalling the game.

So, I set Nod32 to exclude the Left4Dead folder from scanning. Now it works.

Except for the stutter.

Also, Left4Dead is going to be a Really Fun Game.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Electromagnetic radiation is unlikely to cause cancer

I think this is interesting...
The proton precession magnetometer operates on the principal that the protons in all atoms are spinning on an axis aligned with the magnetic field. Ordinarily, protons tend to line up with the earth's magnetic field. When subjected to an artificially-induced magnetic field, the protons will align themselves with the new field. When this new field is interrupted, the protons return to their original alignment with the earth's magnetic field.
I didn't know that protons had any spin on them. Cool.
Here is some more info: about solar radiation.
"Insolation is a measure of solar radiation energy received on a given surface area in a given time."
"The radiant power is distributed across the entire electromagnetic spectrum, although most of the power is in the visible light portion of the spectrum. The Sun's rays are attenuated as they pass though the atmosphere, thus reducing the insolation at the Earth's surface to approximately 1000 watts per square meter for a surface perpendicular to the Sun's rays at sea level on a clear day."
I thought it was 100 watts, but it's 1000. That's the peak power. The average is 250 watts:
"The actual figure varies with the Sun angle at different times of year, according to the distance the sunlight travels through the air, and depending on the extent of atmospheric haze and cloud cover. Ignoring clouds, the average insolation for the Earth is approximately 250 watts per square meter (6 (kW·h/m²)/day), taking into account the lower radiation intensity in early morning and evening, and its near-absence at night."
Image:Solar Spectrum.png
Here is a chart of the wavelengths of solar radiation at the top of the atmosphere (yellow), and reaching the surface (red). Cell phone frequencies are on the infrared side of visible light...wayyy off the chart on the right.
(A nm is a nanometer, 1 billionth of a meter. Cell phone signals are at a wavelength of a foot, or 304,800,000 nm. Microwave ovens are at a wavelength of 112,400,000 nm or 4.8 inches.)
Now, as we go left on the chart, the emf's have more energy. X-rays are off the chart on the left. They are called ionizing radiation. They have so much energy they can break the bonds that hold molecules together, creating ions. They can break molecules in cells, in the DNA.
RF radiation does not have enough energy to break molecules.
X-rays have about 1,000 eV of energy, while the photon energy of radio waves from cellular phone towers is about one millionth of an eV, not enough to alter molecules in the body.

The difference in energy: 1000 vs 0.000,001

Looking at the chart, RF radiation is to the right of Infrared radiation, therefore, RF radiation has less energy than the infrared radiation from your oven, or fireplace. Even visible light has more energy than EMFs.
And, here is some info from
Moreover, public exposure near cell phone towers (Way more juice than your phone) is not significantly different than background levels of RF radiation in urban areas from other sources, such as radio and television broadcast stations.

What Does the Epidemiologic Evidence Say?

No human studies have focused specifically on cellular phone towers or even on radio waves more generally. Several studies have looked at the effects of radio waves and microwaves combined; these have generally not shown any increase in cancer, except for a US Air Force study that suggested an increase in brain tumors in association with radiofrequency/microwave exposure.

What Does the Animal Evidence Say?

A number of animal studies have been conducted, generally showing no carcinogenic (cancer-causing) effect of radio waves. Several experiments have used exposure levels that cause a rise in tissue temperature(!), and even in these studies, there was no increase in DNA mutations or in cancer. A recent review concluded that: "The scientific evidence indicates that exposure to radiofrequency radiation fields is not mutagenic and is therefore unlikely to act as an initiator of carcinogenesis.” (Emphasis, mine)

If you want to know about how microwave ovens work:
Solar radiation:
Cell phone radiation from
with lots of references and citations
Off on a tangent...Again.

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