Windows 8.1 warfare

By | April 5, 2015

I find it very interesting that Windows 8.1 has been released to the public for over a year now and until recently, I haven't been given the opportunity to disinfect yet.  That is, until recently.  In the past month, 4 systems have made it across my workbench.  The infections are getting worse and I'm having to modify my routine order of business to include a more in-depth analysis of client computers.

Before, my method was fairly simple and straight-forward and was basically 4 steps:

  1. Install, update and perform a full scan with SuperAntiSpyware
  2. Install, update and perform a full scan with MalwareBytes Anti-Malware
  3. Restore anti-virus software, update and perform a full anti-virus scan.

Now, this list has extended into a painful amalgamation of search-and-destroy.

Generally, the question is "Do I fight, or do I wipe."  More often, I am finding that backing up the user's data and wiping the drive is the only viable option.  This is frustrating to me because I consider it a personal failure against the idiotic hackers of the world.

Over the years, I have found a delay in warfare tool development following a jump in malicious software development.  I believe we are in another one of these lags.  Windows 8.1 provides the developer a wonderful platform for good, but, also, evil.

Prevention is key.  We need to get smart and protect ourselves.  It is always better to be proactive than reactive.  Most of my warfare of late is reactive.

My suggestions:

  • A single anti-virus program set to auto-update and a weekly scan.  Do not cancel the scan, let it run.
  • Two anti-spyware, anit-malware programs set to auto-update and a weekly scan, staggering the time of the scan.  Again, do not cancel the scan.
  • Always run Microsoft Updates.  Set to auto update and then check weekly for updates that need to be manually installed.
  • No toolbars.... period.
  • Use a browser other than Internet Explorer.  Internet Explorer is an excellent browser, but it is part of the operating system.   You infect IE, you infect your system.  Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera and dozens of others are fine.  I would stick with the top four.
  • Out-of-the-box:  Setup, create restore disks, and then remove all non-essential software installed by the seller/manufacturer of the computer.
  • If you have enough RAM, learn how to run a virtual machine to test software on before you install it on you main system.

We are under attack.  There are countries abroad that want us dead.  Cyber-warfare is real.  It happens everyday and we, as American Citizens, are the targets.  If they cannot get us by physical warfare, they aim for the meta-physical.

We cannot allow them to win.  Educate and arm yourselves.  The NSA is not the evil one.  There are much worse criminals than government workers trying to protect the security of the nation.

Thanks for reading,

Jay C. Theriot