6/16/06: Spyware scare

Word count: 5787 | Since last entry: 887

Good progress on the writing in the last few days. I just wrote a horrific little scene that’s all the more scary because it’s not fiction at all.

I didn’t sleep too well last night, but it had nothing to do with the story I’m working on. As you may recall, we bought some software to help plan our trip to Disneyland. Well, a friend read this blog and decided he’d buy a copy too. But just as I was going to bed last night I got an email from him saying that his anti-spyware program had detected a keylogger in the Disney planner’s installer.

This was not a good thing. Keyloggers are among the worst kinds of spyware; they log your every keystroke and send them to bad guys who troll the data for passwords, account numbers, and other information that can be used to steal your money and your identity. I started wondering what secure websites I’d visited in the last few days.

But I ran a couple of different spyware checks on my system, and I read up on the keylogger his anti-spyware program had detected and looked for any sign of that one specifically, and I found nothing. Maybe it had been a false positive. I shut down and went to bed some time after midnight.

I rolled over at 6am and was instantly, thoroughly awake. I got up, booted the computer, and ran another couple of checks. Still nothing. But some spyware can be pretty stealthy. I submitted a copy of the installer program to my security software vendor. The automatic reply came back in a few minutes, saying that nothing obvious was found and that they’d get a human being to look into it.

By lunchtime I got the response: no sign whatsoever of any spyware. I asked my friend to send a query to his anti-spyware vendor. Eventually he heard back; they agreed that it was probably a false positive. Whew, and grr.

So: nothing lost but a few frazzled nerves. But it did kind of put a pinch on the whole day.

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