Spyware is affecting even the network's Dear Leader

GCN Illustration by Michael J. Bechetti

You would think that with the way the Rat tends to run his networks, which some less-than-generous users have compared to the way Kim Jong Il runs North Korea, spyware wouldn't be much of a concern in his little corner of the world. But even in a networker's paradise, there are bound to be those who become twisted by the evils of the libertine capitalist world known as the Internet.

And despite continued reminders never to fall for the 'Click the Monkey to Win an Xbox' advertisements'and brutally tight browser and software management settings'there's no end to the number of people who, of their own volition, bring malware into the workplace.

'I blame individuality,' the cyberrodent sighed as he reviewed his hourly system audits. 'Why people feel the need to express themselves by loading their PCs with crap is beyond me. It makes me want to turn off their electricity and issue them abaci.'

The Rat has engaged in a daily battle to convince the unwashed masses that the computers they work at are not their personal property. But despite his best efforts, including an enhanced property tag that screams in 64-point neon-green type, 'THIS COMPUTER IS U.S. GOVERNMENT PROPERTY,' he's having a heck of a time breaking certain users of that delusion.
'This is the 15th time this guy has downloaded spyware onto his computer,' one of the whiskered one's acolytes groaned as he lugged a notebook PC into the support center. 'Every time we give it back to him, we explain the security policy and tell him not to download any more shareware games. And every time he comes back from a road trip and plugs into the network, he ends up getting quarantined.'

The wirebiter knit his brows. 'The system management software should be scrubbing that spyware off at boot. How's he getting around that?'
'That's the really fun part,' the help desk warrior replied with a smirk as he booted the infected laptop. 'He couldn't, so he decided he needed to reinstall the operating system. He put a copy of Windows XP Home that came with his wife's desktop onto it.'

The Rat's synapses began to smoke. 'XP? How the ... what applications did he use if he wiped the hard drive?'

'Looks like Microsoft Works and Outlook Express,' the floppy jockey said. 'And he says all the word processing files and e-mails are really important, so I can't just wipe and reinstall a disk image.'

'HE says you can't?' The Rat was foaming at the mouth now. 'Who IS this guy?'

'This is the deputy secretary's machine,' replied the Rat's underling, nodding toward corner-office land.

'Naturally,' the Rat managed as he narrowly avoided swallowing his tongue.
The Packet Rat once managed networks but now spends his time ferreting out bad packets in cyberspace.

E-mail him at [email protected].

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