Monday, June 15, 2009

It’s The End of the World as we know it (and I feel fine)

In my last exciting episode we discussed a revenue generator for my Geekonomic Stimulus Plan called the “Vundo” Trojan virus. A Trojan virus (named after the big wooden horsey that Brad Pitt hid in so he could steal the hot princess) comes to you as an innocent looking email attachment, pop-up ad or “greeting card” from an unknown friend. When you execute or click on the link, the Vundo Trojan revels itself as a false antivirus program that uses scare tactics to persuade you buy their bogus antivirus software.
Well, there has been some interesting news regarding this virus over the past couple of weeks that I’d like to share with you. The first bit of news was the revelation of the motivation behind this fake antirust program. I already knew that the makers of this antivirus program were making a killing off of us but I had no idea of the depth of the killing. According to an article at, the Ukrainian criminals were raking in an average of $10,800 per day during one 16-day operation. If my advanced Alabama math is correct, that’s darn close to ELEVEN THOUSAND DOLLARS A DAY! I briefly considered incorporating their strategy into my own Geekonomic Stimulus Plan but just thinking about competing with the Russian Mafia makes me wet my pants.
My point in telling you this is that 11k a day is a very strong motivator. As long and as us end users are fool enough to send them stacks of our cash, they will not go away.
In related news, the same groups of criminals are stepping up their strong arm tactics. Their latest strategy involves using outright extortion by holding your data hostage. A new variant of the Vundo Trojan actually encrypts you pictures, document and spreadsheets until you fork over some cash for a program called FileFix Pro that will supposedly unlock your files. As of 19 March, no anti-virus programs appeared to detect this latest version of this virus.
The last bit of news is a disturbing report of a widespread virus called Conflicker that is supposedly set to do “something” to infected computers on April 1st. No one knows what this thing is going to do on April 1st. Some say it is an April Fools prank. Other speculations range from simply generating lots of spam to a worldwide conspiracy to steal data from computers. Whatever the case, the whole thing will likely be revealed by the time you read this article. I’m going to go ahead and stick my neck out and predict that this thing is a small-time virus that amounts to nothing. I’ve seen too many pumped up scares like this before and know that the ones that get you are the ones no one sees coming.
As usual, these things are generally pretty easy to avoid by running Windows Updates, updating your antivirus software and practicing safe computing with a dash of common sense.

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