Steve (Infinity) DeRyck 03:55pm Feb22, 2005 

Spyware and Adware are two terms that bring out the worst on the internet. They are an insidious presence. This may sound rather Odin-esque, but the simple fact is, this software can reside on your computer and work against you by providing relevant data to corporations or (gasp!) the government.  Short for MALicious softWARE, malware adds registry entries, installs trojan horses, and often rewrites your configuration. The fine line between malware and viruses is very blurred. Malware is often used as a broad range definition for all hostile software that is found on your machine.

Wondering where it all started? KaZaA. Initially, KaZaA would display advertisements while running. They would be pop-under Internet Explorer advertisements. As a result of these ads having poor performance, KaZaA then began to allow the installation of third party applications, the worst of which was Bargain Buddy. Bargain Buddy scans web pages that you are visiting for relevant keywords. It then works by determining an advertising campaign and displaying the ad.  As KaZaA became more and more popular, others started realizing the profitability in malware. One question I receive often is how to programs such as KaZaA make money. They make money by stealing your time and computing resources. They log private information, and collect e-mail addresses that are sold.  As KaZaA became more successful, it lead to development of many other file-sharing networks, such as Gnutella, Limewire, iMesh, Bearshare, AudioGalazay, Groxster, BitTorrent, and others. Most of these networks began as free file-sharing networks, and now have evolved into a spyware-ridden "service."  One of the best articles on the history of malware was written by Mike Tuck (more)

Malware now poses a serious risk to both your privacy and efficiency. As a result, there is an exigency to prevent spyware and adware from executing on your computer. However, most are ignorant as to some of the methods that can be employed to prevent malware from ever running on your PC.  The ignorance changes now.  The first step in blocking these unwanted parasites is by using a HOSTS File. The HOSTS File works much like an address book. When you type an address into your browser, such as "," Windows consults the HOSTS file to determine if you have the IP address, or "telephone number," so to speak, for that site. If you do, then your computer will call it and the site will open. Otherwise, the computer will ask your Internet Service Provider (ISP) for the telephone number before it can call that site.  Your computer has its own unique "telephone number." This number is always Now, by putting the names of all the adware and spyware servers into the HOSTS file and then having your computer believe that the "telephone number" for all these sites is itself; it will never ever be able to send or receive data from these sites. Your computer can and most likely will have other addresses, either statically assigned or dynamically assigned, however the IP is always, without fail, assigned to the local computer (i.e., your computer).  The most complete HOSTS file that exists today is currently maintained by

The second step is to download and install a couple of pieces of software that I recommend for the removal of Adware and SpyWare.  The first piece of software that should be installed is Ad-Aware, by Lavasoft Corporation.  Ad-Aware is the premier anti-spyware tool available today and has been downloaded over 105 million times in the last year alone. The software is available as a free download for personal use, and is very easy to install and use. I would recommend that when you first install Ad-Aware that you perform a "Full System Scan", and correct any problems that Ad-Aware detects. Once this scan is completed, I would perform a "Smart System Scan" to determine if something was undetected during the first scan.  Periodically, Ad-Aware will require a reboot to rid your computer of unwanted spyware. Once you have rebooted, it is recommended that you re-perform a "Full System Scan." Unfortunately, Ad-Aware is not foolproof and occasionally there will be malware on your computer that Ad-Aware does not possess the ability to rid your machine of.

To remove the unwanted spyware, I recommend a piece of software known as HijackThis.   Please be very careful when using this software. HijackThis will show you a list of all programs currently running on your PC, including those that are not malware-related. If you shut down a critical program, you may cause Windows to stop functioning.  Once you have launched HijackThis, click on the "Do a system scan only" button. This will provide you a list of all software currently running on your PC and the ability to terminate the running program forever. If you are unsure as to what software to terminate (if any), I would advise you to seek out the advice of someone more knowledgeable.

The third and final piece of software that I endorse is Crap Cleaner.  Crap Cleaner is more of a system optimization tool than a malware remover, however it does an excellent job of removing unneeded and unused files from your computer and Windows Registry.  Once you have downloaded and installed Crap Cleaner, you will find that it contains two essential tools: A file cleaner and a registry cleaner. The file cleaner removes files that are not needed by your system, such as temporary files, internet cache files, log files, deleted files and in recycle bin, and many more. The registry cleaner scans your registry and presents a list of issues that may be causing problems. I generally recommend that you scan your system using the file cleaner and registry cleaner two or three times each in succession. This will ensure that all offending items are disposed of out of your computer.

This is the procedure that I have used many times to completely remove malware from a non-functioning PC, while still allowing the end-user to happily continue surfing the Internet and use file-sharing software.  Addendum: As the reader will notice, I have not touched on viruses or virus scanning. While I wholeheartedly endorse a virus scanner, it is not the central focus of this article. I will however, post a follow-up article on virus protection.


09:00pm Feb16, 2005 

Well there goes the season!  The National Hockey League announced today that, because a new collective bargaining agreement has not been realized, it no longer is practical to conduct an abbreviated 2004-05 season...  "Every professional sports League owes its very existence to its fans. Everyone associated with the National Hockey League owes our fans an apology for being unable to accomplish what is necessary for our game and our fans. We are truly sorry." stated NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman today as he announced the fold of the season, here is his official letter to the public, and also a letter from Harley Hotchkiss from the Calgary Flames repeating much of the patronage...  I can't decide if I'm pissed-off over this or more worried that NHL Hockey will land its ass in the same mess Baseball did when it took sabbatical from the fans; I didn't miss a baseball game (...until the strike...) and when it returned, I've since watched about two games (...and that's not a lie...) -- best of luck guys, but me thinks you best be strapping on the skates and playing the "game" real fast, you're not untouchable -- perhaps a nice big round of firing is in order -- replace all the players with fresh farm kids who want to play.

Porting of the Abattoir Archives has taken much longer than anticipated...  The smallest staff member of the Abattoir ( sMyles...) seems to have a fascination with MeatMans' big, shinny, chrome power button on his computer; regardless, I managed to scrape some time together and pounded at the Archives for several hours -- nowhere near done, but the seasons that show in the Archives are fixed and we hope to have the rest back online and trimmed-up shortly.  If you want to wander back in time, take a cruise though our eventful past in the LAN Minutes Archives (...let us know if you find any busted links and such!..)


09:00pm Feb14, 2005 

Ever hear a sound bite that's just too funny not to share?  (...rhetorical question I suppose...)  This little gem's been circulating the last short while which I first heard on CFRB1010 on Friday past that had me laughing so hard I was wiping my eyes...  As the story goes; this is a (alleged) voice-mail message left by an operations manager of "Jack in the Box" States side, who called his boss to inform that he was running late for a meeting they had scheduled -- as he's leaving the message from his car he witnesses a car wreck right in front of him... A man runs a red light and spins around a car full of "old ladies", when the man approaches the car the beatings begin and our roving-road-reporter gives the play-by-play! Turn-up the volume, this one is guaranteed to bring a smile to your face -- this voice mail was forwarded and played so much within the Jack in the Box corporation that it crashed their phone mail system.. (please do not direct link)  ClicK!

Happy Valentine's Day everyone...  We hope you all have that special someone to shed some love on; if not, then we're sure you're free on March 05th for BTM46 "Front-Line" Edition!  If you do have a special someone in your life, if he / she loves you, then what better a way for your significant other to show it than to let you out for a BTM LAN Party!  Just an FYI here, there will be a return of Battlefield 1942 at this BTM, so don't miss your chance to rush the front line and poke someone in the eye.  Head to the Sigh-Up Page and get your name in!


06:15pm Feb07, 2005 

So when will BTM46 be!?  After exhausting research on the matter, we decided that we don't know how to do exhausting research, plus it just sounded too exhausting...  The vote went out on Abattoir.BBs and the people have spoken (...or clicked, as it were...)  We are now accepting reservations for BTM46 "Front-Line" Edition to be held March 05th, 2005!  Supporting Members had first crack, now everyone else gets to throw their name in...  Don't be left out, that includes all you fence sitters out there who have been writing in asking questions -- take a chance, sign-up and come see what the fuss is all about before the BTM sells out and you're left at home playing with yourself again; worst case scenario, you'll end up having fun!  (...on a personal note: PuNKeR, you're far overdue for a BTM!..)


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