Sunday, April 26, 2009

JUMA server virus alert

I just received an email from the webmaster of the JUMA website, informing me that their web server had been hacked some time on Monday 20th April and some files had been infected by a virus.

To say that I was displeased was an understatement. Most of the computers in our house run Linux, precisely for the avoidance of such troubles. But the shack PC runs Windows - after a determined attempt to use Linux - because Windows has so much better options for ham radio and related software. What's more, I don't run any anti-virus software on it, because it's not a very powerful computer and anti-virus software slows it down far too much. I never visit any of the usual disreputable sites, go in for file sharing or download illegal software, so I consider I'm pretty unlikely to get any malware.

I was also displeased because I have mentioned JUMA quite a bit in my blog during the last few days, with the result that many people will have visited the website, and possibly got infected, just because of me. Thanks, guys.

In order to see whether my computer had been infected, I thought I would try to install and run an on-demand virus scanner - one that would just sweep the hard drive and check everything once only, rather than one that sits eating up memory and CPU cycles all day long every day. But on-demand virus scanners are like hen's teeth these days.

First, I tried BitDefender Free. I was a bit unhappy that it required my email address in order to get a download link. It took ages to install, ran like a slug, and required me to create an account giving loads of details before it would update itself with the latest virus definitions. So I deleted it without even getting as far as scanning my hard drive.

Now I have downloaded, and am currently running, Dr. Web CureIt!, a free utility from the well-known (but not quite as well-known as Kaspersky) Russian anti-virus company. It's running at the moment, using very little memory and making no significant difference to the computer's performance at all. If it finds anything, I'll let you know.

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