Clever marketing?
Posted: 03 January 2008 07:21 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Okay, this time I get a vague feeling of being conned. I can’t prove it, hence it goes in the “conspiracy” section.

I have gone 1.5 years without any virus problem on my laptop. I have it pretty well protected: anti-virus software running, an extra anti-virus check subscription with my ISP, a good firewall, no outlook but Thunderbird, no IE but Firefox, and I don’t click attachment if I don’t know what they are. I frequently scan my system, the last time was a week ago and it was clean.

Now, my (payed) subscription to the DAT files of a certain anti-virus software vendor whose anti-virus software I use, will expire in 2 weeks….

And loo behold: this morning suddenly a warning pops up that it “detected a virus” and has deleted it.

That is very timely, after 1.5 years no problems, right before my subscription renewal. Am I being conned by their marketing department here? I have that vague feeling….

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Posted: 03 January 2008 07:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Did it just advise you that it had detected “a virus”, or named a specific virus?  I was under the impression that anti-virus software was supposed to do the latter.  It also seems a tad odd that it deleted said virus rather than quarantining, or asking you to review the file before deleting (after all, it might not’ve been a virus, but a program or something you had deliberately downloaded).

So you might be right, there could be something dodgy at work by your software vendor…

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Posted: 03 January 2008 07:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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It did name a specific virus (I forgot which one). That it deleted it might be due to the settings I chose for my software. The virus should have been in an e-mail according to the software. That makes it double suspicious because:

1) the particular address has an additional anti-virus subscription at my ISP too that should have intercepted it;

2) I use Mozilla Thunderbird, which unlike Outlook doesn’t open and run attachments or scripts by itself. Hence the arrival of a mail with a virus should not trigger the anti-virus software on my laptop spontaniously, it should only if I clicked the attachment (which I didn’t, I had not even looked at my inbox yet).

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The Kruger-Dunning effect is rampant on internet fora.
J. Kruger & D. Dunning (1999), Unskilled and unaware of it: how difficulties in recognizing one’s own incompetence lead to inflated self-assessments. J Pers Soc Psychol. 77, 1121-1134

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Posted: 03 January 2008 08:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Hmm…the only thing I can think of (if this is a genuine virus that got wiped), is that you’d unintentionally picked something up, and your anti-virus software hadn’t updated to catch said virus - and it’d have to be a pretty new virus to catch anti-virus software unawares!  Highly unlikely, though, by the sounds of things.

It’s a pity you don’t recall what virus it was - it might be interesting to have a look as to what it’s specs were and whether your anti-virus should’ve already been checking for it.

And honestly, something like that would make me think about changing anti-virus software, not renewing my current subscription.

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Posted: 04 January 2008 12:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Are you sure it was a virus and not adware, a funky script or some other thing? Lots of AV programs filter these as well and will set off bells and other fear-mongering noise. Another thing, most AV companies maintain their own lists of “bad files” granted, 99% of the lists match across the industry, but each company usually has a few that are unique to their judgment. So, something that your email service passed on might get flagged locally.

Still, IMO the entire commercial antivirus industry is shady. I wouldn’t be surprised if your theory was true.

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