Viruses and Trojans and Spyware, Oh My!

In addition to being sick, my online time has been seriously limited since March 3rd, as we have once again been invaded by some alien software which is hogging our bandwidth.

We live out in the country and the only high speed internet is satellite. The least expensive option through our ISP is $49.95 a month. We’re limited to 7500MB worth of downloads. That’s roughly 250MB per day. My son and I are the only ones that use this internet connection. We signed up for a two year contract and have had this ISP since September 19, 2006 and never had any problems staying well below the limit until this past December when my computer had an infection.

In order to see our daily usage, I have to log in to the Admin Panel. Here’s the kicker… unless I log in EVERY SINGLE DAY, the daily usage doesn’t show up on the graph. AND on top of that, it’s not real time usage, at best it’s 24 hours old. When we had the problem solved in early January, I stopped checking the usage every single day. It’s just one more thing to have to remember on a long list of other things I have to be responsible for every single day.

What this means is there was a long ascending line from the last time I checked the usage on January 16th, until the next time I checked it on March 3rd. Just happened to be curious that day, only to find we were quickly approaching our FAP (Fair Access Policy) limit.

I use Grisoft’s AVG Free Edition for virus protection, and run Spybot Search and Destroy regularly to remove “spyware, adware, hijackers, and other malicious software”. I’ve also forced my computer into Safe Mode and run Trend Micro System Cleaner “SysClean” and SmitFraudFix. I found no viruses or problems. My son did find a backdoor trojan on his laptop. I am pretty sure he was able to remove it so that it is no longer a threat. I will have to ask him once he rejoins the land of the living.

Until we get to the bottom of the problem, my son and I now keep our network access disabled as much as possible. It’s very frustrating trying to do online banking, keep up with blogging and other assorted chores when one’s Internet access is severely restricted.

Our ISP suggested I change the password on our wireless connection, which I am going to do today, if I can figure out how to do that!

ADDENDUM 3 hours after posting: I have just downloaded the Rokario Free Bandwidth Monitor program which will help us track our daily usage. I don’t know why I didn’t think of this before! My son and I will use this program to keep track of our online usage from now on. The free version seems to contain everything necessary to track bandwidth usage. Blurb from the developer site: An ideal tool for the bandwidth conscious, Bandwidth Monitor enables you to keep a close eye on the amount of bandwidth accumulated over the current hour, day, week, month, or even year!

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