Get Reliable Online Malware Advice

Usenet will always be the best place, for many, for looking for help. The true geeks hang out in the forums there, because Usenet (or its predecessors, the dialup bulletin boards) has been around before the Web.

The attractions of Usenet are several.

  • Easy access. Anybody with a computer, and either a newsreader (like Forte Agent or Mozilla Thunderbird), or with a browser and access to Google Groups, can access Usenet. Many people have no idea where Google Groups started.
  • No authenticated registration or identity verification required. Just read and write. Or just write (as the trolls and spammers will do).
  • No obligations incurred. You can write what you wish, and nobody will ever hunt you down in person to discuss your mistakes.

And there is a summary of the problems of getting advice from Usenet, without researching each forum carefully.

If you have a malware problem, you absolutely need reliable advice. Ask for help in Usenet, and you may well get advice from one of the trolls that hang out there. For reliable malware analysis and removal, get advice from a reliable forum which requires identity verification. All such forums are web accessed, and require authenticated registration, which is generally free, and should offer posting history with the helpers.

These are but 7 forums which help with malware in general, and HijackThis logs in particular. There are several others, too. You may find still more on your own. I will describe my favourites, 3 of the above 7.

BBR Security Cleanup has a very dynamic mix of helpers. With BBR Forums (of which the BBR Security Cleanup Forum is but a part), the experienced helpers there, like the other forums, are registered (thus have verifiable identity). With BBR Forums, though, there's a much wider range of expert knowlege; and with the helpers being registered, you can cross-reference all previous posts made by each helper. So it's easy to note which helpers are more trustworthy, and have more complete knowlege of what they write. To start asking for help in BBR Security Cleanup, you will do well to start with their FAQ: Mandatory Steps Before Requesting Assistance.

Conversely, I have watched SpywareInfo develop over the past few years. They have a management structure there, with a training and certification process, and very professional behaviour. That's not a place of frivolity, nor flaming, so anybody fearing Usenet (everybody posting to Usenet gets flamed eventually) need not fear SWI Forums. SWI Forums is very narrowly focused, on malware detection and removal, and they do a very good job of both. To start asking for help in SWI Forums, you will do well to start with their FAQ: How to remove spyware or a hijacker.

And Tom Mercado has been working with security for a good while, and is well known in the above forums. In TeMerc's Internet CounterMeasures, Tom offers a personalised approach, with same day response on HijackThis logs.

Whichever forum you choose, though, note that each forum has procedures which they want you to follow, which help the helpers there interpret your log accurately and consistently. That's to everybody's benefit. So be very diligent - read, and follow, the instructions they provide.

Work with the helpers, and they will work with you.