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Sick of malware? Get ready to 'unload'

A Boston user group says its April 9 "Malware Unload-fest" will be chock full of lessons on how to find sinister code and boot it from your computers.

Worried that sinister code is flowing through the network despite your best efforts to keep it out? If so, a Boston-based...

user group believes you'll find better ways to remove it during Saturday's "Malware Unload-fest."

"This event is aimed at IT admins and consultants like myself," said George Perrine, a computer support specialist for Dover, N.H.-based DuraSys Corp., who will lead one of the day's workshops. "It is generally agreed that the level of Trojan and worm threats is increasing and becoming more and more sophisticated and harder to detect… We will be talking about and using the tools and methods to detect and remove these threats, and sharing our experiences with and between our peers."

The all-day event will be held at Microsoft's Waltham, Mass., facility. There is a $30 fee to help cover costs, with proceeds benefitting the Boston Area Windows Server User Group. The funds may also be used for similar events in the future. The full schedule for the day, along with details on how to register and how to get there, can be found online.

The group said the training will focus primary on Windows XP Professional with SP2, though Windows 2000 and Windows XP will also be addressed to some extent. The first half of the training will include a lecture and discussion on viruses, Trojans, spyware and other malware.

"We will cover all areas of malware and the like from prevention to eradication," the group said on its Web site. "We will also discuss how to know when it would be better to bite the bullet and reformat! In this session we will talk about where to go in different OS's to do cleanup. We will evaluate many tools on the market, demo these tools and let you know which tools to use and how to use them. At the end of the training you will be given a toolkit (CD) containing everything covered in the presentation."

The second half will be split into two tracks:

  • The Hands-on Lab:People can bring in their infected machines and Perrine and others will help clean out the bad stuff.
  • The Show-me Lecture: Lead by Dan Stolts, president and senior systems engineer for Lakeville, Mass.-based Bay State Integrated Technology Inc., this is a demo in which users can "walk through a dirty system and clean it up in front of the class."
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One group member said the training could help professionals avoid a lot of grief in the future.

"I think that one of the big issues with cleaning a machine infested with spyware or malware is deciding when the data on the machine is more valuable than the time required to clean it," said Pete Stagman, information technology manager for Dedham, Mass.-based Boston Home Infusion. "I, myself have spent countless hours trying to clean a machine with the customer hovering over me, wanting to know if they are going to lose their valuable data -- only to find after hours of work that the 'data' was some shareware or mp3 files that probably infected the machine in the first place. Then the customer complains about the bill."

If your user group is planning similar malware-removal training, contact Bill Brenner at

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