Somehow I’ve got a trojan on my home computer. I’m always very careful, but being caerful wasn’t enough. I’ve gotta stop doing dumb things.

I downloaded a file via BitTorrent. I scanned it with AVG, and it said the file was clean. When I opened it, my system got infected. Now AVG very helpfully reports every 5 minutes that I have this trojan in my system, but it can’t get rid of it.

The most annoying thing about this trojan is that it prevents me from going online. So I can’t even get the necessary information/fixes to get rid of it without using someone else’s computer. Today at work I’ve downloaded a bunch of trojan/worm removal software. Hopefully at least one of those programs will do the trick. In the meantime I’ll be posting a little less than usual.


John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. Oh, a virus. I was wondering how you kept the sharp corners from tearing it.

  2. Hmmm, I wonder if this means AVG is not effective!

  3. was the file you downloaded from bittorrent an exe?

    Just sayin…

  5. Spyware and adware hide in BitTorrent downloads
    Joris Evers, Staff Writer, CNET Published: June 17, 2005

    BitTorrent users beware, your download may include adware and spyware.

    Purveyors of the applications that pop up ads on PC screens and track browsing habits have discovered BitTorrent as a new distribution channel. According to observers of the trend, videos and music that hide adware and spyware are increasingly being offered for download on various BitTorrent Web sites.

    BitTorrent has grown into one of the most widely used means of downloading files such as movies or software. Unlike peer-to-peer networks such as Kazaa, eDonkey or the original Napster, no central search technology exists for BitTorrent. Instead, links to specific files are posted on Web sites.

    While applications such as Kazaa have long been associated with adware and spyware, BitTorrent has not. Until now, that is. Chris Boyd, a security researcher who runs the Vital Security Web site, found adware and spyware hiding in BitTorrent files.

    In one case, an episode of the Fox TV show “Family Guy” was bundled with several pieces of known adware, according to Boyd. “Under that kind of load, a midrange PC can easily go under,” Boyd said. Both spyware and adware are known to hurt PC performance because they use PC resources to run.

    In other examples, music files and porn videos came bundled with adware or spyware, Boyd said in an e-mail interview. He suspects that online marketers have launched campaigns to get their software installed on more desktops using BitTorrent.

    “This is one of the most egregious spyware infestations that we have seen,” said Alex Eckelberry, president of Sunbelt Software, a maker of antispyware software. “It is a major concern. It is going to riddle your system with pop ups, slow your system down and potentially cause system instability.”

    The downloaded files typically were self-extracting archives that would also install the unwanted software, Boyd said. In most cases, users would be presented with a dialog box advising that the extra software was about to be installed and given the impression that the install was needed to get access to the desired content, he said.

    However, Boyd found, it was possible to get access to the entertainment the user wanted without installing the adware or spyware. Simply declining the adware and spyware license a couple of times gives access to the content, he said.

    On his Web site, Boyd listed a Canadian company as one of the businesses that send out adware and spyware on BitTorrent. That company’s Web site appeared to have been hacked Thursday, with the front page replaced with a picture and a profane message stating that the company should leave BitTorrent alone.

  6. Be sure to run the removal utilities in safe mode (F8 when booting Windows). That’s also important when running adware/spyware/malware-removal utilities. Ideally, you’d want to boot from a clean partition or boot CD to run the utilities, but that isn’t always convenient.

  7. Tim P: haha, sharp anything needs to stay away from that area…

  8. Try using Ad-Aware if you haven’t already. I just used it when I had problems with this bugger of a trojan that claimed to be a spyware eliminator itself. It even changed and locked my background. And after removing the program from the control panel add/remove, it re-installed after restart. Adaware took care of it. And delete all temp/temp internet file folders at the same time.

  9. Wilson,

    I run Ad-Aware regularly, but this one wasn’t something Ad-Aware could handle.

    Fortunately it’s all gone now, though.

  10. im having a similar problem, how did you resolve this John?

  11. Wow, its like a year later. But my AVG said Bittorrent had a virus as well. I just deleted torrent and found another thing of its kind. If its another problem like John’s, I can’t help you.

  12. Pete,

    I think the software I downloaded at work helped me to get rid of it. It’s hard to remember now; that was a year ago.

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