On Being Ripped Off 96

Been rather busy in Ghana and Sierra Leone, hence not posting. Still much removed from the world of thought, but wanted to get one frustration off my chest. This laptop came with the really horrible Windows 8. I upgraded to the slightly better Windows 10.

I have now picked up a computer virus, as I am afraid happens very frequently when I visit West Africa, must be through the local servers or hotel wifi connections. I had not previously noticed that in upgrading from Windows 8 to Windows 10, my Kaspersky Pure Crystal anti-virus programme had disappeared.

I therefore went to the Kaspersky website and found a helpful page indicating this was normal, and giving decent instructions on how to update Windows 10, remove all vestiges of the Kaspersky Pure Crystal Product, and replace it with Kaspersky Total Protection 2015. Only when all was completed did I notice that the replacement Kaspersky product is a one month free trial of a limited version, after which I have to pay for the thing.

Given I had paid a lot of money for the Kaspersky Crystal Pure protection quite recently (and I think it was on an automatic renewal) I feel pretty ripped off. Am I being reasonable, or is it my fault for changing the operating system?

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96 thoughts on “On Being Ripped Off

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  • Tom

    It’s your fault for choosing windows unless you have money to burn on virus antidotes and the depreciation in the value of the associated hardware

  • giyane

    Surely all you need to do is find out from the company the original licence number from the copy you bought and paste it into the 1 month trial version. It should change you to the one you paid for. AVG works this way anyway.

  • craig Post author


    Two problems with this –

    The one I paid for, despite being Kaspersky’s most expensive product less than a year ago, does not work with Windows 10.

    Kapersky seem to put a lot of effort into making it impossible to talk to them.

  • John Goss

    My computer is still down after Windows 10 did an automatic update. The advice is to make sure you have all your important files backed up and install Windows 7. Windows 10 I understand has even more built-in spyware than all earlier versions. My problem came a few hours after posting the following appeal on behalf ot Dr Stephen Frost who is taking on the MOD. Could be coincidence. 🙂


    Incidentally, Stephen Fry has made a very generous donation to this appeal.

  • craig Post author


    If you move outside Windows or Apple you need computer skills I do not possess. Many people have tried to show me alternatives over the years but none of them is as easy for a technophobe as Windows, which is why it is so successful.


    I long ago concluded that any anti-virus products for Windows or Apple are scams. Case in point: John MacAfee. Suggest you and all readers try FREE Ubuntu Linux which includes FREE Open Source software catalogue and FREE anti-virus protection. Much easier to use than you might imagine. http://www.ubuntu.com

  • Sam Addison

    I would genuinely rather have to contend with a virus than the majority of anti-virus programs. They are little more than a protection racket, in my view. If I were a conspiracy-minded sort, I might ponder on the question of who would stand to lose the most if all these evil monsters who are continually writing and inflicting these “computer viruses” on the world were to stop it and do something more interesting instead…

    Unless you have some strong reason to stick with Windows, I would recommend that you switch to Ubuntu ( http://www.ubuntu.com/ ). It’s free, fast, and is far more secure (inasmuch as one can reliably make such a statement). ( https://help.ubuntu.com/stable/ubuntu-help/net-antivirus.html )

    If you are concerned about taking the plunge or losing your Windows environment entirely, you can install it alongside Windows, so you can choose which environment to use when you switch on. I did that once, and the number of times which I chose to boot to Windows after using Ubuntu was precisely 0.

  • Rich

    Windows awful.

    Someone in your position really ought to be using more-secure software.

    Use linux … ubuntu perhaps.
    Waaaay superior choice.
    Also it is free, opensource, viruses (and so virus protection software) not an issue.
    The list of benefits goes on and on.

    I seem to remember a couple of years ago you had a thread going on the same subject – there was good advice on that thread about moving to linux.

    Best wishes,

  • craig Post author

    Sam, Rich,

    Thanks. I am worried about the huge amount of historic material I have of all kinds in numerous formats all saved on a windows system. How does that work if switched over?

    I am afraid to say I have no doubt the security services put in sufficient effort to my own comms that nothing will be secure and best not to delude myself on that.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    If you move outside Windows or Apple you need computer skills I do not possess.

    May I respectfully dispute that? Apple Mac OS-X is closely related to UNIX, and in the current incarnations of Linux – also a UNIX derivative – you should find something very similar running under the surface. Ok, that’s under the surface. On reasonably recent Linux distributions, the surface may not look exactly the same as Windoze’ horrible abortions, but it does the same stuff for the user, and is a lot easier to set up as you want.
    I have two boxes, one running XP – the last ‘Doze release ever in which functionality trumped feature creep and design disaster – and the other Mint.I only use XP for some technical gubbins whose manufacturers don’t write Linux software, and Excel, which does fast Fourier transforms while the (free) Open Office equivalent doesn’t.

    I can move effortlessly between them, with one major difference – most Mint (and most Linux) software is absolutely free.

    Get yourself a cheap laptop, either download the latest Mint or Ubuntu* or buy a copy of Linux Nerd Monthly**, which will inevitably have a new (free) Linux distro on a DVD included, swallow your reservations for a week, don’t listen to anyone, but just make it work for you – there’s an abundance of help online – and tell me I’m wrong.

    Oh, and don’t use free wifi. Anywhere.

    * or get someone to do so for you, making a bootable disc image you can load the system from
    ** or a real magazine


    I would recommend you went over to a Mac. Not perfect but a lot less trouble with viruses in my experience and any Word docs or pdfs are readable in Open Office.

    You could I’m sure get around any unusual formats that don’t work immediately and would probably be keeping a Windows PC for a while during the switch.

    The Mac OS is a little different at first but altogether much more intuitive than Windows.

    Windows Vista killed PCs for me – looked awful and apparently was rubbish.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Your historic material will be perfectly recoverable in a Linux system running Open Office, as this handles .doc and .xml formats as well as its native file structures. .pdf’s are also completely accessible in most distros, nowadays.

  • Rob

    Strongly recommend LinuxMint, cinnamon version. It is an Ubuntu based version of Linux but without some of the aspects of Ubuntu that some people find objectionable (The distributors use Ubuntu to push adverts through, amongst others, Amazon). One of the aims is to rpesent a version of Linux that will be accessible to long-term Windows users.

    I am just in the changeover period between Windows and Linux and I’m finding Linux Mint to be very familiar and quite easy. Most files will be compatible; LibreOffice is very good at compatibility with MS Office files (unless you’re using some really obscure features).

    There are several major advantages of Linux over Windows or Apple products:

    – you will no longer be at the mercy of companies (no names, a lot of them do it) who use upgrades as mechanisms for getting you to pay more (or pay again, as you have found out, Craig) for software;

    – it is seriously, seriously more robust against all sorts of malware. Not perfect but much better;

    – it is open source, so again much better – not perfect, but much better – for preventing unwanted intervention and tracking (of whatever sort).

    Yes, there will be a learning curve, but I would strongly urge you to take the time to find a good communicator who can help get you up to speed quickly. With just a little bit of patience and perseverance, you won’t look back.

  • craig Post author

    I already use OpenOffice, have done for many many years. I might try buying a second laptop and running Ubuntu on that, after putting all my docs etc into a cloud? Emails are more difficult. I have never managed to preserve historic emails from one laptop to another (I download them on to Outlook or its successors)

  • YouKnowMyName

    I have successfully moved several friends from Windows 7/8 also to this hybrid ubuntu/debian Linux called MINT.
    They are *very happy*, (you can still keep an optional boot of Windows 7 with your old Kaspersky AV on the HDD, but hardly anyone who has the choice between the two uses windows again)

    Windows 10 is slightly better than it used to be but still an infosec disaster with a lot of metadata leakage, Windows 10 is probably the last version of Windows ever, it will simply be silently updated, at the whim of Microsoft, to do whatever they wish.

    On the cyber-security black market, Windows “zero-day attacks” are fairly cheap – several thousand dollars,
    Whilst the going rate for attacks against the iOS9.1 based Apple iPad is probably closer to a million dollars.

    You’re right that you can’t keep out the spooks, but you can make it hard/expensive for them. Windows isn’t hard or expensive to hack!

    1.4GB MINT download choice page if you have a small amount of RAM (4GB) http://www.linuxmint.com/edition.php?id=190

    BTW free Wi-Fi in Uganda causing ructions: http://allafrica.com/stories/201510260451.html

    opinion By Joachim Buwembo

    Imagine waking up in a cheap hotel in a tough neighbourhood in the morning and discovering that you never locked the door and it was open all night?

    That is the feeling many Ugandans got last week after the BBC aired an investigative report to the effect that free Wi-Fi in Kampala could be worse than no Wi-Fi at all.

    The report, which was picked by local and social media but vigorously denied by the government the following day, said that Uganda acquired sophisticated spyware to monitor people’s communications.

    It was like a mass Wikileaks. But this time instead of spooking a few elite types who had yapped too freely to American diplomats, almost everybody is affected. For it appears that the “free” Internet in several hotels in the city and Entebbe exposes all the users’ data and passwords to the spies.

    Opposition politicians, who the BBC report says were the targets of the technology acquired in 2011 to infiltrate and neutralise their Walk to Work protests, were understandably angry. But the rest of the people who on entering a hotel automatically ask for the Wi-Fi password were numbed by the report . . .

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Transferring files: probably best to copy them to a thumb drive – and copy these copies onto your destination hard disc, because thumb drives can die. Mint will happily deal with them. Outlook (and and its uncles and its cousins and its aunts) is a P.O.S.

  • MJ

    You don’t need to pay for decent anti-virus software. There are several free ones that do the job perfectly well eg Avast and Avira.

  • YouKnowMyName

    I put two links & comments for the 32 bit (small ram) & the 64 bit (>4GB) RAM laptops. The blog erased the second link & merged it with the first comment! so the link for low ram lappys is actually http://www.linuxmint.com/edition.php?id=189

    I just bought a fantastic ex-bank Lenovo Laptop on eBay model X220 Core-5 for £190, many are coming on the market as big companies churn their contract PCs. It’s around £1500 new, but you can get a very clean one from the auction site, ‘buy it now’ for just over 10% of the new=price. Simple to add solid state disks and extra ram afterwards if needed and it’s almost indestructible, much better construction than the ‘supermarket consumer laptops’ & has a real keyboard.

  • Scott

    Took the free upgrade here to windows 10…came across a plethora of websites that detail the steps to shutting down windows spyware, and changed from avira antivirus to comodo; as well as the free antivirus they also offer free firewall and browser (opera or firefox based). Maybe theres no such thing as a free lunch but to date have had no issues whatsoever. And no intrusive adds from Comodo suggesting I upgrade to a paid version (unlike avira).

    Perhaps Mint is the way forward ‘sometime’,but for now Im happy to stick with windows 10 & comodo if, for no other reason than I really cant be arsed playing with yet another operating system – been doing that ever since windows 3.11 for workgroups, and the ‘attraction’ to change yet again just aint there. Good luck tho with whatever.

  • YouKnowMyName

    BTW the malware virus writers have a room filled with many different PCs running windows + $anti-virus-product, they cover all the best free ones, Avira/Avast & all the paid ones Kaspersky/Macafee/Bitdefender/Norton etc. Their test candidate virus is subtly tweaked until none of the PCs with the latest patched AV product detect it, then it is released.

    in other words, PC antivirus software is close to useless, it does however occasionally tell you when you get an old virus from a second rate copycat group, but the biggest threat to windows are these subtly adjusted ‘zero-day attacks’ for which AV systems are worse than useless, they slow your computer down and give you a false sense of security. I currently just use the Windows built in malware detector, MSE etc, for detecting the “old-stuff”. Avoiding the “new stuff” is down to being paranoid, loading no remote-mages in mail, removing all Adobe products, safe networking, Wi-Fi use but only browsing over a VPN, using TOR for home banking, with online-footprint behaviour very similar to a terrorist

    I have no idea if any of my Windows PCs are running Regin at the moment, but I was ‘duqu’ed’ a while ago!

  • Ben-Outraged by the Cannabigots

    My Mac Book Air recently took a dump from Israeli malware. Somehow they were able to turn off the Firewall and have a ball. Had to buy software and technical support for 6 months for 200 bucks. A hell of a lot cheaper than a new laptop.

  • Ben-Outraged by the Cannabigots

    Regarding used laptops you may have MILSPEC auctions online. Bid and buy then pick up. Made like Abrams tank. Usual military overkill on specs.

  • Rich


    Yes perhaps a separate laptop would make sense.
    What you have is obviously still safe then, and you can always use your existing set up to fall back onto if required.
    You can also install ubuntu/mint/whatever-linux-you-choose side-by-side to windows (called dual-boot).
    There is lots of info online about install and buckets of help forums/websites.

    Your old data/files should be fine.
    Linux devs and devs of associated linux opensource software such as Libre Office, know this is a common user-requirement.
    Save all the files elsewhere first, in any case.
    Local storage such as cd or pendrive makes sense.

    If you are using cloud storage perhaps try an open cloud service (I use owndrive – https://owndrive.com/ – I have no affiliation or anything!),
    Owncloud keeps your data encrypted and in your own charge, rather than most cloud services which have access to your data and may be (are) mining/selling etc their users’ data.

    Try a VPN perhaps to encrypt your online traffic.
    Cheap and easy to install and run.
    Can recommend – https://mullvad.net/en/ – no affiliation – just a happy user.

    You can always save your email.
    Perhaps do a web search to find out how to do this for your particular set-up?

    Good to see your website uses ssl.
    As Snowden says ‘encryption works’.
    It aint guaranteed tho but, and interested parties will, like you say, be putting in the effort … but you can make it harder for them.

    In my opinion Mac is not a good alternative.
    Less virus than windoze yes, but suffers all the other probs like data mining, expensive hardware and software etc…
    Not open source.

    All the best,

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