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?

96 thoughts on “On Being Ripped Off

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  • Republicofscotland

    Unfortunately I can’t really contribute on the computer thinky, as I’m a complete luddite, though it does sound to me that you’ve been ripped of by Kaspersky.

    One note of intrest though, can’t you try system restore to a prior date, it may work.

  • Republicofscotland

    Talking of rip offs, David Cameron is the only leader of a UK major political party NOT to have signed the agreement to protect the NHS from the dubious TTIP deal.

    Maude Barlow chairwoman of the Council of Canadians, sees the TTIP deal as similar to the Canadian, US Mexican deal.

    Barlow said the deal was a disaster for democracy, as corporations sued the Canadian government for billions, billions paid by the tax payer.

    Barlow continued with, the deal badly affected workers rights, with the Canadian government too afraid to pursue the matters, due to the ability of the corporations being able to sue them.

  • Pyn

    commercial av is a mugs game however owing to the advertising and fear-mongering a very profitable source of ongoing revenue for the purveyors.

    av can be easily defeated by any non-rudimentary malware.

    if a malware stores its true shellcode in a minimally obscured manner within a char buffer in the data area of a dll then this is sufficient to prevent an av from detecting that code at load time. av only scans the text areas of dll’s and proggys on windows.

    av *intercepts* system call requests by putting it’s own identically-named functions in between the running application and the underlying system libraries. this can by bypassed by simply dereferencing a pointer-to-function that is assigned the value of the system call address (aslr only slows down and doesn’t defeat this.) the av doesn’t even know that calls to recv and send are occurring so it doesn’t have an opportunity to examine the content.

    net-net av only works against malware that doesn’t make even a basic effort at evasion so is effective only against nuisance-level mals. in consideration of this the merit of paying *any* amount of money for av is questionable at best. the fact that your selected vendor is compelling you to pay for it all again by discounting the sunk cost you have into an earlier version of their av just sharpens the focus on this.

    switching to a different platform brings its own issues. an underlying vuln in all ‘nix-es is the X11 graphics system that runs as root and can be accessed by any user however this is scarcely mentioned at all. os/x users suffer from a heavily-hacked bsd unix that is soft to all manner of subversions.

    my personal opinion is that any personal os installation is temporary and disposable and is best managed on an image basis i.e. once the malware is installed and slowing things down just delete the entire image and recreate it from a protected source. i have the need for some old xp and win7 environments that certain software absolutely requires and run no av on them at all; just some local firewall and process execution monitoring software that blocks everything by default and has approved applications and internet addresses white-listed. i appreciate that this is only effective against nuisance-level malware however ultimately, commercial av is not really better at this despite its cost and disruption to your operation system.

  • Republicofscotland

    Meanwhile the Red Torie branch manager in Scotland Kezia Dugdale, has received a huge slap down from her head office in London, over her plans to make the branch office in Scotland a little bit more autonomous.

    Lord Blunkett, said Dugdales plans would threaten the identity of the Red Tories.

    I didn’t think Labour could become anymore chaotic, but I’ve been proved wrong.

  • nevermind

    Craig, Clark introduced me to Ubuntu and after running 10.4 next to windows by simply partmentalising the hard disk, I ran both of them, but not simultaneously.
    My hard disc packed up and I managed to save all my emails to file, got another new suitable hard disc and installed ubuntu 12.5, ditching windows forever. You will be able to save all your files and emails, just take your time with it.

    I’m surprised Clark has not piped up yet, he’s full of good advice on matters of open source software and pretty good with ‘welding’ hardware together and make it work.

  • Republicofscotland

    Labour’s stance on the Tax Credits cuts:

    Labour are calling for a motion to stall the changes pending an independent investigation, of the impact of Tax Credit cuts.

    So Labour aren’t calling for an outright ban on the bill, just who and what do Labour stand for anymore, it’s certainly not the less fortunate in society.

    Meanwhile, and I was gobsmacked to read this, the Church of England bishops expressed regret at the cuts to the needy, but they would allow the changes to be made.

    Bring back the Borgias, they’d be more sympathetic than the Church of England, to the poor.

  • Mary

    Ed Vaizey is currently answering an urgent question on the Talk Talk ‘data breach’ mostly saying what we already know. He is a DCMS minister second to Whittingdale.

    Self described as ‘useless’.

    ‘Vaizey came under fire from MPs from the Public Accounts Committee for “mismanaging” the introduction of high-speed broadband, who branded it a “rip off” for taxpayers.

    PAC chairwoman Margaret Hodge said: “The taxpayer has been ripped off with £1.2bn going to the shareholders of BT. The programme to extend superfast broadband to rural areas has been mismanaged by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.”

    “If you (the government) had devised it differently, had bigger areas for the contracts so you could spread your costs more, allowed different technologies to be used and insisted on a 100% coverage, we would have found other people in the game and I bet we would have spent less of the taxpayers money.”‘

  • Mary

    Reminder. The author Milton Mayer wrote
    ‘They Thought They Were Free – The Germans 1933-45’.
    http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/511928.html an excerpt

    By e-mail

    ‘Join us on 2 November, when War on Want will be supporting the TUC and union members from all over the country who are coming together to London to lobby MPs and rally against the undemocratic Trade Union Bill.

    War on Want is proud to be part of the international labour movement, and the fight for workers’ rights has been a top priority throughout our history.

    It is really important that you make your voice heard. Your MP needs to hear your concerns that the Bill will not only undermine the right to strike but that it is also a threat to all of our rights at work.

    This is an ideological and unnecessary attack on 6 million trade union members. The Bill, which applies to England, Wales and Scotland, includes plans to:

    Introduce a threshold of 50% turnout for industrial action ballots and – for what are defined as ‘important public sector services’ – a requirement of at least 40% of all eligible voters in favour of action.

    Lift the ban on using agency workers to replace permanent staff during strikes.

    Require unions to inform police and employers of strike plans 14 days in advance, including any proposed use of placards or loudspeakers, blogs or social media; and insist the “lead person” on any picket line wears an armband and gives their details to police and employers

    Overall the Bill is a shocking attack on the right of UK workers to challenge their employers.

    Join us for the rally at 1pm at Central Hall in Westminster to hear some inspirational speakers, and then at 2.30pm you can head off to the House of Commons to meet your MP and explain why they should vote against the bill.

    If you can’t make it to the lobby, you can easily email your MP or arrange to see them at their constituency surgery and tell them why it is so important to you that they vote against the Trade Union Bill.

    Do let me know if you can come and please share this email to your friends and colleagues.

    Trades Union Officer
    War on Want
    25 October 2015

  • Richard Gadsden

    You should find that the Pure Crystal key works with Total Protection – I did this change on my Dad’s PC a month or so ago and it worked fine.

    What you will need, though, is the original key from Kaspersky. I suggest checking back in your older emails from when you paid, it should be four or five groups of random letters and numbers joined by – something like KXCVB-RG5JH-AITM4-6TKHX.

    If you are using OpenOffice, please upgrade to LibreOffice.

    OpenOffice got bought out by Oracle and the original programmers that wrote it quit. They were able to take the code with them, but not the name, so they had to rename it to LibreOffice. Oracle claim that OpenOffice is still supported, but it takes them months to fix security problems that LibreOffice fix in weeks.

  • Mary

    Parliamentary meeting on Syria: the case against military intervention

    Monday 2 November 2015
    House of Commons, 6.30pm – 8.30pm
    Committee Room 10
    Westminster, London SW1A 0AA

    Chaired by Diane Abbott MP, Shadow Secretary of State for International Development

    Speakers from different parliamentary parties tba including:

    Alex Salmond MP, SNP’s Foreign Affairs Spokesman
    Lindsey German, Convenor of the Stop the War Coalition
    Andrew Murray, Chair of the Stop the War Coalition

    Come and hear the arguments against the British establishment’s addiction to permanent war. Even Julian Lewis, the Conservative chair of the parliament’s Defence Select Committee, has warned about the folly of risking a military confrontation with Russia in this way.

    RSVP here. https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/syria-the-case-against-military-intervention-tickets-19250327247

  • ------------·´`·.¸¸.¸¸.··.¸¸Node

    There’s a risk-free fast and easy way of trying out a Linux operating system to see if it suits you. Download and install this free Windows programme :


    This programme allows you to run any Linux operating system directly from a USB stick without installing it on your computer. If you’ve got a USB flash drive with at least 4 GB of memory, you can be up and running within 30 mins. Try this:

    Insert your USB stick into your computer and run LinuxLive USB Creator

    step 1: choose a USB key or drive in the list [Choose the USB stick you’ve just inserted]
    step 2: select an ISO file or a CD [Choose to download Linux Mint 17.2 Cinnamon]
    step 3: choose the size of persistent data. [Set this to zero for now. Any new files you create will be lost when you log out, but you’re only experimenting at the moment. If you want to be able to save files to the USB stick, choose 2GB and you’ll have 2GB of writeable memory, but the stickwill take half an hour longer to be created]
    step 4: check the options you want [choose nothing]
    step 5: click the lightning button to start the creation.

    That’s it. In 20 mins or so you’ll have your bootable USB drive. Switch off your laptop and insert the USB stick. Switch on again and press the key to enter the boot menu. Which key this is depends on the make of your laptop, check the instructions if you don’t know. In the boot menu, use the arrows keys to select ‘boot from USB’ and hit enter. The new operating system will load, ask you for your wifi password, and away you go. Experiment, explore, you cannot harm your laptop.

  • Roderick Russell

    Windows certainly doesn’t make it easy to back up one’s emails. However, a friendly computer expert can show you where your email files are located on your computers and how to back them up. Indeed one can buy drives that back up your data, including email files, automatically.

    The key with backing things up is to make sure that (1) your back up media is always offline, and, keep copies offsite too and (2) that if your back up gets infected that you have other forms of backup that that you can use to recreate your data. As for anti-virus programs – none of them have worked well for me; save your money and use windows defender.

    West Africa is West Africa and having virus problems there is just par for the course. I know it’s a nuisance but probably all one needs is just common sense about backing things up. However if the security services get involved with you, as they seem to have been (i.e. muddy footprints in your apartment, etc.), then you need to take your backup processes rather more seriously.

  • Tony M

    Have only run Linux since the late 1990s. I have every email (spam excepted) sent or received going back over 15 years; from isp with fetchmail, to postfix for delivery to local user (me) all on the same machine, at fingertips. I cannot fathom why people use cloud-based or webmail services.

    $ uptime
    17:50:12 up 111 days, 15:18, 5 users, load average: 1.63, 1.23, 1.11

    Up for the last 111 days, and that then was due to the mains going off.

    Any variant of Windows is THE problem. I’ve long given up on Linux advocacy, preferring to let people wallow in their own shit, some -many people want the Fisher-Price activity centre interface, the viruses, the anti-viruses, the grief and helplessness of Microsoft dependency. They spent 95% of computer time fighting with the o/s and its inadequacies, instead of doing useful productive work. My response is a moronic Ha-Ha.

  • glenn

    Tony M : Try this for size mate –

    # uptime
    6:16pm up 3500 day(s), 17 min(s), 1 user, load average: 0.00, 0.00, 0.01


  • pete

    Re “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?”

    If you have Linux Ubuntu set up you can still read and write to the partitions on your Windows disc drive. If you don’t want to install it alongside your Windows system you can run it from a memory stick or from a CD, providing you can change the boot option on your PC. There are free equivalents to Windows Spreadsheet, Document and Presentation software (The Libre Office Suite) that will allow you access to your old documents.

    The safest way for you to do a switch would be to remove the hard drive from your PC/Laptop, put in a new drive and install linux on that. Put the old hard drive in a docking station and plug it into a USB port and, presto, all your files are there, unchanged. Linux allows you to encrypt your hard drive, if you wish to do so, for added security.

    On the Kaspersky site it is possible to download their System Rescue image, which, if you burn to a CD and boot up from the CD, you can run to try to sort out the virus on your system. They do not charge for this. The system rescue disk is based on Linux…

  • Republicofscotland

    “What just happened in Portugal? Oh dear, am I off topic?”

    The left managed to form a government to block the Conservative austerity plan aimed at paying back billions of loans in Euros from the EU.

    They ae being hailed as the Portuguese Syriza.

  • Bob smith

    Craig, I now do most of my work on an iPad and rarely switch on my Windows laptop. When the laptop finally fails, I will by a MacBook. The trouble with this approach is that the moe people who go down the apple route, and they are with phones, the more viruses attacking apple are likely to appear. There is no easy answer.

    I stopped using McAfee, Norton and Kapersky as they are, as you have found, rip offs. I use AVG on the laptop and am very happy with it. It does not seem to slow the laptop down like the others and is reasonably priced. I also use anti malware software.

  • Mary

    Was this schoolboy the hacker?

    Boy, 15, arrested in Northern Ireland over TalkTalk hack

    If so, Talk Talk looks rather stupid.

    Dido has contacted BAE Systems.

    TalkTalk CEO Dido Harding warns of cyber security ‘arms race’ following website hack

    ‘The chief executive of TalkTalk has warned of a “cyber security arms race” threatening all UK companies as she revealed she called in defence experts over the hack of its website.

    Dido Harding said she contacted BAE Systems, which supplies cyber security to government agencies, following the attack which saw swathes of customers’ data stolen.

    She also warned any company in the UK could be vulnerable and said she still was unsure how many customers had been affected.’

  • Iain Orr

    Has the Commons been ripped-off by the House of Lords (extending Craig’s theme to tonight’s UK politics)? Voting on tax credits (secondary legislation) meant that the “fatal” LibDem amendment was defeated by a large majority ; the Cross-bench motion (delaying implementation until the government took account of the analysis of the effects) was agreed by a majority of 30 (307-277 ) and the official Labour amendment – strengthening the cross-bench motion by calling for delay until a three-year package protecting the lowest paid has been agreed – was then agreed with a majority of 17 (289-272).
    The lessons? A fine result for Labour: good tactics and effective speakers in the debate; over-ambition by the LibDems; political problems for the Conservatives (Boris will be pleased at this result). Labour’s argument was : “We agree that the cost of welfare payments is too high. You say this will be solved by improved minimum wage and economic growth, fuelled by the private sector. We say: adressing inequality and improving public sector investment in key areas are more effective than Conservative state subsidies for friends in the private sector. Our amendment forces you to prove that your economic strategy is working rather than assume that it will work.”

    No, the Commons was not ripped off. The weight of argument in the Lords won this crucial vote.

  • glenn

    Trying to be on topic… this is an extremely sad day for me. My very dear old friend has been ripped off to the tune of about 40 years of life, thanks in large part to the cynical exploitation of the vulnerable by the manufacturers of these super-strength “white cider” ultra-cheap self-poisoning kits, and the neglect of social services (although he never had one word of blame for anyone but himself for his condition).

    Despite being about the cleverest person I ever met, a compassionate socialist, a talented musician, a delightful person to know, he succumbed to illness brought about by his fatal weakness for alcohol and died a pretty miserable death. RIP, JR. I’ll treasure the memories.

  • Aidworker1

    The Snowden claims are amazing. All our smart phones can simply be switched on to hear and video our conversations.

    Don’t doubt for a minute they’re following our computers this way.

    Craig back up to a memory key.

  • Tony M

    Glenn: Almost ten years without a power interruption or a kernel update? I think you’re having a laugh. Are you running RH6 with a 2.2 kernel?

  • Clark

    Jeez, where to start?

    In comparative tests of anti-virus software, a good score is usually that about 97% to 98% get detected by the software under test ie. about 2% of known viruses go undetected by any given program. But a typical anti-virus scan reports that it is scanning for about 200,000 “threats”. Well 2% of 200,000 is 4000, so even the best anti-virus leaves you exposed to around 4000 known pieces of malware – and gawd knows what that has never been detected yet – someone remind me how long Stuxnet was in the wild before it was detected.

    Next, if you don’t have an operative anti-virus program, what is happening that makes you think you have a virus?

    Er, I hope you’re at least not using Invasive Exploiter Internet Explorer.

    Do you have an ad-blocker installed? Lots of malware comes from ad servers.

    And finally, on topic – are you being ripped off? Well, do you care more about money or ethics? It is unethical to use proprietary software because it deprives users and hackers of freedom:


    But yes, you’ve been ripped off. And so have I, by Orange (now EE) which is why I can’t contact you to offer my help.

  • glenn

    Tony M: No, straight-up – no deception there. It’s running a fully patched Solaris 2.8, a fairly stripped down kernel, and we’re looking forward to celebrating its 10th year of continuous running in several months’ time. Mirrored disks (via SDS), I’ve replaced a couple of them now, along with a PSU – all hot-swappable, of course.

  • Macky

    @Craig, I’ve also had Kaspersky on automatic renewal for some years now, but recently cancelled the renewal for next time; the reason being that this year I paid for two licences, for both the desktop & laptop, did the desktop, but delayed for a while on installing Kaspersky on the laptop. When I got around to it, I was greeted was a message that I had missed the window period for installing the new annual licence that I had just purchased a few weeks ago ! Trying to contact Kaspersky to help it this sorted was a nightmare, so I gave up & instead installed the free Avast AV, hence the cancellation of the automatic renewal, as I will also be installing Avast on the desktop when Kaspersky expires again.

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