Telemark, my friend? Please tell us what Operating System you’re running? Almost certainly, you have a “trojan” horse program being loaded at bootup time it seems to me. The rest of this post will help you I’m hoping…
For your reference, I own a software business which develops database systems for corporations which run over the web. Certainly, over the last 3 years, if there’s been a security hole which we could possibly have come up against, my employees and I have done the research and made the adjustments necessary to combat such holes… and it goes on still - every fortnight we have a security chat - we spend the whole day not doing programming but just searching the web for new dangers - if any.
Somethings to note, OK? Norton is a software tool, just like a word proccessor… it’s functions are different, sure, but it’s a software tool which depends in no small part on it’s future success by SCARING you into thinking the worst… if Norton can’t SCARE you, their sales will drop - so you should approach Anti-Virus software providers with a certain amount of cynicism.
Next, Norton’s anti virus service is very CPU hungry - I find consistently that it chews up 5% CPU on typical workstation PC - regardless of whether you’re online or not - such is it’s insistence on “second guessing” all the traffic which flows through your PCI bus.
Also, yes it’s true - Microsoft have justifiably earnt a LOT of shit which gets thrown their way - no questions about it. But to their credit, they DO implement fixes to holes in their OS and other assorted software packages like Internet Explorer when those holes are made public knowledge - they’re very pro-active about it actually. Almost every virus in the last 3 years which was designed to attack Microsoft machines did so thru the holes I just mentioned. If you make the effort to visit www.windowsupdate.com you’ll be astonished how easy it is to apply all the various Security Patches and System Packages - for free. And make no mistake, if you do so, you’ll almost certainly make Norton a redundant piece of software - this wasn’t true 6 months ago but it is now I feel.
That being said, as it stands, you’re concerned about things as they exist on your PC, right here, right now.
My single strongest bit of advice is this - use the Registry Editor to carefully observe what programs are being implemented at Startup time with, or without your knowledge. This, almost always, is the primary vector for nasty stuff - escpecially if “new infected files” are appearing on your PC even if you’re offline.
You’ll be wanting to analyse two major branches…
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE and HKEY_CURRENT_USER…
The sub-brances are as follows…
Software :: Microsoft :: Windows :: Current Version :: Run
Now here’s what you do OK? In those branches you’ll se the bootup programs. You’re gonna want to make a backup of your Registry Files, and THEN, you’re gonna look for the files which are getting called at boot up time.
Some will be profoundly obvious and safe like the Norton programs. On the others, don’t delete them, but rather, MODIFY the keys - in particular, modify the parts which say “.exe” to “.fuckoff” or something like that. This way, you get to keep the key, and you can always do a search on “.fuckoff” again if you get lost. By doing this, you render the key inert, but you keep the key for future use if you wish to reactivate it again.
I’m sure your fellow Dopers will be able to help you if you require more assistance.
I promise to help if I’m here over the next few days.