Google Cache Saved My Life

Maybe that’s being a little overdramatic, but considering how much Google has been integrated into my daily life (courtesy of Firefox‘s search bar), how I can I escape using its capabilities to overcome the little frustrations of life?

For instance, way back when I used to update this journal manually, I lost half of the entries for June 2002. I was sick in anguish over the loss — until I realized Google had cached my entries for me. I was in raptures when I was able to restore my archives. Not that my writing back then was any good, but it had sentimental value. Ü

Recently I’ve been using Google to help me find ways to solve problems of the computer sort. My family treats me as if I’m a high-tech savant, but I’m actually clueless about what goes on behind the Windows GUI. The thing is I remember whatever I’ve done before, like installing a specific software program or configuring a Bluetooth dongle, and this is usually enough to help me pull us out of a jam. But when I’m in doubt, I run to Google for help. There are probably thousands of tech experts and geeks out there posting on bulletin boards about problems and fixes. All I have to do is figure out my problem, find the right fix by using the right search keywords, and it’s basically monkey-see, monkey-do from there.

Just last week, I found out that my dad’s USB flash drive had been infected with a virus. The flash drive was carrying a hidden payload that automatically ran the file “NETSVCS.EXE” whenever it was plugged into a computer. This file would then deposit copies of itself and three other files into the Windows/system32/ directory and make changes to the Windows registry so that whenever a flash drive (not just the original infected one) was plugged in, the computer would infect it with the same virus. And then presumably this flash drive would be used on other computers, which would then be infected, and so on.

By the time I discovered the problem, not only was my dad’s flash drive and this computer infected, but my mom’s and my own flash drive also had the viral payload. The blasted thing even infected my Ipod Shuffle (which is more or less a glorified flash drive with an internal battery). I went on Google using the suspicious “NETSVCS.EXE” filename as a search keyword. I ended up with pages of results about the AGOBOT trojan, but only one archived bulletin board webpage actually showed any promise of a fix. Unfortunately, the problem was relatively new and since the so-called “experts” from that bulletin board hadn’t verified the fix yet, they had deleted the relevant info posted.

I was just about ready to format my computer and give up the flash drives for lost (goodbye, precious files! *sob*) when I decided to check the cached version of that webpage. It still had the deleted info on it, which had a link that led me to a different bulletin board run by tech-savvy Filipinos. It had the fix for the NETSVCS.EXE flash drive virus.

So yeah, Google Cache may not have saved my life literally both times, but it saved my online life. I think that should count for something.

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10 thoughts on “Google Cache Saved My Life

  • August 17, 2006 at 7:20 am
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    That’s a neat trick, using cached pages for a dead site. Haven’t thought about using it yet. I guess I will now. πŸ™‚ Thanks for the tip. πŸ™‚

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  • August 17, 2006 at 9:41 am
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    Hey, I think I have that virus on my laptop! Is that the same one that won’t allow you to “safely remove” the flash drive from your PC?

    I think almost everyone in my college has that virus on our notebooks which, if I’m not mistaken, came from the terminals in the university laboratories.

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  • August 17, 2006 at 9:55 am
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    Will: You’re welcome. Hopefully Google was able to cache those pages before the site went down. There’s a few days’ delay in caching these days.

    Rob: That’s the very same virus. πŸ™ I find it helpful to turn off System Restore, boot in Safe Mode, and then follow the fix instructions. You should browse your flash drives with the “Hide system files” option unchecked so that all files are shown, and then delete the autorun.inf, netsvcs.exe, and other suspicious hidden files.

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  • August 17, 2006 at 12:01 pm
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    I could have sworn I heard my computer teacher said netsvcs is a valid Windows application. Agobot is the bitch that disguises itself as a trojan.

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  • August 18, 2006 at 10:37 am
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    The real Netsvcs runs off svchost.exe (“svchost.exe -netsvcs”). “NETSVCS.EXE” is the virus.

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  • August 22, 2006 at 1:41 am
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    I also have the same problem and was googling the the net for possible solutions
    thanks for your help
    i really owe you one πŸ˜‰

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  • August 22, 2006 at 11:15 am
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    Uh, even we tech support people use Google. I use the cache function for research in general. =) Be sure to turn on your System Restore again! It saves files! – Charles

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  • August 22, 2006 at 11:40 am
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    Jon: No problem! I hope you get rid of the virus. πŸ™‚

    Charles: Thanks for reminding me to check if I’d turned System Restore back on again. πŸ™‚

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  • August 23, 2006 at 1:55 pm
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    thanks for the info, my usb has the same virus too.

    Reply

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