The Saga of the Modem...

The Saga of the Modem... Overcompensating for Content Since Michelle's Away, and Oh By The Way This is Rosie
PS: Michelle can click here to catch up with the end of the story

At work, Michelle and I (and the rest of the team) share a broadband Internet connection, via an ADSL modem.

A month ago, while I was sick, we began to have issues with the connection. The modem would fall over, so we would have to restart it (switch off + count to five + switch it on again) to get back online. Sometimes, this happened 5 times before 9am. Sometimes, it didn't happen at all. Michelle bore the brunt of this, since a) I was busy and b)she sits next to the modem.

Building Tension:
The annoyance levels at this grew to the point that Michelle was assigned the task of figuring out how we could get it fixed. The requirements were that the solution required the minimal amount of downtime. Firstly checking with the ISP, who said nothing was wrong with the connection, we hoped that the modem was actually at fault. Someone suggested that a powersurge had rooted the firmware. Michelle discovered that there was only one technician in NZ that could service that particular modem, and that would require a courier there and back... and probably a full day offline. She suggested that, since all company mail is accessible through the web, and there's an Internet cafe just downstairs, that it would be acceptable, but The Powers That Be Said no.

A New Modem
Fast forward a few days and the bloody thing is still falling over. The topic is considered again and the servicing price is compared against the price of a new modem. Well then, it is asked, why don't we just get a new one?

Good idea.

It is requested that James investigate the availability of modems. He does, and suggests one at a reasonable price. We provide this feedback.
Oh, but the modem hasn't fallen over this morning. It must be fine. Leave it.

Later: why isn't the modem fixed? Oh, M. said to leave it. *Sigh* It needs fixing. This is unacceptable.

Headlong, we are flung into unrelated busyness, during which there is no time to Be Still let alone worry about a stupid modem. However, we manage to order one and have it delivered. Oh, it seems we needed one with more ports in it. Last week, we got a beautiful little silver one delivered, and James is on the case.

What's that? We don't have the ADSL password recorded anywhere. Well, that shouldn't be a surprise. We'll have to get the password reset from the ISP's end, and that will mean that the old modem can't work, since we don't have the details to log into it. Typical. James will have to come back another day, when most of The Powers That Be are away.

Monday, the accountant passes on that P. says that the modem MUST be sorted out by Wednesday. He can't ABIDE working with the modem falling over like that, particularly because he arrives before Michelle and has to walk the length of the office to reset the modem. Not only this, but his ancient laptop becomes highly confused when the Internet falls over and tries to connect via dialup, requiring a reboot. James remedies this particular issue by moving G's old PC into P's office for him to use next time. G's computer has been lurking around, switched on, because it's used for CRM software.

Facing the Problem
Today, I arrive to the message that P is very upset that the modem isn't fixed. I pass the message back that James is coming in to fix it. P is going out for an hour. James arrives. We have one hour.

James calls the ISP, and changes the password. I update the IT document with all the pertinent information. James tests the modem. It doesn't work. He tweaks something on the server, and we have net! via the new modem!

I sent out a celebratory message to the team telling them that Everything's Fixed, Yay!

A few minutes later the Internet connection is down again. Shit.

We restart the new modem and we're back online. This is NOT good.

A New Direction
James inspects the router. There's an awful lot of network traffic going on, more than would be expected for the three monkeys with typewriters connected to it at the time being.


We isolate the traffic to the Computers Down The Hall. We isolate it further to the computers still on Thin Net, and still further to P's office, and to G's old PC. Ah. Curioser and Curioser. What the hell is creating all that traffic?

Maybe the network card is busted. James has heard of this happening. He swaps the network card with one from another old machine, the one with the clanky hard drive. It makes no difference. He swaps it back.

This is the old computer that has every spyware music software item in the history of the planet. Perhaps that is it.

We reinstall the virus scanner, and start it going. Seems to go for ages, no viruses found. Leaving it running, we download AdAware. Goodness me, lotsa spyware there! We uninstall all the spyware and dataminers lurking there - but the bloody traffic is still up. Flick back to the antivirus... oh, look, it's found one infected file! Then, 4, 6, 7,8,9,10, 14. Fourteen?! Crikey.

The culprit - 5 different versions of the Opasoft worm
, which
"sets a connection with the \\hostname\C resource(where "hostname" = the name of the victim computer which is defined when the victim computer answers Opasoft (by sending its "reply data") during the scan)
if the resource is password protected the worm runs through all possible "one symbol" passwords - conducting a "brute-force" attack"
James managed to get the thing off the PC - and, all of a once, the network lights stopped flashing so franticly.

It seems the issue was never actually the ADSL modem. But, we've got a new one, shiny and silver, instead of the old one that is the size of a phone book. Also, we can log into this one, since we have its settings.

The price of the modem was a fraction of the time we've all spent arsing around, researching prices, ordering and returning and installing modems, let alone all the traipsing back and forth and resetting it.

So. That is all. Annoying, eh?

Oh... nobody's read this far except Michelle, and she skipped to the end to find out what the result was. *sighs*

Hi, Michelle. I hope you had a good holiday.