"I've been hacked," Dan M's boss said frantically as she arrived to work one Monday morning, "I don't know how it happened, but I accidentally left my laptop on at home, and now there's all sorts of adult-oriented pop-ups and desktop icons!"

As a software developer, it really wasn't Dan's job to fix his boss's laptop; there's a whole department called Desktop Support that's dedicated to that sort of thing. But he felt bad for her -- just think of how embarrassing it would be for a manager to have to call up the help desk and ask them to "clean up" her company laptop -- so he offered some help. It was either that or do some actual work.

He took a quick look at the computer and it was pretty obvious what had happened: someone spent a long while browsing pictures and downloading programs from all sorts of adult-oriented websites. It could have been the boss (a straight-laced Southern Baptist offended merely at the thought of someone thinking about a lady wearing a dress that exposes her ankles), her son (a fourteen year-old whose mother believes he's the Perfect Little Angel), or a random ninja who broke into the house and got distracted by the allure of the Free Internet emanating from her plugged-in computer. Dan didn't want to speculate who, so he simply told his boss that the infestation was a result of some rather prurient web surfing and hoped she might figure it out.

Dan spent the next five hours or so routing out the spyware, dialer programs, and all the other nasty critters that infested his boss's laptop. All he needed now was the Windows XP disk to reinstall a few drivers, so he rang up Desktop Support to see if they'd be able to help him out.

Dan: My boss accidentally picked up a spyware bug over the weekend; I was able to remove it, but needed to borrow the Windows XP disk.
Technician: Whoa whoa, slow down there. "Spy Ware"? What is "spy ware"?

After a brief explanation, the call was escalated to next technician who. He spent a good fifteen minutes chastising Dan for trying to fix the laptop and told him that a technician would stop by their area to pickup the laptop and "fix it properly." Fair enough; Dan probably shouldn't have spent so much time trying to clean up the laptop. But at least his boss won't be the laughing stock of Desktop Support -- only that annoying client who tried to fix their own computer.

The laptop was returned the following day. With it were instructions from Desktop Support:

When turning on your computer, you will be prompted if you want to run "Windows XP" or "Windows XP 2." It is essential that you run "Windows XP 2" -- the first choice will not work.

They were also thoughtful enough to tape a piece of paper above the screen that reminded her to select "Windows XP 2" upon boot. She called up Desktop Support to inquire about this and, more importantly, if they were able to save any of her documents/bookmarks. They said that the files were permanently gone and they actually had to reinstall Windows *twice* to make sure the spyware was completely gone.

Not that any of that mattered, though; a few weeks later, she returned to work reporting that she was hacked once again. The ninja must have returned.

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