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Die! Symantec Endpoint Protection, Die!

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Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Murder in Task Manager

Bonus points for originality were awarded to whomever it was on their network that kept punching in the wrong password for the domain admin account. I must have called my contact a half dozen times thanks to discovering that someone somewhere else had locked the account out. I pondered this for a while and then decided that for me to get anything done, Symantec Endpoint Security had to die.

Naturally it wasn’t very happy about this; it doesn’t allow you to easily terminate the process. In this situation, I can’t download any of the normal tools I would download to properly “kill -9” a windows process.

The process in question is preventing me from getting onto the internet to get those tools! Safe mode however changes the rules. By rebooting into Safe Mode with Networking, I could modify the service parameters. I was able to disable the service in the computer management console, and then murder it in Task Manager.

Thinking I was home free, I rebooted into regular Windows, only to find out that it refused to play with me unless the Symantec Endpoint Security service was running. Back into Safe Mode with Networking I went.

When I tried accessing the internet to get to Technet – and the Office ISO I needed to complete the job – I discovered that the network edge device was a Fortinet Security Appliance configured by some follower of Cthulhu.

Fortunately, I had a netbook and my HTC Desire. I set my Desire up as a Wi-Fi hotspot to share its internet connection with my netbook. I set the netbook up as a router and bridged its wired and wireless network connections. A quick change on the target computer to use the netbook as the internet gateway and suddenly I had access to Technet.

Had there been more than two computers to worry about, I would have set up a small HTTP server on my phone, downloaded the ISO to my phone and served it up from there. As it is, this solution cost me only about 500MB of my 5GB plan.

In the end, it took me three-and-a-half hours to work around all the security in place enough to do the simple job I was asked to do. I love a challenge; they are the fun part of this job. Still, the lack of organization and preparation on the client’s part cost them. I was there easily three times as long as should have been required.

The job had elements of fun – hey, I got an article out of it – but the inefficiency perturbs my inner nerd. What about you, dear readers? Share with us the best and worst of your “small jobs” in the comments section. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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