Briefly, some of the issues: Even after a fresh install or even using a different computer on my old 2Wire DSL Modem/Router, used with AT&T High-Speed Internet, I find worrisome activity running on my PC. Not initially, but if I'm online for an extended time period I find resources being stressed, and upon checking, I'll find all sorts of processes, services and networks running that I don't see reason for. Typically, BIOS, command prompt, shadow volumes, hidden modem, remote network connections (including Windows mobile), home group networking, remote WMI alterations, powershell and/or NT functions are running -- none of which I knowingly ever use. (I only use one simple direct-connect public network for personal browsing, just myself on a solitary computer.) Investigating, I typically find hidden files, processes and unfamiliar user accounts, and much of what is running is remote network, root drive or BIOS-related. Upon disabling or removing some of what I find suspicious -- remote connections with security override access, for example -- those same files usually end up re-enabled sooner or later -- often with new self-protecting schemes obstructing further disabling, deletion or take-ownership attempts. I've also had security software and my firewall tampered with.
Anyway, since these issues (or my paranoia ) seem beyond my control regardless of my efforts, I'm wondering if a hacker with long-time access could have hacked my network modem, BIOS, disk drive, or motherboard firmware, and if so, can I re-install anew to feel safer, or otherwise secure them? Since I don't used Command Prompt other than an occasional system file check (SFC /Scannow), I can't help but wonder why it's so often running as a pathway for much of this suspect activity, and I would be happy shutting down access to it and remote networking, video processing, back server operations, and such), unless Microsoft must use them (sometimes, after a session of my probing and disabling, good ol' Trusted Installer will slither in, installing his secret modules and who-the-hell-knows-what-else. He can't be denied (or disabled), I've learned, and is one reason I concede some of the worrisome activity is Microsoft carousing about in the dark. )
I tried to update my BIOS, but HP's flash executable update failed due to being the same version (I still wanted a fresh, authentic copy, regardless, but it cancelled my attempts). I know very little about modem, disk drive, processor or other low-level firmware -- can original or updated versions be located and reinstalled? If so, can they be obtained at the hardware creator's website rather than via my laptop's manufacturer? (HP, upon realizing I've updated a Vista OS laptop to Windows 7, denies me access to updates and drivers because I'm running an "unsupported" -- though legitimate -- version of Windows on my laptop model).
I'll very much appreciate any advice or suggestions.
Edited by Kevin Paul, 15 June 2012 - 03:43 PM.