Tom Coyote Wilson initially started helping at the original Lavasoft Support forum (owners of Ad-Aware) in the mid to late 90’s. After leaving the Lavasoft Support forum, he moved to SpywareInfo. His desire to help people with computer problems, as well as adware and spyware infections continued and his fertile mind needing an outlet; found the answer with the opening of his own site: Tom Coyote. The Tom Coyote Forum followed, while he remained active as forum Moderator and Administrator at SpywareInfo. The Tom Coyote Forum had arrived with the help of other talented spyware fighters.
By 2003, the Tom Coyote Forum had found its place in the Security Community. All staff were seeing an increase in spyware infections and with it, the need for more trained people to help clean the victims’ computers. At that time there was no organized program for groups of ordinary computer users to learn how to help victims of spyware and adware infections. A very limited training program for a small group of interested people had been started in 2002 at SpywareInfo by Spyware Fighter , ‘cnm’, using Private Messages (PMs). As a school format would be able to train larger numbers of ‘newbie’ computer users, thoughts of setting up a school within a forum were entertained. With the help of several well known members of the Security community, Tom put the training program for anyone using a computer, into a format that could be used in a forum, and “The Classroom” was born.
As the first online school of its kind, it stood out as a beacon in the war against adware and spyware. (Malware, Root Kits and Identity Theft were only just starting to join the list of threats to the average person’s computer.) In early 2004, the Tom Coyote Forum became a target for the first DDOS attack on a security forum with a school. Though the DDOS attack was also directed at other Internet Security sites, the attack on the Tom Coyote Forum was so relentless that it literally knocked the forum off the internet, causing the forum and The Classroom to close for over a month. The scumware writers seemed victorious at first but within a day or two, the good guys were back at SpywareInfo. As “The Classroom” was forced to close, a new school to train spyware fighters was given the go-ahead at SpywareInfo and the “Boot Camp” was founded under the supervision of cnm. The second school for spyware fighters was now open for business. To continue their education, most members training in “The Classroom” found their way to the “Boot Camp” and training became more popular than ever before.
The Tom Coyote Forum and Classroom reopened during late March 2004 with some of the original students moving back from Boot Camp to the Classroom. While the Tom Coyote forum had been under the DDOS attack, many of the Classroom students, including myself, had graduated from Boot Camp. They were now trained Spyware Fighters, helping victims of spyware infestation, and were spreading out to other existing Security forums with some starting their own Security forums.
I give the impression that a graduate of one of the many security schools is fully trained. However, they are actually just ready to start learning how to help with the more complicated infections. A graduate is fully trained for easily cleaned infections and have a desire to learn more as they help the public. Graduation really means that a trainee no longer needs supervision and can be relied on to continue learning on their own. Internet Security is constantly changing along with the learning process and self-education is the biggest part of it. The infections change almost daily becoming harder to clean and more of a threat to computer security.
During the DDOS attack, Tom Coyote Wilson as co-founder, was instrumental in the formation of the Alliance of Security Professionals (ASAP) . Initially including a small group of internet Security sites affected by this DDOS, it has grown to represent the best Security sites on the Internet. An excellent source of information on Security Sites that provide reliable help, free of charge to the victims of malware and other scourges of the internet.
By late 2004, the Tom Coyote Forum and the Classroom were well-known, respected members of the Security community, having trained a rapidly growing number of Spyware Fighters. Training schools similar to the Classroom were becoming very popular, with several new teaching facilities joining the Classroom and Boot Camp as new Security forums. The mission of all schools in the community is to train as many people as possible, to clean up the mess left behind by the increasingly dangerous malware that continues to infect internet surfers’ PC’s.
In late 2004 and early 2005, Tom Coyote Wilson was suffering from serious health problems followed closely by personal financial loss. To keep the Tom Coyote Forum and The Classroom online and continue the work he had started, while getting some financial relief, his only option was to sell the Tom Coyote Forum while retaining an Administrative role, as part of the arrangement.
As time has passed since the sale in February 2005, inevitably there have seen many changes in the Tom Coyote Forums, some visible to the public, some not so visible. ‘The Classroom’ has evolved over the years with the most notable difference being seen in the operating staff. Though the atmosphere has changed, the quality of education appears the same.
We now arrive at August 2007 and the biggest change since the sale of the Tom Coyote Forum is now imminent. But where is Tom Coyote Wilson?
In June 2007 Tom Coyote Wilson gathered a group of Spyware Fighters together and asked them to help build his new forum AntiSlyware. After 2 months of hard work by Tom and this dedicated group, it opened to the public on August 13, 2007 and will continue to evolve as content is added. AntiSlyware is a special computer forum offering Hardware, Networking, Operating System and Software support as well as helping victims clean slyware/malware infections off their PC’s. At this writing, there is no school for teaching Spyware Fighters though we do have the trainees from Malware Removal University helping in our Slyware/Malware HijackThis Log forum.
At this writing “The Classroom” still exists, the Tom Coyote Forum is in the process of having its name and policies changed. Whether the Classroom will suffer the same fate, remains to be seen. Even if The Classroom is not renamed, the original concept and people behind-the-scenes are gone. You will find Tom, many of his staff, and his policy of putting the visitor first, alive and well at his new forum, AntiSlyware. . We’ll wait and see the results of these changes, and I’ll let you, the public, be the judge.