The Tom Coyote Forums will soon become part of the history
of the Security community. However, the owner Tom
Coyote Wilson is very much alive as owner of his new computer
The ownership changed in February 2005 and now the name of the Tom Coyote Forum will soon change. The name “The Classroom”
may also die with it .
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
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
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
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
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.