Sunday, January 17, 2010

Two computer viruses, 16+ hours of hell. Why, why?

There's a new telenovela starting on Monday, and as usual - being dueña of the world-famous Caray, Caray! blog - I kick it off by translating the plot teaser. So I visited, Univision being dueño of the telenovela. But I will not link to it because - it gave me a horrible computer virus (or worm, I've never figured out the difference) ironically named "Internet Security 2010." From
Once installed in the system, Internet Security 2010 produces a variety of fraudulent messages about non-existent malware. The scare messages are designed to scam the user to purchase a subscription. These scare messages are very frequent and insistent making the computer unusable.

The performance of the computer progressively gets worse as more malware is downloaded on certain systems and execution of most applications is blocked. The Windows administrative functions like Task Manager, Regedit, cmd etc,. are blocked. Frequent messages about Internet Explorer crashing is displayed.

A rogue security software such as Internet Security 2010 belongs to a family of software products that call themselves as antivirus, antispyware or registry cleaners and often use deceptive or high pressure sales tactics and deliberate false positives to convince users into buying a license/subscription. They are often repackaged and renamed. They do not actually remove malware instead many of them add more malware of their own.
Here's a sample screenshot:

Ugh! Sparing you the ugly details of the failed attempts: eventually I used an uninfected computer to find the series of anti-spyware software recommended to remove this virus. They are (and you have to use them in this order):
  1. Dr. Web Cure-it
  2. MalwareBytes (I'd already tried this but it didn't work until after I ran Dr. Curit);
  3. CCleaner Slim.

So you'd think that was enough, wouldn't you? but no. The next day I got the "Google Re-direct Virus." When you click on many (not all) search results - it can be in or too - you are taken to weird advertising sites, some of which evidently will give you additional malware.

This one took hours. and hours. and hours to resolve. There are many different solutions proposed online and lots of them are scarily technical. What finally worked for me:

  1. sdfix.exe
  2. malwarebytes
  3. ccleaner

In the course of all this, I uninstalled AVG software (since it hadn't helped me at all) and now I'm trying the new Microsoft Security Essentials. My son heard from our computer guy that it's a good program, especially considering there is security information about Microsoft operating systems that Microsoft hasn't shared with other antivirus companies.

But - I want my sixteen hours back!


At 11:33 AM, Blogger Jen said...

I got both of these over Christmas--from clicking a like at the hardware store when I was looking for insulation. Took me MANY MANY hours to remove as well, and now I still can't boot in safe mode, so I'm not sure I've gotten every vestige. All because I wanted some insulation. You'd think it would at least have been something naughty, like porn. Sigh.

At 6:30 PM, Anonymous susanlynn said...

Sorry for your lost hours , and you were only trying to be a good and caring blog mom. Hub has Microsoft and Macafee. A computer guy recently recommended Norton to him.


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