A few weeks back I ran into a thorny problem I generally don’t have any issues with – malware. Sneaky, up-to-no-good programs that hide out in your PC and mess with your head and reduce hair count dramatically, all the while laughing to themselves (if software could snigger, it would be!).
I knew as soon as the laptop restarted and this screen popped up that I had a problem. I guess if I wasn’t paying attention I could have easily have clicked through to the sign-up page and entered my details, thinking this was a legitimate Windows message. But take another look – spelling and grammatical errors give it away. Besides I’d never heard of Antivirus Pro 2010, let alone needed an upgrade for it. These guys really don’t play fair – how is the average computer user meant to spot these spoofs?
So it was straight to Google to figure out the most effective way to erase this malware from existence. Unfortunately the program had also installed hijacking software which was redirecting any links in Firefox – to get to a page I actually had to manually paste the address into the address bar, or use IE [shudder].
The solution (which is out there in Google land) involved manually deleting some rogue system files and installing something like Spybot Search and Destroy to tackle the problem. To be honest I don’t really like installing antivirus or spyware programs because so many of them are actually the evil programs they claim to protect you from. They then report a whole bunch of viruses that have apparently infected your PC and if you pay them money they’ll magically remove them. In the end I had actually employed a few different techniques suggested including Spybot and HijackThis, as well as manually renaming certain files and registry entries (while in Safe mode). It seemed the ‘fire everything you’ve got at it’ approach worked in the end.The virus had been rated as an 8/10 threat so I was pleased to see the back of it.
The redirect problem in Firefox remained however and in the end I downloaded and reinstalled FF and eventually it seemed to go away. Phew, good to get that out of the way. Quite the time waster!
As soon as the coast was clear, I also removed SpyBot and HijackThis, they’d served their purpose and were surplus to requirements. Generally I find those programs annoying and resource hungry – I have my Windows Defender and that works just fine.
I think it was a good reminder that with installing anything – if there’s any doubt, leave it out. It’s just not worth the hassle!
ps the broken ankle is still healing, although walking is not really too much of a problem – as long as it’s not too far. Physio is now twice a week and its been great along with the stretching exercises they give me (which I try to remember whenever I’m waiting for something). Here’s to a full recover!