Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Beware Malware!

I was up till 2 a.m. last night fixing a major malware problem on my husband's computer.

It started while I was out last night. I got home and he wanted help fixing this error message that kept coming up telling him he had a virus or something. Clicking on the message made Internet Explorer go to a couple of different websites, one for something called Antivirus Golden and the other for something called Malware Burn. By the time I'd gotten home, he'd installed at least one of these pernicious beasts, had a toolbar in Internet Explorer he couldn't get rid of, and couldn't do much before another warning message would come up telling him he still had a problem.

I had not heard of any of these miasmatic monsters, but after a few minutes of research, I could tell we didn't want them. It took me three tries running Spybot Search and Destroy (plus 2 reboots) to scan and get rid of all instances of this virulent varmint. It had altered the registry and also, apparently, opened the door to all it foul friends, including something called Zlob. I was afraid, after reading some of the web pages I'd found, that I'd have to actually edit the registry to get rid of it, but Spybot did it. What a great piece of Software!

So what's the lesson here? Don't always believe your computer when it tells you it has a problem and then give you the website of a product you've never heard of as a solution. My husband actually got mad at me when he saw I was uninstalling the new "spyware remover" he'd downloaded. But it was definitely part of the problem, if not the cause of it all.

How come I wasn't fooled, when my husband fell for the trap? Well, first of all, I've always just naturally had good instincts when it comes to computer matters. Second, I googled the name of each of the products. When most of the results came back as websites telling you how to remove these adverse applications from your computer, you'll know you don't want to install it.

My final piece of advice to my husband was to start using Firefox.

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