December 9, 2011

Computer Malware Keeps Attacking

Last week one of our employees who does a lot of work from home brought her computer to me because it kept having a popup message telling her her computer was infected by a virus and she should purchase "Win 7 Antivirus 2012" to clean her computer. She knew better than to buy anything that way but she could not get rid of it because the message itself was from a virus. I spent the greater part of Saturday cleaning it and making the computer usable again.

What can be done to protect from this type of Problem? The first thing is that if you ever see anything like that pop up, do not click on anything. Do not click on the box to say "NO". The only thing to click in Windows is the Start button and then reboot the system. Anything else may permit the virus to load onto your machine. Hopefully it will come back up with no sign of the virus.

Once it was infected what did I do to clean it? I went to another computer and downloaded the software to create a bootable CD with Kaspersky antivirus. Booting from the CD permitted me to clean the hard drive of what is called a rogue antivirus. When I brought the system back up I still could not visit the web. If you follow the link to Bleeping Computer (click on the title to go to their web site) they recommend a program FixNCR.reg. I loaded that program on a thumb drive and ran it from the computer. That reset the registry changes and permitted me to get to the internet. I downloaded another program, Malwarebytes and performed another scan of the system. No additional problems were found. The computer was now ready to be used again. And this occurred even though a full time antivirus was running on the machine.

And I just read a news article today that highlights how dangerous some viruses can be. The YMCA in Atlantic Iowa was hit by an attack which stole data from their computer and ended up with about $54,000 being stolen by bank transfers. You can read more about that incident by following this link.

The big lesson in this is that you can never be too safe. Keep your computer updated with the latest patches, and not just the Windows patches from Microsoft but all patches for all software loaded on your machine including especially Adobe reader updates. And make sure your antivirus is one which updates at least daily if not more frequently.

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