So, following links…..

….as I frequently do when I get a bit bored.  I’ll start out on a blog I regularly read, and start working my way through their blogroll, and then following a link, from a link, to a link, I often find all sorts of tidbits and blogs of interesting sorts.  Unfortunetly I don’t always remember to bookmark the interesting ones till too late.  Sigh.

Anyway, the other day I was working my way around the ‘net and ended up on Weekend Pundit and discovered that he’d read my blog!  Too cool!  (If you’re reading this I tried to signup to comment and I must have done something wrong cause I’ve not gotten a confirmation email.  No biggy, mostly just wanted to say thanks for adding me to the blogroll all fixed thank you!).  So I wandered back through his previous posts and found mention of the frustration of attempting to remove a “lovely” little virus commonly known as “20XX Virus Scan” (where XX is a year number, there are ’09, ’10, & ’11 versions that I’m aware of, plus multiple variations on the name).

It caught my eye.  Only a year ago I had to clean that off my personal computer (I’ve still no idea how I picked it up which is annoying as hell), and just this week a (less than computer literate) co-worker brought his girlfriend’s laptop into work for me to clean an even nastier version called “MS Removal Tool” off of (yes this is a virus, though its very close in name to MS Malicious Software Removal Tool, which may be how she ended up with it).  I’d thought the 2010 Virus Scan virus was bad till I had to clean up this one.  It totally locked up the computer by running its false virus scan, and you couldn’t do a thing without a popup telling you “NO DONT ITS INFECTED”.  Sigh.  I’d attempted to walk him through the process of booting into safemode and downloading and running the particular software over the phone the night before only to realize that it really wasn’t going to work when he offered to bring it into work the next day.

So I spent my first several hours of the day Wednesday with the laptop running MalwareBytes sitting next to me on the desk while I worked.  Handed it back to him before lunch with instructions to tell her to get rid of the out of date Norton, install SOME kind of current virus scan (AVG is free, and it works, for all that I can’t stand the current interface), and PLEASE install all those Window’s updates that you’ve been ignoring!!!  Oh, and I cleaned up the trash and defragged it while I was at it, and don’t uninstall MalwareBytes you might need it again.

So, how do you avoid getting stuck with a computer infected with one of these virus’s?  First off do NOT click on a popup in the middle of your screen that screams at you that “you have a virus click here to clean it!!!!” unless you KNOW its from your actual virus scanner program.  And if you aren’t sure then don’t click on it and instead manually open your virus scanner and run it.  Yes I know, common sense right?  You’d be surprised.  If you DO get one of these virus’s on your computer (and I still have no idea how I got it a year ago, but I understand that they’ve expanded their infection options) go download the free version of MalwareBytes and run a FULL scan (if you have the money please pay for the full version, just don’t do so from your infected computer, but seeing how useful their software is they ought to get paid for it), TWICE (yes at least twice.  The first time to clean up the virus, the 2nd to clean up its remains in system restore files, and to make sure it wasn’t hiding anything else.  Infact, run it as many times as it takes to result in a completely clean scan with no virus alerts).  MalwareBytes is the only thing I’ve met that’ll really completely clean up these virus’s.  A lot of virus scanners can’t even SEE them, much less do anything about them, and the few that can see them can’t actually completely clean them off your computer.