Nasty stuff! I recently had to clean up a friend's computer - she'd fallen for one of these crap anti-virus software scams. I spent about 10 hours working on her computer but I admit that only half of that time was dealing with removal of the bad software and getting all traces of it out of every nook and cranny.
The other 5 hours was just getting her computer updated, something she'd let fall by the wayside. That's all automated now, as it should have been all along. I also installed one of the well known free but good anti-virus software packages on her machine. That alone would've protected her from this scam if she'd had it from the start.
Some folks really ought not own computers until they know how to take care of them.
|Some folks really ought not own computers until they know how to take care of them. |
Agreed. Or at the very least not be allowed to connect to the internet.
We had a nasty virus on my XP machine in the Spring time. Nothing would get rid of it. It was simply trying to sell my on buying some software to fix the problem they created.
Long story short I had to get some tech support guys from London (from my anti-virus product) to remote onto my machine for an hour to clean it up.
Since then I've switched over to Linux and have not had any issues (yet).
In that kind of situation you're better off backing up all of your important files and then wiping the computer and starting with a fresh install. Then virus scan all of the documents you backed up.
Or, like maximillianos - switch to Linux or Mac :)
|..you're better off backing up all of your important files and then wiping the computer.. |
The big catch with doing that is that you might also backup the virus.
>>>you might also backup the virus...
You're 100% correct, that's why it's important to "virus scan all of the documents you backed up." Unfortunately, there are some documents that are critical and cannot be walked away from. I think with Physics approach you have a good shot at clean documents backed up onto an external hard drive. Even if one of the docs is infected, they have not yet infected the clean install. The previous install of Windows could have an altered registry or even have altered critical system files to keep reproducing itself with different names, including the names of important OS related files.
|The download is usually harmful and criminals can sometimes use it to get the victim's credit card details. |
We tried to inform adsense about this few months back, (the way we saw this kind of sites making huge money) but never heard back from them (reminded very actively !).
We can easily find this kind of websites advertising via Adwords everywhere ! (this is best part)
The people I meet can easily fall for this stuff. They are used to being told that they must do this, must do that and they have just stopped thinking for themselves.
The main problem when dealing with a government that is hell bent on leaving everything to the private sector, is that they never say 'Never'. They should issue definitive rules regarding these things, but are too gutless to even try ... probably for fear of prosecution when it all goes wrong again.
I've noticed that a lot of this stuff is aimed at kids. They love downloading customisations to Messenger, Google, cute wallpapers, fancy fonts, smilies etc etc etc and some of this stuff contains malware, spyware, scareware etc.
They download one of these things, click what appears to be something innocent and bang' they've got or it looks like they've got a virus. So then Dad who thought he had his security up to date, still gets conned into thinking maybe something still got through.
In some ways kids are very internet savvy. In others they're very naive!
I had to deal with a CASE couple of days ago when the user downloaded a CRACKED version of AV Soft. Defeats the purpose....
|In some ways kids are very internet savvy. |
In my experience, children are like politicians, they don't even know enough to realise how little they know. However, because children these days don't suffer any criticism in schools, they are 100% confident - and it's that confidence that makes them appear internet savvy.
I have not posted but maybe twice in the review-my-site forum. I still have to much to learn ...
I DO know something about this, though ...
My site is more-or-less dedicated to fixing infected computers. And I use Adsense. And yes, my filter is full of idiot sites that sell fraudulent software. So, hopefully I am not contributing to the problem.
Not only do I have a site, dedicated to it, but I clean infected computers also.
icedowl is correct, in that there are many many computers which are not updated, and this often does take longer than anything else! And updates WILL begin to fail, if you get too far behind. so, update now!
I would in the past have agreed with physics, but the updating makes that very time consuming also. Between the BU, the Install, the Updates, and the restore, yikes!
I switched to an iMac several years ago :) and my laptop has Linux Mint. No problems! 0 zero. But as I service PC's I have several VM's with MS XP and Vista on them.
The truth, is that malware is a pandemic, and it REALLY costs billion$. These freaks are just making it worse and making money at it.
Again, the single most effective way to hurt them most, is to encourage updating!
|In my experience, children are like politicians, they don't even know enough to realise how little they know. However, because children these days don't suffer any criticism in schools, they are 100% confident - and it's that confidence that makes them appear internet savvy. |
Well, kids network in a big way too.
One kid learns a cool little trick and the first thing he does is tell 5 more kids.
|Again, the single most effective way to hurt them most, is to encourage updating |
For the most part updates fix security holes that allow backdoor access whereas scareware boldly walks in through the front door.
Which of these computers is more likely to be infected?
1) A computer that is entirely uptodate but owned by someone who believes scareware adverts when they seem them.
2) A computer that is not uptodate but has decent virus and firewall software and an owner that doesn't fall for any of these scams.
Believing that automatic updates make you immune to malware is like believing regular use of registry cleaners and defraggers is essential to keep your computer running properly - all are complete nonsense. It's like believing raid disks protect you from fire, flood, theft and software failures - it just leads to a false sense of security.
Vigilence and education are the only solutions that we (rather than police and governments) can encourage - updates are just one (small) part of that.
You are right. That is certainly a big one!
I was only stating what I deemed _the most_ prevalent problem among computer 'users'.
I could be wrong.
But I did not say updates make you immune.
My meaning was that a web of updated computers, would certainly be less propitious for the malware. Much less IMHO.
But you are right about the front-door analogy.
|2) A computer that is not uptodate but has decent virus and firewall software and an owner that doesn't fall for any of these scams. |
That is the better of the two choices, but unfortunately the owners that do fall for the scams are out there in great quantities.
I've been working in the IT field for over 35 years and even some of the folks I work with, who do the same job that I do (IT Technician), fall for gizmos and crap. A few months ago I found one of those email smilies thing-a-ma-jigs installed on one of the PC's at work by a co-worker on another shift. The man who did this is main-frame computer literate, just not PC or internet savvy. I don't think he even realized what he had done, and, fortunately I was able to get rid of it.
For whatever its worth, I fight these infections quite a bit, since I'm involved in the comuter industry, and I won't recommend any malware removal programs publicly, the only thing I will say is, msconfig (not present in Windows 2000, but you can use it from XP or 98), safe mode, and turn off system restore before cleaning.
I haven't had to restore from a backup using the above 3 tips and maybe 1 or 2 malware tools for over 10 years.
As far as what is the best removal tools out there, ask the members of WebmasterWorld what they think?
I had a particularly nasty one on a couple office computers recently. It was really hard to get rid of - and it infected despite the presence of a high end, well respected AV product.
What I don't get - is these guys are taking credit cards as payment for the AV tools they sell to get rid of the crap they put on the machine. With that trail, shutting them down should be a pretty trivial matter, no? The lost productivity from those two infections was substantial. Multiply that by the hunders of thousands or millions and you get to the GDP of a small country.
Youfoundjake - what's the deal with the msconfig? Thanks.
RossWall- msconfig is a great tool to get. An idea of what is loaded each time Microsoft Windows starts, without having to hunt through the registry or computer management to see what services are running.
A lot of times, I can see that a program in a temp folder is trying to start which is one of the best indications of an infection and jow re-infections happen.
Unfortunately, Microsoft dropped the ball when they released Windows 2000, and didn't include it in the release.
I'm actually kind of curious of the scareware works once it's purchased or is it just smoke and mirrors..
|I'm actually kind of curious of the scareware works once it's purchased or is it just smoke and mirrors.. |
It may not be true for all, but the one I spent hours getting rid of on my friend's computer was known as a trojan downloader. It did not work as advertised. If she did pay for it, it's doubtful that she'd ever get her money back. A worse situation (and I didn't mention this to her for fear that I'd scare her to death at her age) could be if the payment info is used in any criminal manner.