It had been years since I had a problem with a virus or malware of any kind… until yesterday. A talented musical friend of mine Vitreous sent me a link to download a current mix of his, and suddenly things turned wierd. Evidently a trojan-horse had made it past my internet security suite from Comodo, and I received an alert telling me my antivirus needed updating. The pop-up window at a glance looked like an official Microsoft notice, and without thinking I downloaded the ‘update’ and with it, unleashed a can of worms.
When the alert windows started coming, (in a range of styles, each professing doom for my computer) I became immediately suspicious. I hit ‘Ignore’ every time an alert encouraged me to buy, register, purchase or clean my computer of the 7000 odd ills I was being told it had… and turned to Google in search of an answer.
Sure enough, I had welcomed into my Windows XP machine a dose of AntiVirus 360, a fake a/v program that hustles you for your details, money, and slows your PC performance down like a ball and chain. Fortunately, with a little help from this great free application Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware, I was able to rid myself of the problem, and restore my PC’s performance to its former glory.
The one thing the remedy I found via Google didn’t mention is that AntiVirus 360 has a neat way of intercepting your attempts to clean your computer, by forcing the Malwarebytes app to close. After much frustration, I found that by downloading the app to my desktop, then restarting Windows XP in Safe Mode, I was able to install the application, run it immediately after and clean my PC with little complication.
The long and the short of this is: don’t take your PC security for granted, and carefully scrutinize any pop-up that throws itself your way, no matter how familiar and legitimate it may appear at first glance. Thanks again to Malwarebytes for getting me out of this pickle… and with any luck, this article will spare more of you from this particular nasty!