Thursday, January 31, 2008

A Public Service Announcement

Do you have a firewall on your computer?

Up to date antivirus software? Spyware detector?

Do you use them on a regular basis?

Please. Protect your computer.

We got hit with a particularly nasty computer virus/malware issue Saturday morning. My middle child had gone on the computer, and had just booted up the Internet home page when a "request to access Internet" box popped up on the screen. All my kids know to ask before clicking on anything like that, so I was fetched. I didn't recognize the program, so I marked it to block. Unfortunately, the program was already there (not sure we'll ever find out how), and the damage was done.

All those things I mentioned above? We do. I'm pretty vigilant about stuff like that. It still wasn't enough. Something bad hijacked my 'puter, loading various spyware and malware programs and replicating itself so that every time we opened an internet page we'd get a "you have spyware!" message, either a series of pop-ups, or a notice under the address bar on the page, or a pop-under that shows up when a page is closed.

I, of course, didn't click on any of them. I ran Spybot and (I thought) took care of the problem.

Soon, the pop-ups were showing up even when we weren't on the Internet. Our wallpaper photo switched to the Red Screen of Death, which was actually another pop up ad cleverly disguised as a background image.

Four days and fifteen hours of frustration later, I finally (knock wood) cleaned the computer. Props to Geeks2Go, for the amazingly helpful forum, and SUPERAntiSpyware (free edition), which found 28 nasties hiding on my computer and actually got rid of them.

Still working on the book edits. I'll be back in force by next week sometime. Hope all are doing well!


Stacy~ said...

Kate, that's scary stuff. Thanx for those links. I already do a lot of this stuff, but it doesn't hurt to be even more diligent.

Jami Davenport said...


Boy, don't I know how much of a pain that is. Glad you got it taken care of.

Hope you get your edits done and your MS sent in.