Doing an early blog today as I’ve spent the better part of the day rebuilding my computer.
Soon after putting the blog to bed last night, I (well, OK, the laptop) got attacked by the XP 2010 malware virus. This simulates a security scan, tells the user the harddrive is riddled with every type of viral infection known to man and encourages you to sign up for a free XP security scan. Little pop-ups appear every ninety-seconds or so, stating “Threat Identified!”, “Computer under attack!”, “Your privacy is being attacked now!”. Of course the pop-ups are right in one way as the computer is under attack from the virus sending the pop-ups in the first place. The idea is that when you sign up/register for the scan, that’s when you are truly scammed from what I can tell from reading about the virus. Worryingly, it also prevents you going in search of the removal tools on the web, declaring all useful sites as offlimits due their being “infected”.
Having worked with computers for a long time, I at least knew very quickly it was all a scam and a virus, and didn’t go anywhere near the registration prompt. But I have to give credit to the virus programmers for definitely producing something which is very scary even to someone who is aware. Even I was briefly tempted to think “maybe I should just…”.
More worrying for me personally, is that it sneaked in under the Norton Antivirus software radar (and I did have what I thought was very good protection which I’ve now upgraded) and it must have downloaded itself from a regular site I visit because I hadn’t been anywhere strange, nor had I clicked on any strange emails or attachments. How to make me paranoid on the web for the next few weeks.
Anyways, having been refused access to find a removal tool, I did the next best thing: wiped the hard drive and restored from a back-up. I lost some Windows updates (which included new updates of a malicious software removal tool which if associated with the XP thing is fairly ironic), a couple of documents not in the system back-up (but which I do have on an external drive), my new printer install but otherwise the laptop is relatively unscathed. Still not a fun job to rebuild everything.
You would think that was the end of the joy but no: I decided to take a full system back-up after rebuilding. The back-up does take forever in which time the cat decided to climb on top of the laptop and whatever freakish combination of keys he hit had the resolution go all screwy. Cue another ten minutes of trying to get the screen display fixed.
At least I got some study done waiting for the back-up, installs, etc. But not fun.
The lesson(s): 1. back-up your system and data regularly because you never know when you’ll need it and 2. do not let the cat walk on the laptop.
One may be more achieveable than another.