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After 26+- years on the computer a malicious virus finally got me.

Posted Friday, August 3, 2012, at 7:45 AM

I had a few irritants over the years and considering how much I am on the internet, I was not surprised that I caught a cold now and then, but the FBI virus finally got through my defenses and the computer is locked.

Now comes the education part of what to do to get rid of it. I'll be doing research over the next few days and a "big box" store said they can get rid of it and make sure my files are clean, but it costs about $229 for the whole package and that kind of adds insult to injury.

Curiously, I had three loan companies call me yesterday to complete my loan application. They had my name & phone number correct but the info fell apart after that. Needless to say, but I had not filled out any loan applications, so was that coincidence?

As soon as I saw the FBI page show up, I forced the computer off and turned off the wireless internet switch. I don't know if that helped, but I wasn't going to make it any easier on the SOB's.

Anyone know a less expensive cure? My current virus programs appear to be useless. Even the big box stores said that now that is on, their solution is the only thing they know except a complete format and reboot.

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They want to charge you $229 for a reformat? Steve, that's easy to do yourself if you have your original installation disc that comes with your computer. I did it for my mother and saved her the money. You will lose everything you had saved (family pics, etc) but you'd lose that even if you had a computer guy do it.

Did the affected computer run Windows XP or did it have a higher version? Do you have the disc that came with the computer?

-- Posted by craftin_mom on Fri, Aug 3, 2012, at 9:14 AM

The $229 was not for the format, it was for removing the virus and making sure all other programs were clean. The format was the last resort and I was searching for my discs this morning.

BUT, even though I ran MalwareByte Software yesterday, I was able to update it on safe-mode this morning and I appear to be cured. Cost $0.

-- Posted by stevemills on Fri, Aug 3, 2012, at 10:19 AM

This malware even turned on the computer camera and was supposedly sending my picture somewhere. It wasn't a good picture with me screaming at the buggers. LOL

-- Posted by stevemills on Fri, Aug 3, 2012, at 10:22 AM

After some thought, I think I will avoid using this computer to access any eBay or PayPal accounts, just in case. I'll give it time to see if it re-appears.

-- Posted by stevemills on Fri, Aug 3, 2012, at 11:03 AM

I have had luck with a program called SuperAntiSpyware. It can beloaded on a flash drive and run from there (even from a command promtpt I think) and the file is disguised so it does not appear to be threat to the virus/malware. Might be worth a try. Don't know how "locked" you are but I was pretty much down once and this got me running again.

-- Posted by devan on Fri, Aug 3, 2012, at 11:30 AM

#1. Immediately contact all three credit bureaus and inform them that you have been a victim of identity theft. They will place a fraud alert on your credit file that will force anyone that pulls your credit report to have to perform additional steps to get approval for a loan, cell phone, or credit card. If they have enough information to get close to opening a loan in your name, they may have enough information to pull your credit report and begin validating your identity using information contained in it. They obviously know your address and that alone is very scary.

#2. The virus your computer had included a keylogger more than likely or it was scanning documents and forwarding information to the attacker. All your credit cards and accounts have been compromised. Call your bank and ask them what they would recommend and get new credit cards issued immediately. Any extra credit card online validation passwords and any other password for that matter has been compromised as well. Get new ones.

#3. The best way to ensure that your computer no longer has this extremely dangerous form of software on it is to burn it to the ground and start over. Have your documents, databases, and photos backed up and thoroughly scanned with multiple high quality anti-malware packages to ensure that none of those files are carriers waiting to infect you again. Reformat the computer and build it with the most current patches available and then copy all your files back to it.

#4. Try to determine where the attack originated from and what hole it entered through. Getting rid of the malware will win the battle, but preventing it in the future will win the war.

The fact that companies have called you about loans being opened in your name is a warning sign of the highest magnitude. Even the people calling you to ask you to verify your identity could be a criminal phishing for more information. These people are career criminals that know all the tricks and have the basic, easily obtainable tools needed to make them appear to be someone else. They can access your voicemail on your cell phone, they can spoof caller id information and make it appear that they are calling from a reputable company. They will be polite and seem to want to help you.

I hate that this has happened to you, and I hope you have no further troubles.

-- Posted by nathan.evans on Fri, Aug 3, 2012, at 11:50 AM

I agree with Nathan in that the only way to know for sure is that you get your files backed up and then format and reinstall. I am in IT and I see worms and virus lay dormant and then 2 weeks or so later you have something else on the machine. The fact that you believe your name and number was gotten in the process worries me. I've never seen that.

Also, viruses can be their own back door for something else. They can install themselves, then let another virus install itself that lies dormant for some period of time, but nobody - not even AV vendors know about it yet so they can't do anything about it.

If it was just a virus you thought you had that you think you got rid of, I may not worry. The phone calls you suspect are a product of the virus, definitely have me worried.

-- Posted by benjithegreat98 on Fri, Aug 3, 2012, at 1:46 PM

turn on your computer in safe mode by continulally pressing f8 while booting. do not connect to the internet. restore your system to its last restore point before you were having problems. then run your antivirus programs to remove any viruses that are there. the fbi virus will not show up during this scan. delete any viruses. then connect to internet and download a freeware program called c cleaner from filehippo.com. after downloading go to the tools section and find drive wiper. run drive wiper and anything that u have deleted in the past will be erased and cannot be recovered. then u should be safe..been doing this for along time and it works fine for me.

-- Posted by kyhhfan1 on Fri, Aug 3, 2012, at 1:53 PM

You can check out http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/

I had a really bad virus on my PC last year that the kids got from a children's game site. They really helped out and it didn't cost a dime.

You can search their site for something that helps, or ask in the forum and they will give you step by step instructions on what to do.

-- Posted by PrpleHze on Fri, Aug 3, 2012, at 2:09 PM

Thanks to everyone.

Luckily I do not have much personal things on this computer and those credit applications were applied for 12 hours before the virus showed up so I am not sure if they are connected.

I also called the credit companies from a pay phone(you know how hard they are to find now?)and the companies have been true to their word about not calling again, so I hope that was a separate issue and is now resolved

Still could be so I am taking extra precaution. I would prefer not to "burn it to the ground" but your warnings are taken to heart.

Even though it appears to have been removed, I will try the other software to double and triple check and may still wipe the drive clean anyway. I too am concerned about key-loggers and dormant viruses, so....

-- Posted by stevemills on Fri, Aug 3, 2012, at 3:20 PM

PrpleHze, I saw that site and wondered, so I will post there. Since I could not access the internet with this laptop, I used another to search for solutions.

Then I got paranoid that the creators of this d**n thing might have a highly ranked "help page" that was actually going to do the same thing to the other computer. Yeesh, I just want to climb back down the line and share my "feelings" with the creeps doing this!

-- Posted by stevemills on Fri, Aug 3, 2012, at 3:24 PM

Once in my younger carefree days I bounced a nasty hard drive killer back to its sender. Was such a good feeling to issue a little payback.

-- Posted by cherokee2 on Fri, Aug 3, 2012, at 4:32 PM

Hmmm, we got something extra to talk about next time, cherokee2

-- Posted by stevemills on Fri, Aug 3, 2012, at 9:45 PM

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Steve Mills and his wife have one daughter and live on a farm outside of Bell Buckle. They previously owned two coffee/ice cream shops, currently operate an internet sales company and teach classes, but his primary job involves the paper industry worldwide. Hobbies and interests lie in gardening, photography, recorded music and of course, their pets.