Murphy's Law: When Google Says "Do Not Pass Go," You Listen

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benjerome

I wipe my drive clean with DBAN and do a fresh install of windows.

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doggitydogs

If you can't boot to the desktop, you naturally won't be able to do much in Windows. Though you could try something in Safe Mode, I recommend building a BartPE CD with a copy of Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware on a separate XP box.

I would boot into this CD, update MBAM, and unplug any Ethernet lines running to your computer. I would proceed with a full system scan, and clear anything it finds. By the time that these infections are cleaned, you would probably be able to get to the Windows desktop and experiment with other utilities. I prefer a combination of CCleaner, Ad-Aware Free, and Spybot Search & Destroy.

If this doesn't work, I would restore from yesterday's backup...you do have one, right?

Once the system is back up and running, my "prevention" arsenal consists of Norton Internet Security 2010 for real-time protection and Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware for the infections that do get through. I also always heep my Windows Home Server restore disc and Xubuntu 10.10 Live CD handy.

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vs8

I totally forgot about malware and anti viruses and CCleaner and all that crap taking resources for nothing.

 

The best computing related decision I've ever made was to switch to Ubuntu and forget about Windows' black spots. It might not be perfect or suit everyones needs, but I can recommend you a dual boot system use Windows when needed and for everything else use Ubuntu, it's just too damn awesome.

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Melik_Jay

Wait so if you dual boot...your are still running windows. So like, I install Linux just to surf the web? Dude, stop recommending solutions unless they are thorough and can address a users needs, without them having to jump through hoops.

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sweetjeebus

How is that not a thorough solution? Do this if you don't want to worry about viruses while surfing. I think that is a need that most people have. As far a jumping through hoops. Ubuntu boots in about 15 seconds. I can lose 15 seconds of my life to not have to spend an hour tracking down a virus. Don't use it if you like Windows better. It was just a suggestion. I doubt a troll like you would even be able to install your video card drivers in Linux, so I wouldn't even bother if I were you. Back under your bridge.

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TheMurph

Why is it that Linux use automatically seems to come with this... smug sense of superiority versus other operating systems?

If that OS is what works best for you, awesome.  run with it.  That's great.  However, for most users visiting this site -- if not most computer users in general -- Linux is just not an acceptable solution for a wide variety of reasons.  That doesn't make their choice wrong, it makes their choice right for them.

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sweetjeebus

Murph, this is obviously a hot topic. People feel very strongly about their OS preferences and such. I mean look at how this thread blew up with comments about it. You know what would be awesome, but you might hate doing? Why not give Ubuntu or a another distro a test spin and write an article about? I think it would be a great story and I think you being a Windows guy through and through, would be the perfect person to write about it. Maybe give it a shot in your free time(I'm sure you're a busy guy and all) and tell about things that you like, things that you hate, and things that just outright frustrate you about it. Windows is sweet, but I bet a lot of people wouldn't mind hearing about Linux since it is so overshadowed by Microsoft and Apple's alternatives. They probably know little about it, and this being a tech site, I think it would go over pretty well as if nothing more than a newbies guide or intro to the little guy. I don't know about you, but it seems a little more substantial than the multitude of articles about, this new tablet is coming out in a month, nevermind that tablet was cancelled, no wait it's back again. That gets boring IMO. I don't know, maybe this has all been done before. But, judging by this thread people would definitely read it because they are passionate about it. Just a thought.

P.S. I don't think I'm superior for using Linux. I love Windows as well and my nerdly urge to game would suffer without it. I was harsh in my statement and apologize to those it may have offended. I also apologize for calling you a weak writer. I had no basis for that statement as I was just spouting after being peeved at a few comments I read. I am far from perfect.

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purplemecha

To the author of the article.  You seriously like dealing with malware.  Why else would you put up with it.  I will never understand the mentality of Windows users.  The author probably runs as adminstrator and doesn't use a password I bet.  People who use Windows should use a strong password and run in a limited account, but noooo I'm too smart for malware, snort.

When I tried Vista that came with my new computer I was amazed at the incredible advancement that Microsoft had made in security.  But I knew what was going to happen, people running in admin mode with shit or no passwords.  Here, Microsoft builds an amazing advancement in security for you, and all you Windows users do is to ignore basic safety precautions.

My mom uses Windows XP, and if we could afford it, we would upgrade her to Windows 7, just for the great security alone.  My mom has better security on XP than most people on Vista and 7 just because she knows how to be secure.

Me, I use Ubuntu, and before that Debian and even the BSD's.  I can't stand Windows for reasons that have nothing to do with security.

Praise to Microsoft for their great security in Vista and 7.  Kudos to the idiot users of Windows for providing the chance to laugh at and deride them.  Thanks guys and gals.

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TheMurph

"The author probably runs as adminstrator and doesn't use a password I bet."

I also leave my car door unlocked and my garage door open every time I fire up my PC.

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Melik_Jay

..oh wow, this information is so...NEW. Linux is more secure that windows?? Your mom is a secure user!? People should use passwurdz and limited accountz??? Holy crap, you better find a proper channel to publish this info before someone else does, you can be famous!!! Remember, everytime you state the overly stated obvious, god takes one year off of your life.

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Walnut

You have absolutely no idea what you're talking about.

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Michael Ellis

In addition to system images from various time-periods on almost all of my external hard drives, I keep one old 500 GB drive powered off with the first ever system image of my computer. That is for when the stuff hits the fan. 

Other than that, I have several distros on linux, two bootable password recovery utilities, and Panda Antivirus on a live CD. Live CD's are the way to go in my opinion.

For antivirus, I use Security Essentials, Panda Cloud (Free), and Immunet Protect (Free version). My ultimate defense, however, is common sense. It generally keeps me safe.

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Cache

I have this theory that a co-worker introduced.  Just close your eyes and click repeatedly on any bad site, and maybe the malware/scripts will cancel each other out.  After all, a computer only has so much memory and stuff, right?

This is why I charged my coworker $60 to disinfect her system.  For about 20 minutes worth of work, and as I rightly pointed out to her, much cheaper than Geek Squad, she has a working laptop again.  And I got to eat at Steak Escape last weekend. 

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mesiah

Because, why drive a jeep because I may get caught in some freak snow storm when I can drive the lexus. Call me crazy, but I like comfort and my bells and whistles. Ya, my lexus might get targeted by thieves every now and then, but I wouldn't trade it for a free jeep ever... even during the snow storm.

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madmaxx

Have had this happen several times before. Rebooted, F8 to safe mode and run system restore to earlier state before infection.

Xp media center sp3, AMD 3700+, 1G DDR-400, GeForce 6800GS 256M                                                                                                              

 

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cepheus42

I come armed with the following tools (because unlike some other folks, I have found that Spybot and Malware Bytes do NOT always work on this particular problem, particularly if the system is badly infected with many other pieces of malware and viruses as well).  Log into Safe mode and:

1.  Run runkill.exe.  Turns off anything nasty still trying to control your poor innocent system.

2.  Run Combo fix.  Does a great job getting some of those really nasty infections out.

3.  Run Malwarebytes/Spybots/Superantispyware.  I prefer running all three in turn, JUST to be sure (I've often seen one finish, and when I ran another one it found separate items that the first missed).

I also turn on Sypbots immunize and tea timer features. 

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aldude505

This is a standard set of things you would need to get started, also make sure you run everything in safe mode. Also anyone doing this should know how to work command prompt and where to look to find common Fake AV's (I'm looking at you AppData and Application Data) you can also use msconfig to see what programs and starting and where they reside on your system. I personally carry a USB key around with these on it but also have another partition that is bootable with a Live Boot OS to try and retrieve any data that you may need urgently.

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Edison

From Safe Modw w/Networking: Check for proxy in Internet Settings then rkill then mbam full scan, boot normally then full scan with Kaspersky.

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nHeroGo

...to sit and tinker with these sort of things. If there is a problem, use a hammer. If it is a large problem, bring a bigger hammer.

I start off by using a reasonably good antivirus protection, and I pay for it because I can afford $60 per year, or what ever it cost. Then I backup my files every now and then, but not as often as it is scheduled for (I'm bad at that sort of thing - laptop, you know). Then I stay away from testing alfas and betas as much as possible. But if things would go down in a really bad way I accept the loss and bring a bigger hammer - reformat hard drive, re-install everything, all the patches, the lot.

Surely, there must be a better way of dealing with chaos, but solving the puzzle and untangle every little bit and byte... I do not have the patience for that sort of computer therapy. I feel better if I do something drastic, chopping the gordian knot, even though it will take me a whole day to get it reinstalled.

Afterward, I feel that I can sleep well, and it is not the end of the world.

Suggestions: Have multiple computers. Test alfas and betas on a separate system. If you are interested in computers and software you probably have a lot of old junk laying around. Your old computer, where nothing really matters, can be your test-bed. It can easily be scraped clean.

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proto-bytes

If you suspect that you have been Hi-Jacked is to use the taskmanager and select suspcet #1 and issue a dump, then open it up in Notepad++ which offers a suite of code translations.  Most of the time, the Hi-Jackers aren't clever enough to poloymorphicly (old school hacker counter measure) encrypt the hi-jack injection site, and you can read the code verbatium, And it's also a really good idea to put aduiting and system events with automated tasks to run when any third party compiler which are installed on your system run.  Ie. create a Pwoershell script to invoke the system speach engine and have it announce such tasks have just been initiated, Hi-Jackers are known for cleaning up the tracks in the event log, so audit that as well...

"Warning!  Danger Will Robbinson, Annymous has just launched Microsoft 2010 Compiler and is linking malware to XYZ..."

=8)

@ProtoBytes

For the record, the FBI closed the door on my hacking career which was spearheaded by the KGB, at age 10 (1982), man my rear end is still feeling that positive reinforcement.  To this day, I only research enough to keep my self and systems safe...  I don't even practice the activity of writting security code for my clients, because to this day my FBI file is classified and they won't even let me see it under the freedom of information act.  So I know the lenghts these evil cyberians go to to steal your corprate and personal info, and yes, they enjoy it greatly...  But they live a false realty in which they think they are playing God.  Pathetic!

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proto-bytes

Man, I hate those guys that Hi-Jack your system.  I have seen them all.  I have been Hi-Jacked by remote desktops that look just like mine...  Hi-Jacked by the browser going full screen and then impersonating my desktop, Hi-Jacked my Log-Me-In sessions to look a likes.  I have more counter Hi-Jacker software installed than any other type of product on my PC.  It's so easy to exploit an unpatched vulnerability in your system, the Hi-Jacker simply has to inject a JMP ASM statement to disable all your counter measures.  I have been the center of some groups hacking attacks for the last 8 years, it’s tradition to wipe and reinstall every 3 mo.  And they are on my system again, as I write this.  Being a Software Test Engineer has help me to notice the tiny finger prints of flickering screen log-ins, exactly why does the Win 7 login spinning wheel stop spinning on a x64 bit multithreaded multi core system anyway?  Surly it’s no Microsoft bug, they make mistakes, but they are pretty proud of their progress bars, as they have been constantly ridiculed for in the past.

 

Best Software to fight theses invasions I have seen to date come from Secuna: PSI and CSI.  It’s the most up to date db in the world, and amazingly enough they only have 55 employees to run their company.  It’s much like the Microsoft On-line scanner that chokes and dies before completing any scan or fixes to your system, Why?  Donno, perhaps the Hi-Jackers are launching a DOS attack when you connect to the site.

 

  Like they thought me in the USAF, the only safe system is the system with no connection, properly grounded, and located some classified number of feet below ground in a shelter that is completely shielded from all outside electronic signals.  I don’t really even need an internet connect to hack someone, with the right signal analyzers and logic analyzers and filtering equipment I could see everything connected to a ground, even if it’s grounded to an active multi-phase conditioned UPS power supply.

 

  My Next system will not be on the net, and it will have a system box that is properly grounded and electronically shielded, I have partnerships with companies that insist that my systems having any of their intellectual info on them are safe, that is the only way I know of attempting to make my system safe these days.  Without my other option and research project, a completely encrypted instruction set, bus, pipeline, and all memory space private and un readable by other applications, I have to write my own HAL to do that and I don’t think the FBIES would agree that I am aloud to take such drastic measures that keep everyone out of my business, or they would have let someone else do it already.  Now don’t get me wrong, there are special CPU’s that have this built in feature set.  But not the ones I’m using, and I have no idea which ones have it, or how to tell your OS to use it.  The instruction set is called: ACE, ACE2, RNG, PHE, PMM, and PSN, my AMD 965 only give me access to: DEP, NX, EDB which are the common Windows protected software execution instruction sets.

 

  Another great tool AIDA64 Business or Extreme editions will dump all the guts of your systems, the Business edition allows network admins to view all the assets on the enterprise and run scripts and set flags to execute remote commands to systems if an item on the hot sheet is flagged for a system, I have heard of some companies that use overclocking on their system to send a shutdown command to systems when they borderline the redline for the manufactures CPU thermal limitations.  It’s a powerful tool even more powerful when used in conjunction with Powershell.  This software was previously known as Everst.  Link can be found on CPUID’s web site.

@ProtoBytes

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suprattalljdm

What site was the culprit? 

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TheMurph

I'd hate to call them out.  : )

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Hg Dragon

My trusty suite of apps includes quite a few different ones, since no one application will catch every single item.

If I can, I usually run a small tool that came with a VNC management console I use at work called "safeboot." It will lock a PC into Safe Mode on every reboot without having to edit the Regisrty until I run it again, and if installed, will launch VNC so I can do most of my work remotely (one of the bonuses of being on a corporate network!).

First thing I run is a HijackThis! scan. This lets me know if I'm dealing with one of the "tssd" -related fake security malwares. Sometimes, those require a little extra work.

Next, I run A-Squared Free (now Emsisoft Anti-Malware). Install, update, then run a Deep Scan. I've found this app to be pretty strict in what it considers a threat and more than once bombed out a box because I told it to delete the wrong thing. Very thourough though.Reboot.

Malwarebytes is next. Again, full scan. Everything it finds almost always gets nuked. This rarely turns up false positives, but it never hurts to double-check. Reboot.

Spybot get an installation, but I chose not to install both Tea Timer and SD Helper. Update, immunize, scan and fix. After this, I ususally run safeboot so I can get back into normal mode to install SUPERAntispyware since it will not install under Safe Mode.

SUPER gets a pass, complete scan. Everything it picks up gets popped. Usually by this time, it only finds cookies.

CCleaner is usually my last tool. It will clean up any Registry funk left behind by some of the malware and what the tools don't pick up initially.

A good site I found that has specifis on the various fake AV/Security apps is myantispyware.com, especially the ones that like to lock out the ability to run .exe files. They have a tool that will help kill processes and automate some of the Registry cleanup needed for the various fake AV's. They have great details on most of the variants of them as well.

Also, I like to use smitfraudfix.exe. This is normally for those older scarewares that would embed their "warning" into the Windows Desktop background that you could almost never get rid of. I still use it because I've found it good at ferreting out proxy redirections that some other utilities can miss.

 

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COMMANDER_COOK

MSE is good at catching fake AVs and Security Centers. It's blocked them several times while I was browsing Facebook.

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I_pwn_newbz86

When my browser warns me that something phishy is going on I usually just go look at the google chache of the page before I proceed.

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MleB

...or overkill, depending on your opinion - but I use (all freeware) Avira AntiVir Personal, PC Tools Firewall Plus, SpywareBlaster, IObit Advanced System Care, occasionally MalwareBytes Anti-Malware - and always, my own personal neurosis....

Tried others, with variable success.

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HiGHRoLLeR038

i deal with this stuff everyday.  i work on campus here at the university of wisconsin green bay and fix students computers all the time.  this specific virus is a very common one.  if you go into safe mode, malwarebytes and spybot do the trick.  this virus is probably the more easier ones to remove.  ive seen some pretty nasty ones.

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rawrnomnom

rkill is a great tool to have too, i like to name mine hellokitty.exe, I also used to work in an IT office (UW LaCrosse) and removing these viruses gets to be like breathing...

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TheMurph

As one who used to do that at my good ol' alma mater, Northwestern University, I salute you from one network fixer-upper to another.  My god, you would not believe the sorry state of some of the systems that new freshman bring to campus...

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lunchbox73

Agreed. Usually MBAM in safemode kills these suckers but they can be tricky once and a while. I'm not suprised you picked this up from a legit site Murph. People here at work used to get them all the time doing normal browsing and our Symantec Endpoint Protection didn't touch em. Our new Fortigate appliance that does AV scanning on all inbound traffic has helped significantly.

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Gezzer

I use MSE as well. I find it does a fine job. It isn't my only program though. I do custom installs of Spybot and Ad-aware. I use those two programs just for scanning so I don't install any real time options such as Spybot's teatimer app. That's so there isn't any conflicts between them and MSE. I then scan once a month with MSE, and every two to three months with the extra two.

I also use a fantastic little free app called Threatfire. In fact I think I first read about it in MaxPC. It works a bit different then your regular real time scanner. It does have data files to compare to, but it's claim to fame is that protects by watching for any abnormal behavior from programs. It's saved my bacon a few times when surfing the web. It's kind of like Window's UAC only much smarter. About the only thing it gives a false positive on is when my bitorrent client updates it's self. As well I've yet to see it cause any conflicts with regular AV software. Got to like that. I scan with it monthly as well.

Talking about UAC I leave that at it's default setting. I never understood why "power users" hated UAC in Vista. It's supposed to be a nag. About the only gripe I have is that it's very hard for a novice user to know why the UAC has been triggered, so they most often just click proceed. The way I look at it I know when I've triggered it, so if it pops up when I haven't then somethings up. Think about it most Linux distros make you log into the root account to do all most anything, and no one complains about that. I've actually had a couple buddies that disabled UAC in Windows 7 because it's what "power users" do. One actually had a problem on his computer and he blamed the AV software. He still didn't want to enable UAC when I suggested it. lol Well each to thier own I say.

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bloodgain

Yeah, but my main gripe is that UAC still isn't properly done.

If UAC was properly done, then I could run as a non-Admin user and give the password for the Admin account to bypass UAC.  And I can -- except that I'll be putting in that password *A LOT*.  They left out a very important part -- once you activate UAC, it should remember your password for a while (15 minutes would work).  It shouldn't ask you more than once if you meant to activate something, either.  Once I enter the Control Panel, leave me alone and let me work!

By comparison, SUDO works this way on almost all modern Linux distros.  In the shell, you have to type "sudo" every time you need to run with admin privelages, but you only type your password once every 15 minutes or so.  For Admin GUI windows, you are asked to elevate your privelages, but you aren't asked, "Are you sure?  What's your password?" ever time that you execute an action from that window.  I run without UAC on Windows 7 (with little trouble) and as a standard user with sudo privelages (after password elevation) on Linux.

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somuchbetterthanu

Why not use a Linux Distro? I see all these virus horror stories, and yes I have had my Windows machine infected before. I don't surf the web in Windows anymore. I use Ubuntu 10.04(haven't tried Maverick yet). It's more stable than Windows, with Compiz Fusion addons the desktop looks a million times more attractive than Windows and is more functional. Set up a desktop cube with Compiz and you will never want to go back to Windows again. Not saying that Windows doesn't have its place. Many apps are Windows only, but for browsing, you can't beat Linux. The only drawback is that it is harder to get everthing set up in the beginning for a new Linux user(video card drivers etc...). I don't think that will be too much of a problem for the MaxPC crowd though. I did it as a newbie and it was a great learning experience. You can literally just google any Linux problems you are having and get the answer. The Linux community is very alive and more than willing to help. All this being said, I use a dual boot setup with Windows 7 for my gaming. Just be careful about transferring files from your Linux partition to your Windows one. Use a Linux AV program like ClamAV if you want to check out the files before transferring. Try it, it's free, so you have nothing to lose!

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SuperiorBeing

Nothing to lose? Well, that's true, other than space on my hard drive and my time. The poor driver support, combined with system freezes and crashes have really deterred me from using it on a daily basis.

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skeezer

I also use Ubuntu as a dual boot with Windows. I love it, but I think your point will be missed on this site. Most of the readers here aren't willing or capable. Windows is the retard proof, do it all with ease OS. You want to install something, just click install and it does it for you. Almost everything hardware nowadays in Windows is plug and play- poof, like magic!

I too do most of my browsing under Ubuntu and stick to windows for games, MS Office, and Visual Studio. The setup of a Linux distro is not as hard as it used to be, especially in the latest incarnations of Ubuntu, but most will likely give up when they realize there is Windows waiting for them on the boot menu. Which is their loss, because once you do spend the little time it takes to set up, it is a far more customizable experience.

As far as your comment about it not being a problem for the MaximumPC crowd to set up a  Linux distro, I think you are wrong on that one. Most of the noobs that post here consider themselves "power users" for buying a $400 GPU. LOL, to each their own.

Just my 2 cents

 

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Walnut

I'd bet that most people who post here could figure their way around a Linux distro, if they haven't already. It's not exactly rocket science. They question comes down to "why?" Maybe I'm missing out on some serious geek-cred potential, but I don't see any point in doing things the hard way when I could... not. I've played around with Ubuntu for a bit and while I can see the appeal, it's way too much of a hassle for me to switch back and forth between OSes because I'm done browsing and need to fire up Office. The only real advantage I see is security. That said, I'm running MSE and Chrome (which, as the article would suggest, does a stand-up job at blacklisting malware sites) and haven't had any sort of security breach in recent memory. 

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skeezer

I use Linux for the very reason you stated: enhanced security. I was using Kaspersky Internet Security, which has a pretty good rep, and still managed to get a keylogger on my system. Not every modern antivirus can catch every single piece of Malware out there. Kasperky didn't catch it and one morning I woke up to find that all my passwords to my email, Facebook, etc...were changed on me. I browse the web responsibly and stay away from adult sites. You just don't know where malware can be hiding is my point. I'd rather not worry about is all I'm saying. i don't mind dual booting as I am willing to trade the extra minute out my day that I lose by booting into another OS for piece of mind. Not saying you have to do the same, but it's easier to do than clean your system, or worse, reformat and start over. I like Windows too, but I don't like the fact that it is targeted by so many malware writers. So that is my why. Take it for what it's worth.

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TheMurph

Why not use Linux?  Because I don't want to use Linux.  Call me simple, but I'm a Windows guy through and through mainly because I don't want to futz with things like driver support, gaming support, program support, et cetera.

Nothing against Linux, per se.  it's just not my cup of tea.

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sweetjeebus

Those first 2 sentences make you sound like an arrogant douche. Is that what you were going for Murph?

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TheMurph

Hey, why not jump off a bridge?  Because you don't want to jump off a bridge.  But that still makes you a jerk for saying that you don't want to jump off a bridge.

2/10.

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lunchbox73

Eh....that's like saying why not buy a Jeep if you get stuck in the snow only once or twice a year. Not the greatest analogy but I think you know what I mean.

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Kashamodo

Umm...I think the point is that you don't have to buy the Jeep. It's free. You can use the Jeep whenever you want, but don't have to. Do you browse the web only during the non-virus season?

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lunchbox73

Um, yeah. I meant one of those free Jeeps. Told you it wasn't the best comparision. ;)

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big_montana

I use Process Explorer, which I rename to internet explorer's process, as malware like what infected your PC will allow IE to launch without a problem. Then I can kill the running process for the malware, and run malwarebytes, superantispyware, hijackthis and ccleaner. Also, you will need to change teh proxy settings in your browser, as that malware will have it set to redirect to it's home page so you get reinfected, and do not forget about disabling system restore as a copy will be hiding there, waiting for you to clean and reboot your pc so it can then reinfect it all over agian.

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uknowit90

I use a little trick called making a copy of my task manager and renaming it to something that the malware doesn't block. Then I use it to find the process(es) and kill them. Now my Malwarebytes Anti-Malware and Norton Internet Security can go to work. Works everytime - and always followed by a good ole' system restore.

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TheMurph

I like that!  Creative idea!  :D

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aviaggio

Sandboxie is your friend.

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markstrelecki

Mr. Freeware should be toodling around with a fully insulated, sandboxed browser (IE, FF, Chrome, Safari, Opera, whatever) that protects the system from this kinda drive-by attack.

Almost sounds like you were using IE. Geez, don't they teach you guys ANYTHING in SanFran?

IE is a freakin' INVITATION to trouble. ActiveX might as well be RadioActive for all the harm it can do to your computer. And how did this malware get past your UAC???

Power user, indeed.

You need some time at a STRELECKI Computer Security Boot Camp.....

 

MARK STRELECKI

Atlanta, GA.

 

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TheMurph

Sarcasm noted.  However, try reading the article next time, if not the very second sentence.  The words "Google Chrome" might stick out at you.

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