I hate to think getting hit with a computer virus is going to be an annual January event, but it DID happen again.
Last Thursday the man who took care of computer problems at work was here to take care of some issues with the computer that had been in Bill's office at work. I couldn't connect to the internet via our wireless modem for Bill because his computer didn't have the Magic Doodad (highly technical term) internally installed that would allow this to happen. Once the additional Magic Doodad was in place, the computer guru needed the encryption key and password for the modem.
A few minutes later he handed me the slip of paper back and said that wasn't the key or password. Huh???? Apparently the last time AT&T was here fixing our U-Verse problem, they reset everything which caused the modem to revert to the default code. I very seldom use my laptop at home so I was unaware of this. Before the guru left, I checked my laptop to make certain I could connect after entering the default info. Everything was fine. I hadn't used the laptop since just before Christmas so I updated the anti-virus and ran a scan. Life was good.
Friday morning I had about 90 minutes before an appointment and thought I'd make a blog entry from my laptop which was still on the table. A few minutes later a message popped up from the task bar from Windows Security saying I had an infection and to "click here" to fix the problem. A bogus message like that last year led to a week's worth of trouble with a trojan that embedded deeply on my hard drive. I closed the message rather than clicking on it and attempted to open my anti-virus program. That gave me the same message. When I tried to run a scan, I was directed to download a program (not my anti-virus) for a fee. I closed that window but had the sinking feeling the damage was done, and I was right.
After rebooting, cussing, and idle threats to unknown creators of viruses, I downloaded the free version of Malwarebytes and ran a scan while getting message after message about the infection, accompanied by attempts to sell me anti-virus software in addition to Internet Explorer (not my default browser) repeatedly opening and trying to go to a porn site!
An hour later, 100 infected objects had been quarantined. Thank you Malwarebytes! I was 20 minutes late for my appointment buy my friend understood when I called her to say I was running late. I had been taking notes in case I needed to call the guru for help.
If you get a warning that appears to be from Windows Security, please don't click on that pop up. Go to your anti-virus program or go to Windows Security on your own through your control panel and make sure the message isn't a hoax. The 'false alert' trojan looks deceptively like the real thing, the four colored shield symbol.
I have no way of knowing where this came from, but I suspect Facebook is involved. Facebook itself isn't evil, but spammers seem to know how to use it to their advantage. Both of my sons, two of my nieces, and a few internet friends have all been hit recently and what do we have in common? Facebook. To further add to this theory, one of my knitting friends has switched form a Dell laptop to a Mac this past year. She got the same Windows Security warning and she isn't running windows! And yes, she is on Facebook.
I hope this warning helps someone, and if not, maybe the recommendation of running Malwarebytes will be of assistance. Doing this doesn't do a thing for the computer and isn't even that much good for firming your upper arms.