Yesterday I was happily typing away and BOOM! up popped a fake security alert. The first time a fake alert came through 18 months ago, I thought it was legit and by responding to it, I ended up with a trojan on my hard drive that was a pain to remove. A technician had to use a second computer to access my computer...it was way over my head and I was without my main computer for over a week.
Months ago I had another attempt. I run an antivirus program and do regular scans. I don't know how these things sneak in. I was able to delete it on my own the second time using MalwareBytes, a free program that is easy to use and very helpful.
And now I sit again on my laptop while my main computer has a fake alert trojan infection. The culprit is called Antivirus XP. It looks like a real antivirus program and attempts to frighten you by telling you have many infections and intrustions on your system. They solicit you to buy their program to clean up this problem, but no such program exists. If you fell for it, you kissed your money goodbye.
I knew not to click on any of the options in the pop up windows but I did go to my Control Panel to see if my firewall was truly disabled. Apparently what I was viewing was not my real control panel and simply clicking there for information downloaded the virus. MalwareBytes removed part of the problem (I think) but not all of it. I am still getting pop up warnings and now my real antivirus is picking up the intrusion and popping up real warnings. When I try to quarantine or delete this through the real antivirus, I get a message that the action cannot be completed. The virus doesn't want to be deleted. So now I sit and wait for one of the technicians to return my phone calls or emails. They aren't good about this which adds another layer of agitation.
I am lucky to have a laptop but there are programs I need to use on my main computer but I cannot access them. It is times like this that I realize I am not such a pacifist after all. If I could track down the creators of computer viruses, I would not be lenient while extracting my own brand of justice.