It started out rather uneventful for a Friday.
I did some web surfing for awhile and then went looking for a piece of clip art to use for a future blog post. I found a cute little cartoon entitled “Plants versus Zombies” so I clicked my mouse on it.
That was the wrong thing to do…
Almost immediately a malware booby trap sprang on my computer’s defenses. Before going down, my antivirus was able to warn me before the “bug” disabled it and took control of my computer. It replaced my security program’s icon, with a Trojan horse that mimicked my security software and performed a fake scan on my pc in order to lure me into a bogus upgrade so it could get my credit card info.
Two hours, five phone calls and $129 later, the technician on the other end coached me through deleting all of the files off of my laptop and doing a complete reinstall. Even remotely he could not remove this bug.
It took me another two hours to reinstall all of the software programs that had to be deleted and I sacrificed a lot of recently taken photos, but at that point I was too much of a nervous wreck to worry about them. I’m just grateful that I haven’t had this laptop long enough to accumulated a lot of files or photos. I learned my lesson the hard way. I’m going out this weekend to buy an external hard drive, just in case.
This was a particularly nasty bug, it not only disabled my computer’s defenses, it prevented my pc from connecting with the online technical support help desk so that they could remove the virus with their software. I asked the technician if there was any other programs I could get besides my current security subscription and he told me that anti-virus software is at best only 80 to 85% effective against these malware programs!
I read somewhere that new viruses are being written by teenagers in Russia with adult “mentors” who then use the internet to steal credit card info and earn money this way. What is wrong with this world? To write code this complicated and damaging they must be pretty smart kids. Why can’t they put those smarts to use for the common good instead of trying to wreak havoc on the internet.