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Doctor, It Hurts When I Do This… April 22, 2010

Posted by regan222 in Computer and Technology.
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If you are even a casual Internet user, chances are you have come across this scenario or something similar while surfing the World Wide Web. There you are, innocently perusing http://www.wildweaselswarezofallkinds.com and just as you start to download Visual Studio 2012 (giant monster corp. version), for educational purposes only of course, when suddenly something like the following image appears on your screen…
My My Doesn't this look official.  It MUST be real

This alarming message that you have been exiled from the Internet due to digital herpes is followed by something that looks similar to this…

My Hero  NOT

Oh Horrors!! According to these friendly people and their conveniently placed program, your PC’s hard drive is one solid virus from the boot sector to the last byte. Whatever shall you do?!?! The friendly program runs for a bit and then a box pops up from somewhere and asks if you would like to have all the bad ol’ spyware removed from your innocent little PC. Well who wouldn’t?? You click on the button that says, “Please Please Save My PC” and another box pops up that says “OK, it looks like we can save it…Do you prefer Visa or Master Card?” HUH???

This scenario is played out daily as more and more new computer users join the ranks of the digitally diseased. The friendly program trying so desperately to save your hard drive is, in fact, the source of the malware infecting your precious baby. In this article, I will offer some tips that you can use to protect both your digital data, your credit history, and your bank account from the nefarious ne’er-do-wells who would prey on the inexperience of others.

Rule 1: Don’t go there. The Internet, by definition, is the great clearing house for data. It does a great deal of good; makes wonderful collaboration and communication possible, and shrinks the entire world to the size of your computer desk. On the other hand, the Internet is a community and like any community there are good and bad people. It is not always easy to tell the difference because of the anonymous nature of the online experience but common sense will take you a long way. If it sounds too good to be true, IT IS. People design traps with bait that looks appealing. The newest version of MS Office or Visual Studio can cost over $1000 retail. Why wouldn’t someone go out and unload that kind of money in order to upload it to a warez site so everyone can have it for free. Does it strike you as suspicious? It should. What makes it more suspicious is that the version they are claiming to offer won’t be out for another month but somehow they have by-passed some of the highest security known to man to get the program to you. Porn sites, warez sites (if you don’t know what warez are, hang around the Internet a while and you will), torrent sites, and “get rich quick” sites are common lures to trap inexperienced surfers drawn by the lure of “Madam Spanks A’Lot’s House of Perpetual Paddling”. Short and Simple…Don’t Go There. Stay away from those sites and you will reduce the likelihood of contracting virtual VD 1000 fold.

All right, I ignored your advice and now I see this little box on my screen telling me that I am infected by every virus and trojan known to man. WHAT CAN I DO??

Rule 2: DON’T PANIC. First, do nothing. If you are already infected it won’t hurt anything to wait a moment. It is also possible that you are NOT actually infected yet. Look at the box. It probably has a button that says “OK” or “Continue” and one that says “Cancel”. What ever you do, DO NOT CLICK ON EITHER BUTTON. “But the button said “Cancel”. Thats what I want to do. I don’t want anyone to get my credit card number. Shouldn’t I cancel the program and won’t it go away”. <sarcasm>Of course, the guy that wrote the virus was so considerate that he hooked up a cancel button in case you didn’t want to be a victim of identity theft. Wasn’t that thoughtful?</sarcasm> If you click on anything concerning this program it will install a load of malware on your hard drive. The buttons and even the little box that contain the buttons are clickable controls and doing anything with the mouse will trigger a mess. Don’t click on anything.

Rule 3: ctl+alt+del is your friend. Look at your keyboard. Find the ctl or control key. Should be on the bottom row near the side of the keyboard. There are usually two (windows keyboards not Mac). The alt key should be within one or two keys of the ctl key. The del or delete key is usually found on the right hand side in a group of 6 buttons that say “home” “insert”, “page up”, and “page down”. Hit the ctl key and hold it down. While it is depressed, hit the alt key. While holding these two keys down, hit and hold the del key. You should see something similar to the following…


       Click the image to Enlarge

This box is called the Task Manager. It will allow you, among other things, to start and stop applications. Notice the tabs at the top. The active one says “Applications”. Listed in the main body of the window are all the programs currently running. As you can see, I am currently running MS Internet Explorer and Adobe Dreamweaver CS3. Begin with the first one in your list. Click on the application name to highlight it. It will turn blue. Below the list are three buttons. One says “End Task” With the first application highlighted, click “End Task” and it will close. Repeat until you see nothing left in this list. If you are lucky (and fairly quick), everything will close and you will eventually be back to your desktop. Congratulations, you (hopefully) just saved yourself the cost of a computer tech visit to clean spyware from your PC. Tomorrow I will continue this post and tell you what to do to make sure that nothing got through to harm your PC.

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Comments»

1. wildstorm - April 22, 2010

Very good information.


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