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July 17th, 2009, 04:40 PM #1My Experience in a PC Trojan Virus Hell!
PERSONAL NOTE: I hate to share bad news or experiences but this is a SERIOUS exception to my rule so pay attention!
You know how you "occasionally" will have those pesky computer hiccups and residual challenges that seem to disrupt different performances of your computer? You know the anxiety, fear, trepidation, and apprehension experienced when things "just don't seem to run right?" Well, sit back, grab a fresh cup of coffee and let me share with you my "30 Days of PC Trojan Virus Hell!"
It all started simply enough, yes, PC Tools Spyware Doctor was the first to recognize and quarantine a Trojan virus. Then very soon after, McAfee Security captured it again and quarantined the culprit. I was able to remove it from the computer with McAfee but I could not remove or delete it from the quarantine of Spyware Doctor. I even enlisted the online support of Spyware Doctor and completed an elaborate procedural process to try and remove it, which appeared to solve the problem. Ahhh! Relief! Another sick attack on my computer averted. Hmmmm! So I thought!
Quietly, little hiccups began to happen with easy enough repairs using Windows XP tools. However, every time I would solve one day's problems a whole new set would occur, seemingly unrelated. I continued on this "recognize>diagnose>verify>repair" mode for almost three weeks. Each experience becoming more and more complex to diagnose and evaluate, much less solve. I learned later these occurrences were becoming cumulative in nature causing more and more problems, compounding on the previous problems, solved or not. I said to myself, "Holy CRAP! What's this all about???"
I was already spending countless hours in this "survival" process making little, then no headway. I don't know, it just had to wait a bit as I was preparing to leave the country on a family reunion cruise. This was really praying on my mind as I now have so much invested in my computer with my home based business in personal development and just recently, the scanning, downloading and preservation of all of our familie's historical photographs from as far back as 1896. This situation was consuming all of my time. Since I have chronic insomnia, working just on the computer fixes was taking up to 18 hours a day, nonstop. I was spending so much time, weird times, on the computer my wife thought I was having an online affair. No such luck for this guy!
Upon my return from the cruise I had hit my optimistic limit of tolerance, broke down and called DELL On Call for help. They were awesome to say the least. Yes! I did not hesitate in purchasing a one year three incident technical service contract. I spent a solid three (3) hours online and on the phone with an outstanding and professional DELL Certified Technician who was able to take over my computer remotely, diagnose, evaluate, and clean out the Trojan virus. He revealed to me this was a rather insidious Trojan virus in that it initiates itself well embedded into the programming and continuously mutates spreading through out the hard drive and programs. He actually showed me the virus activity and that it was a countdown virus, meaning, had I waited until midnight of that night, it was 4:00 PM when I called him, my hard drive would have been totally destroyed. BUMMER!
Now came the big job of cleaning up the residual mess caused to the applications and even the registry. No computer technical service can guarantee or attempt to repair all of this due to the sheer number of programs and applications involved, it was up to me. There was some serious removal and reinstallation of programs and applications. This difficult process was seriously compounded by the bugs and problems with the new Firefox upgrade to 3.5 and its refusal to "play well with others in the sandbox." I finally uninstalled Firefox 3.5 and performed a clean reinstall of Firefox 3.01.11, the previously well functioning version. In addition, my HP printer software was completely corrupted.
Dealing with these issues one at a time, pulling from full image backups, restores, uninstalling and reinstalling with all of the glitches imaginable with both Firefox and HP were unbelievable. Finally, as a direct result of all of my personal research on the net; technical forums, product forums, knowledge bases, and serious trial and error learning, I FINALLY got my PC back to a clean, glitch free, awesomely functional, basis on Thursday, July 16th at 1:30 PM.
The life's lesson here guys? Take every attack of a virus or Trojan very seriously. To prevent grief in your life, always always perform backups to an external hard drive or separate partition on your hard drive. Utilize all of the services provide by McAfee Security Suite or Norton, perform twice daily full Restore Points to always have something clean and solid to fall back to in this event. At one point I was actually in fatal fear of having to uninstall and reinstall a clean Windows XP Professional Operating System. This would actually remove all existing information, archives, programs, and applications. Not an option in my mind! Learn from my experience, PLEASE! Now I can't wait to get back to my real life, what little there is of it, but it is mine.
Thank you for reading this expose' and personal experience. I hope you enjoyed and benefited from your time invested. I greatly appreciate it.
July 17th, 2009, 05:10 PM #2
Three things that might help:
NoScript works on Firefox and some other browsers, it turns off Javacript on web pages unless you say that you trust them and also stops a lot of other threats. Secunia PSI scans your system to make sure that all your applications are up-to-date.
Most trojan infections that I see these days are drive-by downloads from legitimate (but hacked) sites. You can't be too careful.
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