I have not gotten a darn thing accomplished school-wise for the last two nights. The reason is that my computer got sick. It still worked, but I could tell by some quirky behavior that it had contracted a virus. Unfortunately, I couldn’t shove a Sudafed in the USB port and make it all better. 😦
I normally use Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, but it didn’t detect this icky Trojan. Lesson No. 1: there’s a difference between malware and viruses. I guess it’s like an ear infection vs. a cold. (On a side note, I noticed as I was searching techie forums for advice that I started seeing condom ads in the sidebars. Classy, marketing gurus … not that kind of Trojan, sheesh.)
It’s times like these when I wish I could pick up the phone and call my uber-geek brother. Instead, I vented to a techie friend who recommended Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) to check for viruses and CCleaner to get rid of extraneous files (basically a thorough cache purge). I added both, and MSE immediately turned red as it detected and purged the bug each time it cropped up … but that’s just the problem … it kept popping back up. I was still getting redirected from websites, and my computer didn’t want to shut down. MSE did a good job of immediately detecting the problem, but it only deleted it temporarily.
Finally, after reading several trustworthy recommendations, I ran the free scan from HitmanPro, which identified the same file that MSE had been, so I activated the free trial (30 days, if I recall correctly) to get rid of it. I rebooted and ran a few Google searches, and so far (knock on wood) – no redirects! MSE has also been nice & green for a while now, too. *Hopefully* it’s gone now.
I feel so … violated. 😦 I like to think that I’m a pretty tech-savvy person (for an end-user), and I maintain strict privacy settings, use Web of Trust for browsing, etc., so it ticks me off that I somehow got duped. Oh, well – I just have more catch-up work to do for my classes, but at least the papers aren’t due right away.