Monday, March 25, 2013

Dealing with Adware Viruses

My post is late today because I had to send my laptop to the computer doctor over the weekend. It got a nasty case of adware--a virus that adds bogus promotional pop-up links to every site you browse online. Left untreated, adware can slow your computer, reroute you to other virus-infested sites, and crash your computer. Some spyware viruses can steal your passwords and other secure information.

How did I know I got an adware virus? On Thursday night, I turned on my computer and clicked on Internet Explorer. My Yahoo! homepage did not come up. A homepage I didn't recognize did. I asked the family if anyone had switched it--no one had.

That's sign one.

*If a homepage other than the one you set comes up, you probably have some sort of spyware.*

Then I headed to my blog and noticed a link in a word I did not link. When I hovered over it, a pop-up add showed up. I have not and will not authorize ads on my blog, so I knew something was wrong.

That was sign two.

*If you notice links to ads where they don't really make sense, you probably have adware.*

Back at Yahoo!, a weight-loss ad showed up at the top and it jiggled. I've never seen this on the homepage before. When I went to my e-mail, a pop-up ad appeared in the middle of my e-mails!

That was sign three.

*If you notice odd ads in places you didn't have them before like your e-mail messages, you probably have adware.*

I have MalwareBytes and Avast anti-virus installed on my laptop. I ran full scans on both, and they did not find the adware virus. After a little research, I decided to purchase Norton Internet Security, since it was rated highly for eliminating adware, malware, and spyware. Unfortunately, it didn't detect anything.

I tried two free spyware clean-up programs. One found the viruses but couldn't get rid of them. The other refused to open on my computer. I'd spent six hours trying to kill this adware--I knew I was beat!

We have several local computer repair places, and Best Buy's Geek Squad is always an option too. But I like to support local companies, and I've found they are usually pretty quick with repairs. I took my laptop in on Saturday morning, and it was virus-free and cleaned up by 10am today (Monday). The service didn't come cheap--I spent 80 dollars, but it was worth it.

I've had adware take over my computer a few years ago. None of my installed programs found the virus. It slowed our computer down, rerouted us to other unstable websites, and finally crashed the computer. Eighty bucks is a lot cheaper than buying a new computer!

If you suspect a malicious virus has attacked your computer, take care of it right away. Try the free options--MalwareBytes (it's found many, many trojan horses on my computer) and Avast free anti-virus (it's killed too many known viruses to count). If that doesn't work, go to a professional.

Have you ever had adware, malware, or spyware on your computer that you couldn't get rid of? What did you do to take care of it?

Have a terrific week!!

15 comments:

  1. I can't believe I'm the first on this post. I don't thin that has ever happened before. What a lot of good information in this blog. I'm writing the names you tried down so I will have them handy if I need them. I'm glad things are good to go again for you.

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    1. I'm so glad, Nancy! Fighting adware and other viruses is NO fun!

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  2. To answer your question, no never. I use Norton Anti-Virus. Twenty bucks for a one user/three computer application. Less for one computer, like fourteen dollars on Amazon. You can download direct to your PC or Mac from Amazon. It scans emails, downloads, and does a system scan in the background every time the computer is idle. Get waht you pay for and Avast is free. I'm just saying...

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    1. I've heard a lot of good things about Norton, George. Unfortunately, even Norton couldn't pick up on this virus. I've had really good luck with Avast--even the computer specialist I use recommends it. :) Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. Yikes! I'm glad you got it fixed.

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  4. Glad you got rid of it before your computer crashed and you lost important documents!!

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  5. I went through a similar experience when my last desktop crashed. But the local 'geek' chose to take an extra day off the first of July last year. I wound up purchasing a laptop. I like the laptop most of the time. I did lose some photos. But I learned a few things as I went through that time.

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    1. I'm sorry you lost some photos--that's always tough. I'm glad you like your laptop, though! I love mine. :)

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  6. Unfortunately, adware, malware, and viruses are a fact of life. Like you, I run Malwarebytes, and I have MacAfee for the virus software (a long time ago, I was a beta tester for MacAfee so that's what I stick with). I also run a program called CC Cleaner. I run the cleaner and both the malware and virus scanners every week! Even with that diligence sometimes you can't get rid of nasties. I have had to scrub my hard drive (delete all the files), reinstall the operating system and start all over again. Sometimes, even that doesn't work as the virus are hidden like Easter eggs. When all else fails, it's time to buy a new machine. Oh, and you are backing up all your important files every week, right? I back up all my important files as I use them to Dropbox

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    1. Smart, CJ! I like the idea of not just running the virus and malware scans, but the CC cleaner too. I wouldn't have thought of that! I do back-up--I use Carbonite. Painless! Thanks!

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  7. So glad you got your computer fixed. I don't think I've ever had adware, but I probably wouldn't recognize a problem until it was too late. I ask my hubby to run periodic checks on my computer, though, so hopefully anything wrong is caught.

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    1. Sometimes detecting a virus is as easy as realizing something doesn't look right. Regular scans make a huge difference!

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  8. That stinks so bad but I'm glad you got it fixed! Thanks for the tips too.
    Welcome back to cyberland. :-)

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