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!!