Monday, October 25, 2010

Halloween Horrors: Greenlee Gazette Hit with Virus!!!

As a computer guru (that's what they call me anyway), I often roll my eyes at folks who "accidentally" install a bogus program, because they were fooled by a fake alert.  Many's the computer I've had to perform CPR upon after somebody installed one of these devious programs. Then it happened to me.

Whatever you do, don't fall for this alert.
Yesterday, I was looking up something on Google or Bing, I think it was a photo of some celebrity that was in one of the Nightmare on Elm Street movies (it wasn't porn, I swear). Anyway, I got one of those bogus alerts, but I thought I dismissed it. But afterward, I got a few legitimate alerts from my McAfee software. It was obnoxious, but McAfee seemed to be handling it ok.

Then, today, I turned on the monitor (having left the computer on), and was confronted with a Microsoft Security Alert.  Here's where I should point out that while I've had Windows 7 for a while, I have infinitely more experience with XP, Vista, 98, 95 and the rest. So, while my first tipoff should have been the verbiage in the window, and the fact that I'd never seen it before, I was fooled.  Whoever came up with the graphics for this thing is a pro.  The bogus alert told me it found a solution, but needed to restart. At this point, I wasn't yet suspicious.  Upon reboot, a window came up immediately that said: "ThinkPoint: World's Leading Security Solution."  Never having heard of this, once again, my antennae should have gone up.  But again, the graphics were terrific, including a Windows logo. 

If you get to this screen, it's too late.
That's when it started rattling off a bunch of "found" problems, and by now the combination of familiar verbiage and the familiarity of the fake scan caused panic.  I immediately hit CTRL+ALT+DEL, and was able to shut the freakin' thing down. But, after that, it doesn't let you open any programs, leaves you with a black screen, and makes you feel like an idiot.

I managed like I often do, to stumble my way through in such a way that I can't even piece together what I did to make it stop terrorizing me.  I got some hints on the interwebz, and managed to get a system restore to complete and get me around the rogue program.  Right now, I'm running every damned thing I can to make sure it's extinguished for good.  If you have run into the same thing I did, here's the site that helped me the most:, which is where I culled the images.

By the way, the creators of this crap are downright evil. Had to be said.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Yes, I'm aware that this isn't exactly a "virus," though I suppose it sort of implants Trojan horse viruses as part of its work.  But I've found that "virus" has become a catch-all word for any malware or other PC "infection," at least by the public at large.  Kind of how my boss thinks the verb "download" is a multi-purpose word that applies to anything computer related!

1 comment:

  1. Been there, a few months ago. I know your pain. We had the same problem. Good luck. We backdated everything and it turned out ok.
    Probably Karl Rove had something to do with it.


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