Posted on Thursday, July 11th, 2013 No Comments
Today was one of those days where you spend half the day trying to kill a computer virus.
Part of my job in this office is to be the pseudo-IT person. I’m not a major computer geek, but I know enough to help the travel agents with Windows issues, a little bit of networking, and other things like battling viruses.
One of the agents in the office reported some bad computer behavior. Outlook was telling her that simple PDF files were viruses when she tried to email them, and every time she clicked on a link in Google she was being sent to some random page. Obvious virus behavior.
My usual method of fixing viruses is to download MalwareBytes, which is a free little program that does a great job of finding malware and viruses. I couldn’t even download it to the infected computer because part of the virus was to block any downloading of executable files. Luckily someone had a flash drive, so I downloaded the installation file to my own computer and then transferred it over.
I put the computer in safe mode with no networking and installed MalwareBytes. It found 2 viruses. Then I put the computer in safe mode with networking so it could downloaded the latest database. It found one more virus. After that, the Google problem was still there, still redirecting me to phishing sites and other junk. I ran a full scan (which took an hour and a half) and it found yet another. I restarted, tested, still the same google problem. I tried a couple more quick scans, and it seemed like it just kept finding the same exact virus without really getting rid of it.
I started researching “google redirect virus” to see what would come up. Apparently it’s a tough little bugger that evades most anti-virus scans, and it was even getting around my tried-and-true MalwareBytes. The problem with researching viruses online is that some of the websites that look like help forums are actually just sites run by the virus creators, trying to get you to buy their removal software. So I found the most trustworthy info I could find, which suggested to try a program called Norton Power Eraser. I downloaded that to my computer and transferred it over to the infected computer.
I ran this program and it found 3 more bugs. I restarted again, and YAY THE VIRUS WAS DEAD!
All of this took from about 10:00 – 2:30. What a pain. I was afraid I’d end up having to reformat the whole computer, so this was a good outcome.