The desktop is in the shop again.
Last Thursday I was surfing the net and got a Malicious Software warning from my Avast anti-virus. Avast Pro has successfully blocked threats to our PC safety forever. We have to search the net constantly, looking up odd things for books, and typically our PC’s are covered with armor and bristle with spikes. Bad stuff usually bounces off without a scratch. We haven’t had a virus infection in the last four years and we frequently scrub stuff out with Malwarebytes and Spybot. So I did what I always do: shut down the browser before the nasty bugger could do any damage.
And then my computer blew up. The desktop went twitchy, the shortcuts vanished, and two dozen false alerts popped up, telling me that the guts of my Alienware were collapsing.
I disconnected the Ethernet cable to keep it from spreading and got on my laptop. A quick search identified the culprit: the System Check Virus, a nasty critter engineered by a couple of guys in Europe. It holds your PC hostage until you pay them to activate their fake virus removal software. The procedure for removal was long and complicated and there were several versions of it.
I tried the standard operating procedure. Ran Avast. It found nothing. Ran Malwarebytes. Four infected files. I quarantined them and shut down as prompted.
The PC rebooted to a completely black desktop.
Tried Regedit to manually edit registry keys.
Tried to run Malware again.
No infections found.
The false warnings continued to cascade at me in regular bursts. Clearly I needed someone who knew more about it than I did. We took the PC to the shop.
Gordon has been rather gracious about the whole thing, even though he had to carry the big super-heavy desktop back and forth.
Friday night I get my PC back. It is clean and beautiful. I fire it up and of course log into Star Wars. I have weird crap on auction and I want to know if my colored light saber crystals had sold. The connection is painfully slow. Something isn’t right. I back out and fire up the Firefox. I try a sample search and I am immediately redirected to four different windows. Google Redirect virus. Damn it all to hell.
I disable all of the Firefox extensions, install the script blocker add-on, and run Malware again. Malware comes clean. The problem is spreading: the virus keeps trying to open IE to send me to new windows and Avast keeps stomping on those attempts, sending frequent warning flares, screaming about malicious sites, and asking for air support.
Checked registry for Firefox trouble extensions such as Xulrunner. Nothing. Everything comes back roses.
So yesterday we took it back to the shop. I don’t blame the repair guys – they clearly purged the System Check from the PC but it apparently came bundled with Google Redirect.
Here is hoping I will get my computer back today.