Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Win 7 Internet Security 2012

What sounds like an antivirus program is in reality a disguised malware program, and it took over my laptop yesterday. My wife had received a fishy looking e-mail from her sister, consisting of only a link to a file on the site of Star Computer Services, Canada. I didn't click on that link, but googled the site instead, which resulted in a legit looking link to that domain name. So I followed that Google link, and was infected by that virus within seconds. What was so scary about that is that I have a firewall, updated anti-virus program, and everything else by the book running. And just by surfing to the main domain name, without any additional "OK" click, the virus was able to completely take over my computer.

The nasty thing was that the malware program blocked all attempts to remove it. Any attempt to open a browser or the antivirus program resulted in a big window telling you that the browser or antivirus was infected by trojans, and that only Win 7 Internet Security 2012 would be able to remove all these nasty viruses. Even restarting in safe mode didn't help. The only way to finally remove it was following the instructions from this site, burning a registry edit and a specific removal program onto a CD on a different computer and running those on the infected computer.

I then uninstalled the useless freeware antivirus which had failed to stop the virus, and installed Microsoft Security Essentials instead. I didn't dare trying if that one would prevent the infection if surfing to the same infected site again, but it is a good, free anti-virus. And unlike the free anti-virus I was using before, it doesn't nag you to buy the "professional" version every time you update it. Scanned every single file on the computer, which took all night, and it seems I got completely rid of the virus.

Before you fire off a comment telling me how stupid I am to catch a virus, and how that could never happen to you with your superior virus protection setup, I dare you to surf over to and see how effective your protection really is (maybe download the removal tools first). I had done all the usual stuff to protect me against viruses, and it didn't help a bit.

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