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Advising Friend on Virus Alert

 
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Advising Friend on Virus Alert - 7/25/2012 1:13:49 AM   
Gary Childress


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Joined: 7/17/2005
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A friend of my mom's just called asking about a popup message that she just received on her computer. It said it was from Windows Essentials or something telling her her computer "might be infected" and to click "clean" to repair the infection. She uses AVG and doesn't have Windows Essentials to her knowledge. Well, she clicked on "clean" and I forget what she said happened when she did that. Anyway she noted that the "alert" mispelled the word "might" (spelling it migth) where it said her computer "migth be infected".

I advised her that it sounded like a rogue alert to me and that she might want to take her computer to someplace like CompUSA or Office Depot to get it scanned for certain, especially if she uses her computer for personal business. I told her I believe Office Depot scans for free and will only charge if they have to clean something. I just called Office Depot and confirmed that their service is indeed free.

Now I'm thinking to myself, I could have maybe offered to take a look at her computer and run Malwarebytes or Trend Micro's Housecall on it for her. But Office Depot runs a free check and they probably would be able to spot anything that came up just as well or better than I could.

What would your response have been? Do you think I should have offered to help or was advising her to take it to the experts the better thing to do? I'm no expert on computers but I do know of a few free programs to check for viruses. And I'm pretty suspicious of the alert she described to me. It does sound a lot like "scareware" to me. She ran her AVG afterward but it didn't pick up anything. I told her that she might want to get it checked anyway because AVG isn't always up on the latest threats.

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Post #: 1
RE: Advising Friend on Virus Alert - 7/25/2012 1:31:29 AM   
Lieste

 

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Don't know 'Office Depot' but if they are anything like PC World... then fixing it yourself is the right thing... I've had 'recommendations' to replace hardware that wasn't in need of repair, and was lower specc'd though newer than the part that was "too old". Also had non-licensed software installed without request by a different shop. (I didn't take either machine in, but was involved in recovering the unsuccessful 'fixes').

OTOH, a good independent might give excellent service and have knowledgeable and enthusiastic staff ~ so experience of 'Box shifters' isn't the whole picture ~ and others have had problems fixed successfully too.

I used to get dozens of problems like that to fix (and some were a royal PITA, needing a full system re-install on a formatted drive to eradicate). The client would always say "it wasn't from AVG (or Panda, or Avast etc)... ...but I clicked on 'yes' and now my computer does strange stuff... No I didn't write down the error messages... Oh, for about 6 months now. ... What's a back-up?"

I've had some success with HiJackThis!, but it means taking the targetted machine offline for a few days so the advisors can pore over the logs, advise which AV/A-Spy stuff to attack the problem with. It is frequently not very intensive, but some types of infestation can be deeply buried, with rootkits and other adaptive and self-repairing behaviours.

< Message edited by Lieste -- 7/25/2012 1:36:16 AM >

(in reply to Gary Childress)
Post #: 2
RE: Advising Friend on Virus Alert - 7/25/2012 1:38:34 AM   
Gary Childress


Posts: 5525
Joined: 7/17/2005
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The one time I took my machine up to Office Depot for a virus check they seemed very helpful, didn't try to sell me anything I didn't need or install anything on my machine that I'm aware of. The guy that ran the check seemed quite personable and made a few "off the record (don't tell my boss I said this)" recommendations. He didn't spot anything on my machine. Now I did once take my machine to Office Depot with some sort of problem--I forget now what it was--but they couldn't find the problem with the simple resources they had so I took it to CompUSA and they found the problem. But I figure with something as simple as a virus check Office Depot might be a safe bet.

Maybe I should call her back and offer to run some checks myself....

EDIT: Now that I think of it I may have steered her toward a computer salesman's wet dream. They may try to sell her anti-virus software. In my experience AVG Free has been just as good for me as Norton or Macafee. Hmmm. Now I'm wondering.

< Message edited by Gary Childress -- 7/25/2012 2:01:43 AM >


_____________________________

Favorites and/or other Great Games from Matrix :

1. War in the Pacific/ Admiral's Edition
2. Panzer Corps
3. Commander: Europe at War
4. John Tiller's Campaign Series

(in reply to Lieste)
Post #: 3
RE: Advising Friend on Virus Alert - 7/25/2012 4:35:13 AM   
sPzAbt653


Posts: 2770
Joined: 5/3/2007
From: east coast, usa
Status: online
I've used Microsoft Sercurity Essentials for some time and am happy with it. Oh, and its free so I'm actually very happy with it.

I've had a few of those rogue pop up warnings and agree with you that it sounds suspicious. Your friend may have to take the unit somewhere to get it 'professionally cleaned'.

(in reply to Gary Childress)
Post #: 4
RE: Advising Friend on Virus Alert - 7/25/2012 5:13:54 AM   
Joe 98


Posts: 4031
Joined: 1/5/2001
From: Wollondilly, Sydney
Status: offline
On my netbook I have installed Microsoft Security Essentials.

It is recommended that only 1 anti virus program be installed on a PC at any one time.

About a year ago a message came up saying click here to update or something. It turned out to be a virus.

I googled it. Many people had been hit with this! After a few days Microsoft came up with a solution and MSE has been terrific ever since.

.
.





(in reply to sPzAbt653)
Post #: 5
RE: Advising Friend on Virus Alert - 7/25/2012 1:00:24 PM   
tigercub


Posts: 1550
Joined: 2/3/2003
From: chiang mai ,thailand
Status: offline
there are many scams going ones that tell you have a problem and we will check for free, next after download we just fixed some stuff on you computer but you need to buy X to get rid of this virus or spywear!!

come in sucker... Microsoft Security Essentials is ok for free but its not that good!

best advice read on the internet from many places keep updating what ya know

i use Avira but that is does not mean its the best!

Tiger

< Message edited by tigercub -- 7/25/2012 1:02:53 PM >


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RE: Advising Friend on Virus Alert - 7/25/2012 6:55:04 PM   
Orm


Posts: 5918
Joined: 5/3/2008
From: Sweden
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: Gary Childress

A friend of my mom's just called asking about a popup message that she just received on her computer. It said it was from Windows Essentials or something telling her her computer "might be infected" and to click "clean" to repair the infection. She uses AVG and doesn't have Windows Essentials to her knowledge. Well, she clicked on "clean" and I forget what she said happened when she did that. Anyway she noted that the "alert" mispelled the word "might" (spelling it migth) where it said her computer "migth be infected".

I advised her that it sounded like a rogue alert to me and that she might want to take her computer to someplace like CompUSA or Office Depot to get it scanned for certain, especially if she uses her computer for personal business. I told her I believe Office Depot scans for free and will only charge if they have to clean something. I just called Office Depot and confirmed that their service is indeed free.

Now I'm thinking to myself, I could have maybe offered to take a look at her computer and run Malwarebytes or Trend Micro's Housecall on it for her. But Office Depot runs a free check and they probably would be able to spot anything that came up just as well or better than I could.

What would your response have been? Do you think I should have offered to help or was advising her to take it to the experts the better thing to do? I'm no expert on computers but I do know of a few free programs to check for viruses. And I'm pretty suspicious of the alert she described to me. It does sound a lot like "scareware" to me. She ran her AVG afterward but it didn't pick up anything. I told her that she might want to get it checked anyway because AVG isn't always up on the latest threats.

You did the right call. I would have done the same, if I thought of it, because if I would have done it myself I would have wondered if I missed something. Better then to let the professionals look at her computer.

I've received a similar message myself and I suspect it was a commercial or hoax of some kind. But I closed it down at once so I have no idea if answering it would have installed a nasty virus or something else.

_____________________________

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your Captain speaking. We have a small problem. All four engines have stopped. We are doing our damnedest to get them going again. I trust you are not in too much distress. - Captain Eric Moody

(in reply to Gary Childress)
Post #: 7
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