Phew! Be careful, malware around…

Yesterday evening we were looking on Google Maps…at a house that we may buy and its surroundings. One of the features on Google Maps is that it shows names of companies in the area…and links to them.

I can advise you NOT to click those links!!! I did and when I did, “Think Point”,  a so-called computer protection software installed itself on my harddisk (NB: WITHOUT clicking to install anything, it all went 100% automatically!) and immediately took over control of my browsers (all of them) and both my anti-virus programs. When I tried alt-ctrl-del to close down this unwelcome software, I did not get into windows task management and could not manually close down the computer. I shut down my computer and browsed on my husband’s for the solution. Because it was obvious I had contracted malware, in this case a rogue hijacker.

Fortunately I found a really simple and safe one. Because this hijacker (which what software’s called that takes over control of your computer) is pretty harmful, I found out.

Something like this happened to me a while ago. And when I told people at the time, they were smirking a bit, hinting at my having been naughty and having looked up some adult entertainment sites to contract malware like that. Quite frustrating, because, no, I had not contracted the malware through “naughty” sites at all. I had contracted it by trying to download some freeware to turn .wav files into .mp3 files on Download.com, which I always thought was a reputable site. But nobody believed me at the time. Well, yesterday my husband was sitting watching with me, so he saw that such (pardon my language) shit really DOES come on your computer through reliable sites. Which I think is important to know. Because anyone can contract this crap ANYTIME.

And no, I did NOT click any “install such and sos” at all. I simply visited a website and there the programme unfolded itself and installed itself on my computer, taking over full control.

I’m not easily frightened by such things and experience has made me pretty confident that I can solve such problems. Also, I can make quite a good judgement of how well restored my computer actually is. But if this happend to someone who panics and hits the buttons, or if they THINK they’ve removed it and don’t realize that it’s still operating under the surface, then malware like this happily collects bank data, credit card data and may even send you on a one way internet journey to purchase certain software (which does not really offer you any protection, believe me!) and will corrupt your computer to such a state where it leaved behind damaged files so that ultimately your system goes black and still.

The crappiest thing is that this trojan comes disguised as computer protection software…when in fact it’s the extreme opposite.

So, you all out there…BE WARE!!! And should you contract “Think Point” by accident, here’s how to solve it:

First of all, make sure RIGHT NOW that you have more than one user account on your computer!!! And give them both equal rights to administer your system!!!!! Do that right now if you haven’t got it yet. It’s easy peasy and will help you through many similar problems you might contract in the future. Also make sure that system repair is turned on and check to see if it’s regularly updated to recent dates. If it isn’t, make sure that it updates every other day or so.

So, when you’ve contracted “Think Point” do not click ANY buttons…do not even try to close it. Give your computer a hard turnoff by keeping the power button pushed in until the computer turns off.

Malware like this sometimes only takes over one user account, so turn the computer back on and log into another user account that has full rights to do stuff on your computer. Then go to system repair, or system restore and go back a week or so. Documents made in that time span will not be removed, but software will. So, this reparation will not only remove this rogue software, but also software you installed in those few days. You might need to reinstall those after all’s been solved. Do the system repair and your computer will be restarted. Log into your own user account and check if you have full control of your browsers again. Your main browser may be irreperably damaged (mine was), but that’s easily undone later. If all seems well again, download anti-spyware and run it to see if nothing’s left behind. When all’s well, repair your browser if necessary by downloading the latest version and install it.

Do this and you’ll have your system back up and running within half an hour, no damage done.

I’ve informed both GoogleMaps and the company of the website I clicked…I think it’s time they both checked if the malware’s attached to their sites.

I posted about this because I read that this rogue is very active on the internet and that it has take the shape I encountered it in, hidden in safe sites, installing itself without requiring a single click. Maybe it’s best to be on your guard for stuff like this! And be prepared by taking some simple precautions like having a second user account with full rights and checking your system repair.

Bon voyage and happy surfing on the internet!!!

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