Friday, May 27, 2011

Public Service Announcement

"Windows Vista Restore" is an evil, sneaky virus/malware program. It gets onto your computer via a Trojan horse, so it turns out that my clicking on the 'Fix Errors' button was stupid but not the ultimate cause of the infection. Once you see that button, your computer is already infected. In my defense, i quote the infobox from the video above, "The only indication that Windows Restore is a scam application is when it begins to force users into paying for the registered version before any fix can be run on the system." And, once they asked for my credit card number the penny dropped immediately. Even my stupidity has limits.

Happily, 'puter is feeling fit and frisky once more, up to visiting on the web and such. I advise that you watch the first minute or so of the video to get a feel for what this virus looks like so you don't do anything ill-advised such as clicking on the buttons (like i did).  In short, your desktop fades to black, you lose all your program icons, and a scary, official-Windows-looking window pops up telling you that you're experiencing critical hard drive errors, you are losing data which may not be recoverable, and so on.  You may look in your files and folders for your photos and find that the folders are empty, while "critical hard drive error" windows pop on top of each other every minute or so. Nice.

The day before all this hoopla hit the fan i had noticed that when i went to my website (The Dashing E), i had no blogger toolbar across the top, so i had no way to log in. When i scrolled down to the comments, the 'POST A COMMENT' option was greyed out, so i couldn't log in that way either. I ended up logging in through other blogger sites. I believe this was the first sign of the infection, so if you have this happen to you i'd follow the above video or contact 'technical services' to see if you have contracted this infection and how to get rid of it.

The video at the top of this post does a great job of talking you through the de-infection process - 650038haig also teaches you how to make your photos and other documents accessible again (yep, that was exciting - all those pix i'd downloaded to the hard drive, nowhere to be found). Unfortunately, by the time i called my dad (familial super geek) the virus prevented me from even accessing the 'Start' button - in that case, you may need to access the higher-ups of the digital priesthood. It's worth it - our little machine was useless there for a day or so. Mr. Eccentric is a superstar. He spent hours running scans through ESET Nod32 (our regular anti-evil application), researching the Windows Vista Restore virus, de-hiding files, and installing MalwareBytes Anti-Malware.  Let me tell you, in this kind of situation an obsessive-compulsive Virgo is your dream life mate!

All the usual cautions apply - install a reputable anti-virus application (maybe two!) and update it regularly. Don't go to porn sites (obviously - this one activity keeps my father in green fees),  and never never EVER give anyone your credit card info, e-mail address, passwords, social security number, etc. unless you are in the process of purchasing something from them on a reputable site. Additionally, your e-mail provider does not need you to update your information to 'weed out unused e-mail accounts', and the first cousin of the Botswanian Secretary of State does not need your help to launder money (even though she is a devout but penniless widow).

Back to regular programming now in progress......


  1. Something similar happened to me a week ago, I had a program pop up on my screen, purportedly a Microsoft virus removal tool, claiming that my computer was full of assorted malware, and I should 'click here to remove' it all... Something about it seemed just a little off though so I googled it and discovered it was a similar scam to what you described, demanding that you pay for the program so you can rid yourself of the malware it falsely claims you have.

  2. An excellent reminder to be cautious and suspicious of such things. I had a similar virus a few weeks ago and was able to delete it myself but it messed with things for a day or two.

  3. And just who are you calling "obsessive-compulsive"?
    (Oops, hold on, I've got to touch the bedroom door-knob 7 times before I post this.) Whew!

  4. just in case you didn't guess...the above comment posted under 'tiny junco' is from Mr. E (otherwise known as 'the saver of my hiney' and very funny in person, too!)

    oh little mouse, what a nasty experience - looks like you and Sheila (who deleted the virus herself) are definitely smarter than i on these matters....i'll do my best to channel you two in future! it's especially creepy when you have a lot of photos, docs, etc. on your hard drive!

    i'm glad both of you are paranoid, suspicious types :) have a great weekend! steph

  5. You could always go with Free BSD (what Mac uses) or Linux.

  6. Thank you for this advice. Phew, I get cold sweats thinking about my computer getting a virus...
    I love your Issey Miyake top that you have recently rediscovered, yay! for you! It is beautiful, I'm not surprised you love it so much. I used to have about a dozen Issey Miyake Vogue patterns and I think they got thrown out sometime between my teenage years and getting married, boo! Now I regret so much not having them! His patterns are simply amazing. But then again, I have a bit of a "thing" for Japanese designs...

  7. Hullo Bippy!'s the ongoing pain in my @rse of computers! altho tony was starting to make noises about our next machine being a Mac even before this fiasco, so..

    (the above comment is for my brother - i'm not generally potty-mouthed with non-family members :)

    Welcome Carolyn! no kiddin'......i'm getting cold sweats thinking about your losing all those Miyake patterns! ah, that is true pain. on the happy, but expensive, side, many of those vintage patterns are available for sale on e-bay.

    i've been into japanese design for years myself, it's fun to run into a fellow enthusiast! it fascinates me such how avant garde design can be so wearable - i definitely notice that in your outfit posts!

    have a great day! steph

  8. Thanks for this, steph! I have been lulled into a false sense of security lately--must always be watchful-so thanks for the remindr. Paula

  9. Sigh. Telephoning is really nice, but I miss the little peek into your other life. Oh well.

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