Warning: There will be profanity ahead. Don’t give me any crap about it.
So it’s 4:15 in the morning and I’m in Safe Mode. Not on this computer, but on the other one. The one that contains all of my work files. Both the day job stuff and the thousands and thousands of words from my WIPS. I’ve been in Safe Mode there for an hour, bleary-eyed and swearing.
First at my husband. What the hell time is it? This, when he nudged me awake.
A few more creative ones when I saw my computer screen, the glorious cascade of XP Security boxes flashing like the Christmas lights in Hell. And they were like a hydra – kill one box and three more pop up to take its place. No internet, no Spybot, no Virus protection could be opened. Son of a bitch!
What the hell were you doing?
This was totally unfair. I recognized that little shield-shaped 4 square in the task tray. That little shit has made an appearance before. XP Security – a fake virus protector screaming out against a fake virus that is had detected. But I always caught it before it managed to make its insidious little self a permanent problem. He had a couple of windows open and didn’t notice it until it was too late.
No fault there. I occasionally get info drunk and open window after window, stacking up links to read through in order when I’m perusing search results.
But 3:30 in the morning? And I’ve had a headache for two days. And I have to take Quinn to school before work, so I have to fix this now so I can work the moment I walk back in from that trip. Mother McFucker.
Reboot in Safe mode. Dink with task manager for 20 minutes trying to identify the processes that shouldn’t be there. I know a bunch of them, but a bunch more are meaningless to me. Soooo. Search them individually on the laptop. Three are suspect. One might be a virus OR some damn thing related to Office voice recognition files. One had a list of optional processes so long I didn’t even bother going through.
Keep closing the little boxes when they pop up. Ah-ha! There’s one. ssb.exe. It’s in the Processes list when the icon is there, not on the list during the 7 second window from when I close it until that thing rears back up.
Search removal options. Download this. Download that. I can’t download anything, I don’t have web access. And please don’t point out the whole download to flash drive on this computer and load it in that way thing. I just dropped the flash drive into my coffee!
Because it’s too early for this!
I could cheerfully throttle the jackass that built this thing. How can someone so smart be such an ass cactus about how they use their talents?
Experiment. In the 7 second window between manually killing the process in the task manager and when it pops back to life, click launch on Spybot. Success!
I love Spybot Search & Destroy. Of course, every time that fucking XP Security box pops back up, Spybot stalls. So every 7 seconds for nearly 2 HOURS I have to manually kill the process in the Task Manager to keep it running. I watched the number of malicious entries climb. 1. 7. 19. 26. 44. 84. And after that 84th flag was detected, I stopped it to fix the entries found so far.
And that little shield disappeared!
Then the power cut out.
Are you kidding me?
Did it save? Or did it cut out before it was done isolating it? Grrrr.
So, don the stupid head lamp flashlight from L. L. Bean (dorky, sure, but super cool to be hands free in the dark) and be thrilled that Quinn seems to have a power outage auto detect that prompted him to pop awake as soon as the power cut.
Commence panicked screaming and the dog falling down the stairs in terror.
Light candles and get ready for school in the dark. At least we left early enough for a coffee detour and a surprise treat of breakfast out, since I couldn’t feed him at home. But all the while my brain was eating itself over this stupid virus.
But when I returned, but power was back on. Still wearing my coat I went back to boot up. I had less than an hour to get this contained before I had some serious problems with my ability to work.
Get everything else ready while it boots up then click Firefox.
It opened. I waited, but nothing else showed up. So far so good. Open Spybot, download latest updates. Also go download AVG 2012 Free Antivirus.
All good so far. And while I was waiting for the downloads to finish, I read the CNET page the download came from and I saw something that made me giddy: AVG 2012 includes a couple of solid changes to make you safer. The first is a patent-pending technique for identifying one of the most obnoxious threats to ever reach your computer: the fake antivirus. If you’re unfamiliar, these programs purport to be an antivirus, or a Web-based antivirus scan.
I went to CNET instead of AVG’s page, because I am one of those people who knows just enough about computers to be dangerous. I always hit CNET and Kim Kommando first when I hit upon something I want to download or something I don’t know how to do. Less likely to do something stupid that way.
I reran Spybot after the upgrade and found a few more straggling components. And when I ran AVG it grabbed one more component and eliminated it.
And then I ran the one time use AGV PC Tuneup. Holy cow! Over 4000 file fragments and shadows of former downloads and temporary internet files. Clean them up, reboot.
That thing there? I will be buying the full version of that. My computer flies now. Big word docs open super fast and save even faster.
The virus is dead. Now I get to kill a bunch of time today changing passwords instead of starting my Chirstmas shopping.
Here’s hoping the jackass that built that XP Service virus get kidnapped for his organs and parsed out along the black market. I have a friend that needs a kidney.