Is this a VIRUS??
March 11, 2009 11:37 AM   Subscribe

Is it a VIRUS?

Hi all,

A few days ago I was sent over a program and tried to open it. Once I ran the .exe file nothing popped up, so I tried again. Getting the same result, I gave up - thinking that perhaps it was corrupt.

A few moments later, I resumed my internet activities (using Vista by the way). I clicked my history tab and discovered my history had been wiped out entirely!

In it's place for each daily/weekly folder were sites that I've never visited! (For example, admarketplace, primosearch, blueseek, leadarchive, spreety, blinkx, etc.)

Now, my Norton keeps telling me that it has "just blocked a trojan" or some other internet boogy monster that has been trying to attack my computer. When I run a scan, nothing comes up! There has to be something going on behind the scenes because I'm also getting popups now, whereas I hadn't at all before.

What gives?
posted by seeminglyshy to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Oh good god yes, that sounds precisely like a virus.

By the way: who sent you an .exe file? A good rule of thumb about email: Never open an .exe file that you recieved via email unless you are certain that it's from someone you trust. Hands down, the easiest way for a malicious person to install a virus on your computer is to have you install it yourself by running their program for them after you've gotten it in email. Even if you got this .exe from someone you trust, they may have gotten it from the wrong place themselves; in which case they've got the virus, too.
posted by koeselitz at 11:52 AM on March 11, 2009

You have some virus/spyware problems. Personally, I'd recommend downloading Malwarebytes Anti-Malware and giving the machine a scan or two. Norton, AVG, etc. seem to have problems catching a lot of things. There's also the old staple, Ad-Aware, but I haven't used it in a few years.

Also, be more careful with what you open.
posted by HonorShadow at 11:53 AM on March 11, 2009

You could also give Spybot S&D a run at this.
posted by jquinby at 11:56 AM on March 11, 2009

By the way, here's what I would do: Norton has tested pretty highly recently, I guess, but if something gets by it, you might be able to catch it with another anti-Malware program. ClamWin is a good, free antivirus program that you could install and run.
posted by koeselitz at 11:58 AM on March 11, 2009

Response by poster: Holy mackerel! I was hoping that it wasn't.

I'm going to give ClamWin a shot, if it doesn't work I'm not sure what I'll do. This laptop brand-spanking new.

Thanks for chiming in guys.
posted by seeminglyshy at 12:24 PM on March 11, 2009

Well I was going to jokily suggest you nuke it from orbit by wiping and reinstalling, but if it is a brand spanking new laptop, as opposed to just brand new, then I'm guessing you just got it a few weeks ago - go ahead and wipe and reinstall, for as the legion of folks after me will tell you, once it's compromised, it's never the same. Ripley's advice is sage here.
posted by cashman at 12:28 PM on March 11, 2009

thirding the wipe it clean suggestion, if you're going to use it for years to come it's really not worth the trouble of having a virus in there...

sorry to hear this, it always sucks to have a comprimised 'puter!
posted by skaye at 1:30 PM on March 11, 2009

Don't run an .exe. file you get in email even if it is from someone you trust unless they have specifically called you and told you they were going to email that specific exe that minute. A lot of email clients won't even let you download exe files no matter what.
posted by delmoi at 1:50 PM on March 11, 2009

If Malwarebyes doesnt work, try ComboFix. Its always worked for these nasty infections. Most likley your Norton has been disabled by the virus, so youre unable to scan for it properly.

There's a chance you'll need to do a full reinstall. Dont run .exe files unless youre installing software from a trusted source and only after you've done a right-click 'scan for viruses.'
posted by damn dirty ape at 1:54 PM on March 11, 2009

One more vote for Malwarebytes Anti-Malware.
posted by qvtqht at 2:26 PM on March 11, 2009

if the laptop is brand spanking new, then I'd suggest grabbing your data off to a backup and doing a system restore. A pro can conceivably disinfect a machine, but a rookie really can't. It may be better to nuke it from orbit.
posted by jenkinsEar at 3:12 PM on March 11, 2009

n-thing wipe and reinstall, or even better, install Ubuntu.
Don't open anything you get via email, including Word or Excel documents, unless you're specifically expecting them from that specific person at that specific time, and you're 100% certain that the file was created by them.
Trust doesn't come into it, as a perfectly trustworthy person can trustingly send you some cute kitten PPT that screws up your system.
Never, ever, ever, open a file that somebody forwards you because it's 'cute' or 'hilarious' or 'you've got to see this'.
posted by signal at 6:22 PM on March 11, 2009

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