My computer isn't working properly
October 11, 2012 9:34 PM   Subscribe

I went away for the weekend and when I returned this is what I get everytime I try to access the internet. Can't use google at all so IE is my only option. I'm freaking out a bit. I keep getting pop ups from "System Progressive Protection" that is trying to sell me stuff but I'm not buying into what I see as a scam. Every program I open is said to be infected. Everything was fine 3 days ago. It won't even let me Skype. Help, please Ignore warnings and visit that site in the current state (not recommended).

This is the message I get:

Warning! The site you are trying to visit may harm your computer!

Your security setting level puts your computer at risk!
Activate System Progressive Protection, and enable safe web surfing (recommended).

Ignore warnings and visit that site in the current state (not recommended).
posted by Ohdemah to Technology (10 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Start with the advice in Deezil's profile.
posted by iamabot at 9:36 PM on October 11, 2012 [15 favorites]

More to the point, download everything in his profile, reboot in safe mode as instructed (Hold F8 down), trust nothing but the links in his profile or metafilter until it's done.
posted by iamabot at 9:56 PM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

Did you take your computer on vacation with you? Did you connect it to a hotel WiFi and/or ethernet? That's like having unprotected sex at an unlicensed brothel. Almost certainly you caught a virus.

Always make sure all patches are applied and firewalls enabled before taking your laptop out of your home!
posted by sbutler at 10:24 PM on October 11, 2012

This particular thing is called av-malware. It's a fake anti-virus software that doesn't actually do anything except bilk you for money, as you have already surmised.

Somehow I always manage to avoid these things (knock on wood) with the simplest of security measures--I use Microsoft Security Essentials, include the Malicious Software Removal tool in my windows auto-updates, have all the browser security stuff enabled in Chrome, and never click on random email crap or shortened URLs without expansion. I don't happen to browse porn, but I recommend that anyone who does use some common sense when selecting such sites by doing a bit of research ahead of time.
posted by xyzzy at 1:06 AM on October 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

Just to add that following Deezil's instructions works very well indeed - I had a very similar issue a few weeks ago, and running through the steps slowly and carefuly solved the problem completely.
posted by Chairboy at 1:59 AM on October 12, 2012

Burn it. Boot it. Tell it to scan everything (the "Volume" option if I remember correctly). Come back six hours later and tell it to delete everything suspicious it found.
posted by pla at 3:38 AM on October 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

(Though in fairness, Deezil's guide should work. IMO, it takes a hell of a lot less effort to just do an offline scan).
posted by pla at 3:42 AM on October 12, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks, all. I didn't take my computer out of my house, and I will try Deezil's instructions. pla, I'm not great at this. How do you run an offline scan?
posted by Ohdemah at 1:31 PM on October 12, 2012

Response by poster: pla, I honestly don't know what burn it and boot it means.
posted by Ohdemah at 1:33 PM on October 12, 2012

Download that from another machine (friends, library, whatever), and burn it to a CD. You can then boot from that CD on your infected machine to run a scan that can get things that could otherwise hide from antivirus scanners running in your normal Windows environment.

You'll probably have to hit a key when you turn on your computer to boot from CD, like F8 or F11 - You want the system boot menu, not the Windows "normal/safe mode/etc" menu - and select to boot from CD-ROM. Then you would just follow the prompts, selecting to scan everything and clean up automatically.
posted by pla at 4:04 PM on October 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

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