Help! Virus.
August 3, 2018 1:30 PM   Subscribe

I foolishly visited a site I read about called [redacted] and am pretty sure my computer (HP Laptop) is now infected with a virus.

It wants me to call 1 844 330 8999 which from Googling I am certain is a fake number. I unplugged and turned off the computer after finding that each time I turned it back on the webpage is still there and won't let me close it. Is there a way to get rid of that page and restore my computer to an earlier reset point, or do I need professional help?
posted by wittgenstein to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
I've found that if you disable your network connection and restart, the infection can't call home, and won't pop up. Of course, no connection lowers the computers usefulness. Is it possible for you to download an antivirus on another machine, then run it on your unconnected machine?
posted by Marky at 1:41 PM on August 3, 2018


Do you have any anti-malware software currently installed? Can you load other sites, either in a different tab or in a different browser?
posted by halation at 1:42 PM on August 3, 2018


https://www.pcworld.com/article/243818/security/how-to-remove-malware-from-your-windows-pc.html
posted by Seeking Direction at 1:43 PM on August 3, 2018


I got the page closed by using Task Manager. I disconnected the computer from wi-fi. I deleted the last hour of my activity in Firefox. Am trying to run Windows Defender now.
posted by wittgenstein at 1:47 PM on August 3, 2018


I ran a full scan using Windows Defender. If it finds nothing, is it safe to reconnect to Wi Fi and see if the problem is solved?
posted by wittgenstein at 1:52 PM on August 3, 2018


Local mefite/hero deezil will rescue you. His virus fighter info is on his website now, here. I've followed his advice twice and successfully un-fucked two computers. Follow his instructions.
posted by phunniemee at 1:56 PM on August 3, 2018 [13 favorites]


[Redacted the site name just for caution's sake. ]
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 2:28 PM on August 3, 2018 [2 favorites]


I reopened Firefox while Windows Defender is still performing a full scan. It does not have that terrifying " call this number" message anymore. I downloaded MalwareBytes, and it is running a scan as well. Will let you know when everything is done.
posted by wittgenstein at 2:38 PM on August 3, 2018


Thanks restless_nomad. I should have thought of that.
posted by wittgenstein at 2:39 PM on August 3, 2018


Neither Windows Defender nor Malwarebytes found anything. I suspect I was the victim of the kind of Faux Virus Warning that I read about in this AskMefi question that I somehow missed in my search. Thanks to all mefites who were with me in my hour of panic.
posted by wittgenstein at 3:26 PM on August 3, 2018


I’m always wary about instructions like Deezil’s. Yes it’ll probably get you out of a tight spot but the reality is that unless it has completely removed all traces of the malware (which you won’t actually know) then you’re still compromised.

Do you really want want to risk it?

Best thing to do is back up everything, download fresh drivers and then do a full reinstall of your operating system and programs.

Yes, it’s a pain in the backside - but at least you can guarantee that the virus/malware has completely gone, where as Deezil’s instructions cannot.
posted by mr_silver at 6:06 AM on August 4, 2018


Best thing to do is back up everything, download fresh drivers and then do a full reinstall of your operating system and programs.

No.

Do NOT download more or transfer any existing executable files (or installation packages containing them), some examples are; drivers (.SYS), programs (.EXE), libraries (.DLL), etc.

Any of those types of files could be compromised. Frankly - you shouldn't even prepare a bootable USB or CD/DVD ROM/"rescue disk" of your operating system on that infected computer either.

You can use a different computer that you do not think is bad - but honestly, the best solution if you have a modern operating system (Windows Vista/7/8/8.1/10, or MacOS X) is to install and let it use it's default drivers.

Then, once running and connected to the internet, get the appropriate updated drivers. Be careful - please don't use any third-party "driver packages" that claim to make your life easier - in my experience most of those are malware themselves. The only safe driver would be downloadable from your hardware manufacturer(s) directly.

Your "data" should be fine - however, some document types can also have embedded viruses. So - once you have your files transferred to an external drive/USB memory stick, you MUST scan them with a recent virus scanner before opening any of them.
posted by jkaczor at 8:50 AM on August 8, 2018


You can use a different computer that you do not think is bad - but honestly, the best solution if you have a modern operating system (Windows Vista/7/8/8.1/10, or MacOS X) is to install and let it use it's default drivers.

It’s a good point but the only downside of your recommended approach is when the default drivers don’t support your WiFi or Ethernet adapter. In which case you’ll end up with a fresh install of Windows but no internet access. That makes pulling down drivers from Windows Update or the manufacturer website quite a bit more difficult.

It’s not a common problem but I’ve had it happen to me a couple of times.
posted by mr_silver at 2:00 PM on August 11, 2018


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