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Help! I think the Trojans are on the verge of destroying my laptop!
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Posted February 4, 2012 at 2:01PM
I have been told with good authority that this is the best place to come when your computer has suffered a major Trojan attack, this has most definately happened and I need help (thats if its not already too late!).
For about the past week it has been clear that my laptop is having serious issues. I was advised last week to get Malware Bytes after it became clear that I was under attack! I did this, ran it in safe mode (after having started to run it on the normal settings - in case thats relevant), and it seemed to clear it up.
However, in the past couple of days a bigger attack has happened which seems to have done some real damage. I'll list what has happened and then give the messages etc that have been popping up...
A number of functions, system areas seem to have been wiped, these include: ALL of the control panel items Personal folders in C drive any in built firewall and system check functions most desktop items
... very bad!
And the new weird things that the system is doing: An array of warning boxes have started appearing with messages reading, 'RAM memory reliability extremely low, this problem may cause system failure', 'hard drive clusters are partly damaged, segment load failure', 'critical error: Windows OS cant detect a free hard drive space, hard drive error'... There are some that seem even more weird/horrible... A box appears multiple times saying 'failed to save all the components for the file \System32\ ...(a figure follows here which is different for each box)... This file is corrupted or unreadable. This error may be caused by a PC hardware problem'... Another box with the title 'file indexation process failed' appears with some info and the option to 'resolve this issue' at the bottom... A new (and to my tech-dunce mind, suspicious), 'system check' function has appeared which starts up automatically whenever I turn the PC on and doesnt seem to allow me to shut it down...
I tried running Malware Bytes in SafeMode again but it only found two items and when I return to the normal mode the problem persists...
So I'm sure we can all agree my system is absolutely critically injured and quite possibly on the verge of death...
But, if whomever of you good people responding to this would agree that it has also destroyed all personal data then perhaps there is an opportunity to gut the system and start again? Of course, I have no idea how to do this...
I think I can get a copy of windows vista and can definately get the Office packages downloaded again if need be?
If its possible I would like help in wiping all threats from the system entirely, doing whatever I can to bring it back to life in one piece and then get whatever best options for protecting the thing installed so that I dont fall victim to this again! I would like to do all this without having to pay someone to come out and actually look at the laptop but I would be willing to pay for the best malware/spyware/antivirus packages you can recommend. But if you think I should get a pro to inspect it or just bin the thing then do tell me honestly - I can take it!!!
I am 1/2 way through a masters degree - I need a computer - but one that wont wipe my whole history again (I will really need that soon, thankfully I dont have any assignments right now and I havent started my dissertation, but if this had happened a few months from now it would have been a disaster!)
Sorry to have spoken at such length but I was told I should list all problems and clearly there are lots of them!
Thanks in advance for any assistance you can offer.
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Posted February 11, 2012 at 5:46PM
"I also downloaded the free AVG. Qustion on that - it says that the premium version protects you with regards to online banking and the free one does not. I use HSBC and their secure key system but still a little vernous - would you regard online banking as dangerous without a premium antivirus package?...."
With regards to staying safe whilst banking online, my recommendation would be to continue with AVG Free and install the free Trusteer Rapport security software from HSBC - you can get it from here.
"Also, would I be better to download and start using Firebox instead of IE from a security perspective?"
Providing you're using version 9 then I'm inclined to think that Internet Explorer is more likely to keep you safe mainly because of its "Protected Mode" and also its "SmartScreen filter" that's supposed to warn you away from dangerous or phishing sites. You may find Your Browser Matters revealing as it gives your browser a security score out of 4. Firefox 10.0 gets 2.5 whilst IE9 gets full marks - however it may amuse you to know that this is a Microsoft site (although I've no reason to doubt their claims regarding IE9's security features).
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Posted February 11, 2012 at 9:16PM
What's the make / model of your laptop ? Also if you look at the drive tray door there are symbols that indicate whether it is or not.
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Posted February 11, 2012 at 9:44PM
markd71 "make / model of your laptop?" was asked and answered on page 1. However no Op Sys has been stated, but think it might be Vista.
Tibolticus "how do I check if this laptop is DVD/CD write capable?" it will be listed as DVD-RW Drive (D:) where D is the relevant drive letter, it might be E if your harddrive has partitions.
According to one review I read, it does have a DVD-RW Drive. I would be very surprised if it does not.
Please can you confirm if it is Vista as per http://www.reevoo.com/p/sony-vaio-vgn-nr31j-s
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Posted February 12, 2012 at 8:45AM
Vista is mentioned but make / model isn't or I must be missing something
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Posted February 12, 2012 at 2:20PM
So - Secret Squirrel - I have downloaded the HSBC Trusteer program, thanks. Interestingly it found some Malware and asked me to restart straight away. Do you think this is cause for concern? I also downloaded IE9, was on 8 before. How do I know if the two applications within IE9 that you mentioned are active?
Lotvic and Markd71 - It does indeed have the DVD-RW Drive for D: in My Computer so I guess thats that. Dont know if I have the software to write though. Found Windows DVD Maker but that seems like its for making film DVDs rather than for storing info. Whilst we are on this topic, I feel a little skeptical about putting stuff on a DVD because (unless I'm mistaken) I cant rewrite and add info. As I am to soon be writing a continuously evolving dissertation this doesnt feel that helpful. Do you have any other ideas about how I could safely store the info and for free?
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Posted February 12, 2012 at 2:40PM
If all else fails, you may need to do a complete system wipe. On the assumption that the Virus /Trogan is hiding in hiding in the 'Boot' area of the hard-drive,( The first 255 of Harddrive Data which holds the harddrive info (Name-model etc) which a normal format will not touch, you will need to get a Low Level formatter from the drive manufacturer. Find out the name of your harddrive using a program like SIW or Belarc and do a search on line for '(Name of drive) low level format'. These are normally free.
This program will also allow you to test the drive for errors, and yes in will run in DOS mode.
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Posted February 12, 2012 at 5:20PM
"I have downloaded the HSBC Trusteer program, thanks. Interestingly it found some Malware and asked me to restart straight away. Do you think this is cause for concern?"
Now that you've restarted, does Rapport still mention a malware problem? If so then post back the entire message you're getting. I understand that Rapport now has malware removal properties so it may have zapped whatever it was.
Please confirm too that you've done an AVG full scan, an AVG anti-rootkit scan, and whether any threats found were successfully removed.
"I also downloaded IE9, was on 8 before. How do I know if the two applications within IE9 that you mentioned are active?"
You'll be a lot safer with IE9 and those two options I mentioned are enabled by default. If you want to double check then go to Internet Options -> Security and make sure "Enable Protected Mode" is ticked. Then, under the "Advanced" tab, look in the "Security" section and ensure that "Enable SmartScreen Filter" is ticked.
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Posted February 12, 2012 at 5:35PM
If you don't feel that putting your stuff on cd/dvd rw the you can always e-mail to yourself if you have 2 webmail addresses, handy storage !
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Posted February 12, 2012 at 5:37PM
Yes markd71 you're right, Vista was mentioned also on page one. Make and model was Posted February 6, 2012 at 10:55PM
Secret-Squirrel and some others have the best advice to follow so I'll conclude now, too many cooks etc ;)
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Posted February 12, 2012 at 6:41PM
May I politely suggest that,to ensure the complete health ( or lack of) of the machine you do as suggested further up this thread and get the machine checked out on either the Bleeping computer forum ( You already have the link ) or http://malwareremoval.com/forum/index.php or
Then they can get you to run all appropriate Tools to see what is or is not now wrong with the machine and you can then hopefully get a 'clean' machine back !!
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