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Tech Helproom


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Help! I think the Trojans are on the verge of destroying my laptop!


Tibolticus

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Hi,

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.

Tibolticus

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Secret-Squirrel

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"I am to soon be writing a continuously evolving dissertation ................ Do you have any other ideas about how I could safely store the info and for free?"

Here's a simple yet effective backup method you can use:

1) Get yourself a cheap USB pen drive and a copy of Microsoft's free SyncToy 2.1.

2) Create a new folder on said pen drive to hold your backups.

3) Start SyncToy. The first step is to create a backup plan so click on "Create New Folder Pair". The left folder is the location on your Vaio where your precious files are stored. The right pair is the backups folder on your pen drive.

4) Click the Next button and choose "Echo". That means that any file changes or deletions on your Vaio are copied across to the pen drive but not the other way around. Using that backup method ensures that if accidentally delete something from your pen drive, the corresponding files on your laptop aren't affected.

5) Give your backup plan a name and that's it.

6) SyncToy doesn't constantly monitor changes to your files so remember to run it manually on a regular basis, or immediately after making a significant change to any of your files.

For extra security, remove the pen drive when not in use and hide it somewhere safe away from the laptop.

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john bunyan

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I would only add, to Secret - Squirrel's advice, that if your data is a lot (more than a pen drive) you could use a USB HD in the same way and also make an image of the whole drive, including system, from time to time with a programme like Acronis True Image.

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Tibolticus

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Thanks all, shout out again to Secret Squirrel, that sounds like a great idea.

So - I'm afraid to say that after a couple of days of running my nive new, clean system it seems to have picked something else up. Not Malware or viruses (well at least not on the surface of things anyway), but it seems to be running really slowly at times. This is when I am asking a bit more of it, say when I have multiple journal websites open at the same time, but its going slower than when it was riddled with issues.

I have allowed the AVG bar to function and I've installed IE9. Also I went to remove McAfee as instructed but it wasnt there (I thought this normal as the date I chose for the system restore was before I used the license to reinstall it). Perhaps I just need to run more scans - but it seems so soon for new bugs to have emerged?! Any ideas???

Tibolticus

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Secret-Squirrel

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"but it seems to be running really slowly at times. This is when I am asking a bit more of it, say when I have multiple journal websites open at the same time......"

Sorry to hear that. When it's next running slowly, and you're not doing anything to stress the laptop like running a scan etc, try this and report back your findings:

1) Right-click an empty area of the Task Bar and choose "Task Manager".

2) When Task Manager opens, click the "Performance" tab and let us know what it says in the Physical Memory MB - Total section, and the amount of RAM consumed shown in the Memory bar graph.

3) Next, keep an eye on the CPU Usage & History graphs for a while. If the CPU usage seems constantly excessive (>50%) then click the "Processes" tab, click the "Show processes from all users" button then click the CPU column heading so that the most active processes are at the top. Ignore the "System Idle Process" as that's the opposite of busy. If you can identify any processes that are hogging the CPU cycles, let us know what they are.

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Tibolticus

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Hi,

Thanks and apologies for long time in returning.

Ok - Total is 2045. 1.52 GB of RAM in use. CPU Usage doesnt look to bad - jumping about a lot - between say 14% and 45%ish.

Seem to be a few hogs (the titles of some of them being somewhat concerning as seem to have seen these about when the bugs were at their worst). Top 2 both called iexplore.exe, then AcroRd32.exe, then 2 called iexplore.exe. Any of these seem worrying to you?

Thanks again, Tibolticus

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Secret-Squirrel

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"..................being somewhat concerning as seem to have seen these about when the bugs were at their worst). Top 2 both called iexplore.exe, then AcroRd32.exe, then 2 called iexplore.exe. Any of these seem worrying to you?"

I'm not overly concerned.

IExplore.exe is the executable for Internet Explorer. There's one instance of it for every open IE tab or window. The other process is Adobe Reader which is fine.

What I think may be happening is that you're running IE without an ad-blocker and you're on a site or two that's displaying a lot of resource-hungry content such as Flash advertisements etc and your laptop is struggling to cope. I don't suspect any type of malware infection because you only get the slow downs when you've got multiple websites open.

As a test, download and install the Firefox browser (if don't already have it). After that you'll need a really good ad-blocker so install the Adblock Plus add-on. It should work effectively without any changes to its configuration. You may be so delighted with Firefox's speed at displaying webpages that you may decide to make it your default browser.

If you'd prefer to stick with IE then the only free ad-blocker I'm aware of is IE7Pro. Despite the add-on's name, it is compatible with IE9 but only some of its features function correctly. The ad-blocker works fine though. To access the IE7Pro preferences, you'll need to enable IE's menu bar then go to the "Tools" menu -> IE7Pro Preferences -> "AD Blocker" section. Make sure the blocker is enabled. You may also want to block all Flash content, but if you do that you'll need to remember to left click once on the blocked content to display it. After making any changes to IE7 Pro's configuration, you'll need to restart IE.

Hope that helps.

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Tibolticus

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hi.

thanks again for the support up to this point. it appears that i have developed a new tech issue with which i need help. whenever i turn on the pc, particularly when i go online, the screen goes black and then it goes mad with a few colours and a grainy static like mess of a display image with no tangible features. the first time it happened the stem seemed to recover ok and a message popped up to say so. since then i have tried a system restore and a malware scan to no affect. what is going on and what can i do to stop it?

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