Panda antivirus mistakenly flags itself as malware, bricks PCs

In the OOOPS department:

Panda Software – the makers of Panda Antivirus released an update that detected itself as malware, and quarantined itself – resulting in users being unable to start their machines.  Panda released a new definitions file immediately, but users have been warned that the problem might recur.

from ZDNet

Computer Security is hard…unless you learn these rules.

Infoworld has an excellent article on computer security.

To summarize it for you:

1- Patch the popular software first – and do it as soon as the patch is announced

2 – Don’t fall prey to the scams (social engineering) You are more likely to get scammed from sites you “trust” than those you don’t.  Don’t EVER give information to unsolicited callers.  Know what programs you have installed and ignore threat warnings from software you don’t recognize.

3-Don’t use the same password in multiple locations.  If one site gets hacked, that password is added to the dictionary so it can be used to try to hack other locations.

4 – 2 Factor authentication has its benefits.  Sure it is a pain in the butt, but if you are concerned about the security of your information/accounts, then the additional inconvenience is worth it.

I just got a call…..

from geeksupportlive, a very nice man called to tell me that he was calling from geeksupportlive and that they are getting reports from my computer that I have a lot of viruses.  That due to the agreement that they have with Microsoft, they are contacting people who have infected machines and offering to scan them for free…..

Luckily there were a few things going for me:

1 – My Mac was definitely not reporting back to their servers that my windows was infected

2 – the words computer virus and infection do not scare me

3 – ooops their call was answered by someone who probably knows more about the computers than they do in their sweatshop call center in India

How did I get so lucky to get this call the day after I started this blog?  After putting the gentleman on hold while I went to my computer and started it up (amazing how the computer can report viruses to their server when it is not on) and then a few more minutes while I “took another call from my son” I then was directed to go to a site to download a remote management tool.

Kudos to the website administrators of ammyy.com – a free remote administration tool for putting a warning up on their website that reads:  Screen Shot 2015-01-18 at 12.06.42 PM

 

http://www.ammyy.com/en/admin_mu.html

Remote management tools are very powerful tools, and in the hands of the wrong person, can do a great deal of damage to your computer and your privacy.

NEVER give access to someone that you don’t know..

But wait, I don’t know you

well if you call me then you are the one who initiated the contact, if I ask you to load a remote administration tool it is because you have asked me for help.  Beware the unsolicited caller bearing gifts…..they might just be a big wooden horse.

Well after I read them that disclaimer, Tyson told me that I was seeing that because my computer was clearly infected because his screen was not showing that link.  He transferred me to his Senior Support Technician who assured me that I had one of the worst cases of infection that he had encountered, and that I needed to do something IMMEDIATELY!  He then directed me to showmypc – another remote admin tool – this time without the warnings…..

ooops hold on I got another call……

21 minutes later …. click

Don’t be taken in by the scammers.  I have a long list of people that I can refer you to for testimonials.

Malware and Spyware and Viruses…oh my!

I frequently get calls that go something like this:

“Hi I need you to come over to take a look at my computer, it seems like it is really slow, and I can’t do the things I used to on it.”  Whenever I hear this, I used to think that a hard drive needed to be defragmented….but that is rarely the problem these days.  Now it is malware, spyware, browser hjacks, host redirects, registry hijacks, crapware (I use this term for software that gets installed alongside something that you want, but you have no real use for).

The reality is that I get these calls mostly from people using windows, and I hear “I never go to any bad websites or anything”…

The reality is that you don’t need to go to bad websites to pick up malware.  Hackers infect popular servers in the hopes that they will be able to infect unsuspecting visitors.  These “drive-by” exploits are often discovered in a matter of hours and removed.  However, they rarely announce to their visitors that they were compromised and that they should inspect their systems …… so the people who visited early on never suspect that they are now carriers.

“But I have an antivirus program already installed”

That may be true, but no antivirus program is perfect.  They rely on various methods to detect “known and unknown” bits of code…the hackers are working hard to find ways around that detection.  Your antivirus may also not be designed to detect malware – they are usually designed specifically to prevent the spread of viruses.

“So what am I supposed to do?  Why is this so confusing?”

Get into a habit of checking your machine regularly.  There are plenty of free tools available that will allow you to do this for yourself for free – but like a gym membership – it does no good unless you use it.  If you rely on your computer for more than just entertainment, do it every week.  If all you do is surf the net and watch netflix or hulu, then every couple weeks to once a month should be fine.

“I don’t have time for that!”

Well, if that is the case you have 2 options –

1. Do nothing and wait til your machine can no longer function (kinda like a car when you don’t take time for an oil change) or…

2. Call someone to take care of it for you (kinda like going to the quick-change oil store)

This is where HelpMeClayton.com comes into help. I offer a subscription service that will do the routine maintenance for you, remotely if you like, on a regularly scheduled routine.  This cannot guarantee that you will never get any malware, spyware or crapware, but it is a good step into making sure your machine is cleaned regularly.

If you are interested in scheduling a regular maintenance send me an email at help@claytonrandall.com and I will get back to you.