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Attacked by spyware!

Hi everyone! Sorry I haven’t been posting, but it appears my computer has been infected by malicious spyware! I have been trying (unsuccessfully) for the past two days to destroy all the hated spy programs. They’ve even plaqued a second computer that I have, and I think there is a new trojan that likes to hide in your flash drive, which is probably how I infected both machines. Ughghghgh…

I only got two hours of sleep, and spent the whole night trying to frantically backup 10 Gb worth of files (my computer is old and slow), including digital photos of my daughter–onto flash drives and CDs–and all day today running between both computers to research solutions and antispyware programs to get rid of the “buggers.”

How do you know you have spyware? First, if your computer is acting unusually slow, i.e. certain programs take a long time to load (such as MS Word–which I use to format the horoscopes), your browser takes forever to access a web page, you can’t see the videos on youtube (which is how I discovered my computer was infected), or any other thing that is out of the ordinary when you use your computer.

During the worst moment, my computer kept shutting down and restarting on its own for an entire hour! Made me want to throw the whole thing into the trash and grab my astrology books and whole up inside a cave away from all this technology!!!

Anyway, I am still working on ridding of them. They’re still haunting me as I type. Those critters are good at hiding and the worst part is they duplicate themselves and hide in obscure parts of your computer–spyware also have the nerve to pretend to be a legitimate program: WATCH OUT: If an unknown program (or in my case a fake Windows alert stating to “pervent” data loss by clicking on the window to download antispyware) that seems like an authentic antispyware program prompts you to click or download something, DON’T DO IT!!!

Most antispyware programs will not automatically “alert” you of detected infections and then give you the option of clicking to “solve” the problem–especially if it is not a program you already installed yourself and set up to have real-time protection on your system. This is a major warning sign.

What happens if you click on their window? That will set the nasty program in motion and within minutes you will have literally hundreds of duplicated spyware programs, popup windows and what-nots invading your computer! And if your computer is a little behind the times, your antispyware programs won’t run properly or take forever to get rid of them–assuming that they even can. I’ve already lost an older computer which was too slow to run any type of defensive program after I innocently clicked on one of those offers of helping to rid of spyware.

I’m not the best person to give advice, but learn from my ordeal:

  1. Back up all your files. DO IT NOW!
  2. If you haven’t done so, buy or download any number of the free/shareware antispyware programs. I use Spybot Search and Destroy, Spyware Terminator (disable “Web Security Guard” and turn off any “Real-Time Protection” or else it will slow your computer down considerably), and Spy Sweeper (which is free when bundled with tax software–buy it from the store instead of downloading it). Before Spyware Terminator (which also includes a free antivirus), I used Ad-Aware SE but I only used to catch cookies with it, although it is one of the most highly regarded free programs available. After everything settles in, I will probably re-install it again. Believe me, 2 to 3 programs is the minimum to protect your computer as you will see each antispyware program seems to catch different things.
  3. If you can afford it, buy a better computer. The amount of ram and speed of your processor can make or break your ability to combat spyware, not to mention, trojans, worms and remember those viruses?
  4. If your computer is totally zapped, and the files inside are important to you, consider taking it to a data retrieval company BEFORE you get the computer reformatted. It might cost you hundreds of dollars, but may well worth it to retrieve the loss data.
  5. Which brings me back to point number 1: BACKUP YOUR FILES NOW!!!

I’m exhausted, defeated, frustrated, anxious, frantic, paranoid, angry, helpless… hopefully I’ll be back to normal in a coupla days. In the meantime, sorry if I am unable to keep up this blog.

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