Friday, October 12, 2012

FBI: Ransomware Demands Money

Plugging in...

A law-abiding client of the Tutor's had their laptop infected by what is formally known as the Reveton virus. This locked the computer and carried a fake message purportedly from the FBI requesting a $200.00 payment to unlock the computer. The software installed itself when the user clicked on a compromised website. Not that the user could tell visibly that anything was wrong with the website, which made it all the more frustrating.

This client had antivirus/anti-malware software on the computer and it was up-to-date. Just because one gets the flu shot though, doesn't mean the flu can't still "get in", right? When a newly written piece of malware hits the streets from the "bad guys", the protection that our computers use, doesn't have the ability to detect the new strain of malware until someone reports it one time - then all the antidotes are created and sent to users through antivirus/anti-malware definition updates.

The user deduced it was a scam, but that didn't make the problem go away or the computer usable. This malware was very well written. Meaning, it had disabled any and all software avenues (sometimes known as backdoors) to bypass the malware, remove the malware, access the internet, install any software, etc, etc, etc. A fine piece of malicious programming. THEY should be working for Homeland Security, the good guys!

The Tutor called in all levels of knowledge and resources, right down to the DOS level and had but one recourse: return the laptop to factory condition using the recovery area that this laptop had internally - the only area of the laptop the malware didn't affect.

It took several hours to return the laptop to factory status, followed by re-installing purchased software, printer drivers and backed up files.

Users may file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center where updates about the Reveton virus can be found. They provide a method for reporting the crime, but not how to remove it. Their suggestion? Call in a professional (like The Computor Tutor). Thank you, Internet Crime Complaint Center, for the referrals.

ALWAYS REMEMBER: before calling for help - is it plugged in, is it a SCAM, and is it turned on?


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A Simple Office 2010 Upgrade - NOT!

Plugging in...

How's this for an error message, and it arrived at the END of the upgrading process, not the beginning:

so much time was already spent, and the cycle of frustration began for the Tutor's client. How to remove or repair the Office 2003 product? The client tried installing Office 2010 again, same message, more time spent, then made a plea for the Tutor's assistance.

Microsoft was forthcoming with this message on their website: "Office 2010 setup may fail when upgrading from Office 2003 if the Office 2003 Local Installation Source (LIS) is corrupt." Huh? The long story short: when Office 2003 was installed, at the end of the installation there was a question - do you want to delete the installation files? It's like throwing away the box, after you've unpacked something. Clearly, that choice was a YES, delete the installation files, and shouldn't have caused a ruckus. But, on some computers, this became a problem when the unsuspecting computer owner bought the Office 2010 product and proceeded to do what should have been a routine upgrade.

The solution was to download a file named LISTOOL.EXE, which cleared up the error, which then allowed for the successful installation of the Office 2010 product. Microsoft's response: Office 2003 presents a unique challenge when upgrading to Office 2010.  Fortunately, the projected scope of affected computers is small. How does that make the computer owner feel any better?

ALWAYS REMEMBER: before calling for help - is it plugged in, and is it turned on?