Friday, June 08, 2012

Another "Aargh" Morning

Toast, juice and coffee for breakfast and shaddup, a feed like that is considered an indulgent luxury of the idle rich in some parts of the world.

...Up at my Mom's until nearly midnight, trying to sort out computer problems. Left with Malwarebytes chewing its way through the entire system, after a semi-successful Restore to the oldest restore point. I don't know yet if it's fixable without a total wipe and start over or not -- she's picked up something, won't leave the machine off (and doesn't know how to take if offline, downside of wi-fi) and in looking for help, somehow managed to fall into the clutches of a low-rated "service" one step above the malware-installers that advertise on TV and gave 'em online access to her computer before asking a family member if this was a good idea. --Btw, the answer to that would be "no."

(Lovely long three-party conversation with Mom and $Generic Indian Tech-ish Guy. After much faffing about and obfuscation, it came down to: "Miss it is a matter of trust. We support Microsoft. We are BBB-rated. You can Google us." "I did. You're telemarketers. BBB shows plenty of complaints. Online reviews don't say good things." "No, no, there are thousands of errors on this computer. I have found them. All businesses have some complaints. YOU HAVE TO TRUST ME!" "I don't. Mom, do NOT give these guys your credit card number. Raj? You're done here." "But it will only be $299.99 for six month warranty!" "Goodbye, Raj.")

Mom grew up in a somewhat more honest age, where the guy that fixed your furnace might pad the bill a little, but he didn't plant smokebombs in the cold-air return or cameras in the registers. It ain't that way any more.

13 comments:

Kirk A said...

I use and recommend the free ZoneAlarm firewall, but only after first testing it with tools from Gibson Research (grc.com). I haven't checked lately, but when I adopted ZoneAlarm, it was stealth-rated, which is preferred.

I back that up with many other helpful and free utilities, but none of them prevent phishing infiltrations. Mom still has to be vigilant.

You may also want to check out Spy-Bot, SpywareBlaster, and the free version of the SpywareDoctor that comes in Google's free desk-pack.

Roberta X said...

I usually run SpyBot and Malwarebytes plus a big-name antivirus.

Bob said...

An easy solution for mom's computer is to switch her to Ubuntu Linux. Since 90%+ of malware is written for Windows, she'll gain the safety that using a very uncommon operating system brings, even more so than owning a Mac. If all she uses a computer for is web surfing and the occasional email, it's the perfect solution. I use it on my netbook, and have had no problems with it.

rickn8or said...

Hey, you can fix this.

If, on the other hand, she was giving her money to TV evangelists...

Robin said...

A familiar story to me ...

perlhaqr said...

It ain't that way any more.

Dear sweet and fluffy Lord no it is not.

Bob: I'm a die-hard Linux guy (exclusive OS for home use for me for near 18 years now) so it's hard for me to know; has it gotten useable for people who want a more Windows-like "I just want to click on icons and have it work" user experience? I spend so much time rooting around in the guts of Unix boxes that I kind of can't tell. It's easy for me to use, but after 18 years, one would hope so.

LabRat said...

Taking a user whose use amounts to "basic grasp of MS gui" and fitting them with an operating system they are completely unable to use is very efficient from a security standpoint, yes.

Tam said...

perlhaqr,

The version of Eeebuntu on my little EeePC is pretty click-on-the-pictures simple, as far as actual use, but RDML Hopper help you if you have to upgrade a browser or something...

Bob said...

@Perlhaqr: yep, it's that easy. I haven't ever used the command line, not even once, and that is two years of daily use. It updates regularly just like Windows (you have to type your password for the update to begin). No problems to speak of. Linux, finally ready for the desktop.

John A said...

"but RDML Hopper help you if you have to upgrade a browser or something..."

So, it hasn't improvrd? A few years ago, I wanted to use a package that ran on 'nix. Started to insrakk, it had two pre-reqs. One of those also had two pre-reqs, the other had three. By the time I got to the fifteenth (and remember all of the pre-reqs had licenses that allowed including them with the app I wanted at the cost of mentioning them in documentation) I re-formatted the drive for data.

Bob said...

Note: I started out with Eeebuntu, since it was the flavor of that time period, and one day during an automated update noticed that a regular Ubuntu upgrade was available, so I switched. Since then I have been running regular Ubuntu with no problems; regular updates for Mozilla Firefox, Flash, etc., are regularly sent and easy to install, no command line knowledge necessary. I'm happy with it.

Stranger said...

My luck with malware was much the same as yours. However, I have found a few things that actually work.

For Windows machines that will access the net, I have had good luck with Microsoft's malicious software remover. Google it, hit Microsoft's web site, start it, and go drink coffee and visit while it does its thing.

I have also had good luck with Kaspersky and an Indian stubborn malware and hard drive maintenance program called Systweak. (Don't fall for Systweak's free trial, it's a sales pitch) As always, my comments are as a satisfied customer.

All this costs money, and unfortunately gunnies are as notoriously cheap as hams. We have to be, there's always something on our want lists.

Of course, there are free AV programs some swear by. I have found them to be worth somewhat less than the purchase price.

Good luck, and I sincerely hope you do not have to wipe the drive.

Stranger

Robin said...

As for free anti-virus, I use Avast free version and have never had any virus issues for over a decade.