Have you ever encountered the fake computer pop-up virus scam?

Have you ever encountered the fake computer pop-up virus scam?

Malicious websites attempt to install spyware ...

Malicious websites attempt to install spyware on readers’ computers. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was downloading some free software, which I installed – then later uninstalled. But every time I bring up a browser, a pop-up window emerges.   I get messages like:

  • Your PC is unprotected – fix now.
  • You PC is vulnerable to attack.

But I know no legitimate virus protection communicates with you via a web browser.  I also know there are both paid and freeware virus solutions out there – everyone should be running one.   Now I have taken precautions.

I have my Internet service with Comcast, so I have Norton Security Suites installed as a free bonus, on my Windows computers.

I keep up on all the latest Windows 7 updates from Microsoft.

I run everything behind a router.

I have WinPatrol and Keyboard Scrambler Personal installed and use the latest versions.

For Malware, I have the free versions of Malwarebytes and SuperAntiSpyware installed.

Here’s the concern. Any malware might take steps to block any spyware removal attempts. So if I have a a good Anti-virus and a couple good Malware tools installed, I can just run them. The odds of something bypassing all software tool removal attempts are very slim.

The key is to ask what is new. I run four browsers: Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome and Opera. I figure if a bug arises with one browser, I can always switch to another. But each browser had a new addition – a toolbar named Mixi DJ. If you do a Google search, there are many page one entries about removing this malware or virus.

The deep scans of Malwarebytes, Norton Security Suite and SuperAntiSpyware didn’t flag them as viruses or malware, even with deep scans. I even deleted all temp files first with CCleaner and BitBleach – with no change.  I uninstalled the toolbar in the Windows control panel. But I had to remove the extensions in each browser and then set each browser homepage to Google. If worst comes to worst, I can always revert to a prior system image backup. Or I can walk half a block to a PC fix it guy I know.

So what lessons do you learn?

Malware logo Crystal 128.

Malware logo Crystal 128. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s good to have different browsers installed. You need to run a good antivirus like Norton Security Suite (or a freeware equivalent like Avg, Avast or Windows Defender (i.e Windows Security Essentials). Keep the Windows patches and virus definitions up to date. And it’s good to have the freeware versions of Malwarebytes and Super Anti Spyware installed, just in case you need them. And keep cleaners like CCleaner and Bit Bleach installed and ready to go.

Now I can get back to studying Spanish on Spanish Dict and Duo Lingo. This Spanish friend from Spain gave me this advice: “by reading the forums and such, they say the hardest thing is the subjunctive mood.” And will computer software ever replace human translators?

And I forgot. One more bit of advice. Always run your computer behind a router. It does block anonymous Internet requests. And don’t go looking a comic book characters who tried to kill six billion people and now masquerades as a spider powered hero.

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