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How To Get Rid of Scamware

In the past year, it’s not uncommon to see a message similar to the above plasters on your PC screen. Scam artists have long tried to evade the myriad of anti-virus and anti-malware software and this is one that slips through.

The following steps will remove this type of scams in majority of the cases.  Otherwise, your computer would need more in-depth cleansing. The idea is to cleanse all your web browsers as well as identifying and removing any modifications to your computer registry settings.

Here are steps to cleanse each of your web browsers:

  • Download the three free programs onto a flash drive using a separate PC if you can:
    1. CCleaner – www.piriform.com 
    2. Malwarebytes – www.malwarebytes.com
    3. Zemana – www.zemana.com
    4. Remove the flash drive and insert into the infected PC.
  • Cleanse Your Browsers’ temporary files, cache and cookies
    1. Install CCleaner
    2. CCleaner will start after installation.
    3. Make sure you close all your web browsers
    4. Click “Run Cleaner”
    5. Click “OK”
    6. CCleaner will run for a while.
    7. After it finishes, “X” out the application.
  • Scan for malware
    1. Install Malwarebytes
    2. Application will start after installation.
    3. Click “Scan Now”
    4. It may take up to 30 minutes depends on your system
    5. “Remove” or “Quarantine” all found abnormalities.
    6. Restart your computer.
  • Scan for registry and browser hijack devices
    1. Install Zemana
    2. Application will start after installation 
    3. Click “Scan”
    4. Program will scan and when it finishes scanning, click “Next” to quarantine all found traces of suspicious entries.
    5. “X” out of the program
  • Restart your computer.

Use your computer to see if the problem has gone away.  If it has, congratulations!  If not, we have to perform additional steps to remove the pest.

At this point, you have 3 free programs installed and they will remind you to purchase their software.  If you want to remove them, go to “Control Panel”, “Programs and Features” to uninstall them.

Good luck.

Rabbit Ear

After power was restored Tuesday night after the storm, we found the FIOS interface was fried.  It’s weird without Internet, phone and TV.  As we live just outside of Boston, we can get TV signals using good old antenna.  But we threw that out long long time ago but we found a short coax cable so we connect it to the TV but signal was weak. Adding a booster did the trick.  Our TV receives the usual major channels.  Here’s our signal booster.

Functional Antenna Design

Computer Scam Log Entry #4

Fake Email #4: Accountant receives email from colleague with invoice to pay vendor via wire payment.

Visiting Geeks: The from email address was correct and clicking the blue “from email” link shows colleague’s correct email address.  Forwarding the invoice was also usual procedure except the content to wire payment raised suspicion from the accountant and alerted Visiting Geeks. Visiting Geeks examines the email message routing details and determined that it was sent from Lagos, Nigeria.  This kind of spoofing is done frequently by criminals and not too difficult to carry out.  It doesn’t necessary mean that the colleague or the accountant’s  computers were compromised.

Take Away:  Even legitimate looking emails could be a scam. Anything out of the ordinary should raise an alarm.

 

 

Steps to Roll Back Windows 10

Not a week go by without a customer expresses desire to roll back or uninstall Windows 10 to go back to the previous version of Windows for a myriad of reasons.

Many customers did not want to upgrade but after relentless messages from Microsoft, they either relent or answer the upgrade question incorrectly, resulting Windows 10 being installed.  Still more customers do not know that they can revert back to their previous operating system within 30 days of upgrade.

Now that 30-day window has long passed and there is no simple push button way to roll back.  For non-technical users that want to restore to their computer’s previous operating system, these are general and necessary steps:

  1. Back up all your data.
    1. pictures, documents, emails, favorites, contacts, music and any application specific data.
  2. Locate installation disks and product codes of the applications installed in your computer.  Eg. Microsoft Office, Quicken, Quick Books, etc.  Sometimes, that could be username and password for the application you purchased. Because you need to re-install them after the previous operating system is re-installed.
  3.  Locate your computer’s original installation disk, including component drivers; or the restore disks you made.
  4. If you do not have 3. Go to your computer manufacturer’s web site. Use your service tag or serial number in the Support pages to see if restore disks are available for sale.  Buy that if they are available. Sometimes, the re-installation disks/USB drive come with instructions. Manufacturer re-installation media will automatically activate original Microsoft product key.
  5. Assuming you have the restore/re-installation disks and verified that you saved all your data, set aside at least 3 to 4 hours to do the re-installation.

To restore/re-install:

  1. Insert your restore/re-installation disks into the CD/DVD drive or in the case of a flash drive, insert into USB port.
  2. Turn on your computer and press either Esc, F2, F10, F11, F12 or Delete key to get to the boot selection screen.  This is different for different computer model and you may have to Google to find out the right key sequence.
  3. Once you have the boot selection screen, select the CD/DVD drive or USB (if flash drive).
  4. Follow the on-screen instructions to install the operating system.

Assuming you are successful in re-installing the operating system.

  1. Check to make sure internet works. If not, go to the computer manufacturer’s website to find, download and install the correct internet driver. (That means you may need a second computer.)
  2. Reinstall all your application software.
  3. Restore your data.
  4. Check to make sure all devices are working.
  5. Run Windows update and that may take a while. It may run overnight.

This is meant to be a general guideline and gives you a rough idea on the scope. You should verify the steps and modify as needed for your computer model.