How to Deal with Scare Ware

Have you ever browsed the web then suddenly noticed that your computer is telling you it is infected with all kinds of virus and malware?  And here’s the funny thing…you didn’t even know you had this particular antivirus program!

Here’s another funny thing.  If you opt to fix the infection, it asks you to buy a program.

Don’t fall for it.  Instead turn off  your computer right away (hard power off–hold power down for at least 10 seconds) .  Why?  Because you want to stop your computer before the virus or malware embeds itself in startup process; this will make the malware persistent between computer reboots!

Once you’ve turned off you computer you can do one of the following things:

  • Scan your computer in safe mode.
  • Initiate the recovery of your computer
And for your other computers, you may want to begin backing them up, if they get infected in the future.

Scan In Safe Mode

Turn your computer on in “Safe Mode”.  Do this by pressing F8 a few seconds after you power on but before any sign of Windows shows up on your screen.  In Windows Safe Mode, your computer just runs the bare essentials of the operating system.  So even if the malware was able to embed itself into your computer, it would just lay dormant.

Now do the following to begin finding and removing the pesky virus or malware:

  1. First, using another computer, download the latest Microsoft Malware Removal Tool.  Use a thumb/flash drive to transfer and run it to the infected computer.  Hopefully it detects and removes the malware.  If not, continue to the next step.
  2. Next, if you have an antivirus software, run it and do a full scan of your computer.
  3. If you don’t have an antivirus software, see if you can download one using another computer and use a flash or thumb drive to transfer the program installer to the infected machine.  Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE)  antivirus is free, and could easily suffice for this purpose.  Use it to do a full scan of your computer.
  4. Finally, using another computer download Malware Bytes, and transfer it to the infected machine using a thumb/flash drive.  Like MSE, Malware Bytes is also free.  Install it then run a full scan of the infected computer.  Malware Bytes is one of the best detector and remover of fake antivirus.
  5. If none of the above detect and remove any virus or malware, then you may have to start the built-in recovery process–the last resort.

Initiate The Recovery Process

When you buy a new computer, it normally comes with a separate drive which holds a copy of the manufacturer’s base image of the original computer.  Each computer model has its own way of reaching the recovery process.  There are three types of recovery methods in order of impact severity (low to high).

  1. Re-install the operating system using the recovery volume
  2. Re-install the operating system using the recovery volume drive image

    Recovery on an HP Ultrabook Folio 13

    Recovery options for the HP Ultrabook Folio 13

  3. Re-install the system, C drive, and recovery volume using backups you made long ago

Re-installing the operating system using the recovery volume has the least impact of all.  It retains your data, but restores the operating system to its pristine state; however, you’ll still need to install your programs.

Re-installing the system using the recovery volume drive image completely overwrite drive C on your computer.  You will lose any data (documents, pictures, videos, etc.) you ever stored on drive C.  Make sure you do this only as a last resort.

If the recovery volume is damaged, you will need to restore the system, drive C, and the recovery image using the backup you made long ago.  Hopefully you created one.  If you have other computers, I suggest backing them up before the same thing happens to them.

 Creating a Backup Image for a Computer

A backup image is an exact copy of your system, drive C, and possibly your recovery drive.  On Windows 7, you can start the backup image creation process through the control panel.

Backup and Restore

Backup and Restore: Creating a Backup Image on Windows 7

Next select System and Security, then Backup and Restore.  From there, look at the left column and click Create a system image.  The video below illustrates how this is done.

If you’ve been infected by fake ware, please share us your experience below.

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