Exercising good judgment averts need for ‘exorcism’ - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Business

default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
Logout|My Dashboard

Exercising good judgment averts need for ‘exorcism’

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Tuesday, February 2, 2010 12:00 am

I received a call the other day that went something like this; “Hi Mike? Do you guys do exorcisms?”

“No. We are a computer repair company.”

“Yea. I need somebody to come over and exorcize the demons out of my computer. It has a mind of its own now with stuff popping up all over the place and taking me to Web sites I don’t want to go to. It is possessed! The only place I can go is to this Web site where they want to charge me $40 for some software that they say will get rid of my problems, but I don’t trust them. Can you guys help?”

Sound familiar? It may, because in the past couple of weeks, we have been flooded by calls from people who are having these same issues.

Many people ask us: “What did I do to get this stuff? I didn’t go anywhere bad.”

You do not have to visit questionable Web sites to get infected with malware (the term for any type of spyware and/or viruses). Some people never get infected and others seem to get infected every week, and I believe it has to do with updates and the type of protection people use. I used to believe people who used a dialup Internet service were immune to malware until last evening when an Ahwatukee Foothills resident e-mailed me asking for help. He had NetZero as his Internet Service Provider. That was a first.

The symptoms of these issues are generally a window (or perhaps multiple windows) that incessantly pop up telling you a virus has been detected on your computer and instructing you to click on the pop up for removal. You are transported to a Web site where they demand a ransom of about $40 to $50 for removal.

The bad thing is when they do remove this spyware (and it is spyware and not a virus) generally another Trojan is installed on your computer set to activate at a time in the future, thereby, ensuring the company has an ongoing income stream. In more severe cases, your entire Internet connection is shut down to every Web site except theirs so you cannot get on the Internet to download any programs, update any existing protection programs or do much of anything.

I have seen the malware reprogram your Internet connection to a proxy, which allows you to only access the Internet through a designated computer, meaning whoever the insidious individual was who installed that malware on your system. This is a form of Internet hijacking.

Is it illegal? Yes, of course. If these programmers were on United States soil they would be arrested and prosecuted to be certain, but they are generally located in another country or on the ocean, miles out to sea. It is virtually impossible to find and prosecute these individuals.

So what to do? Make sure you have an anti-virus program and keep it up to date. I have been using Avira. You can download it free at www.download.com. Make sure you have at least one anti-spyware program and keep it up to date. I like Super Anti-spyware and Malwarebytes.

Super Anti-Spyware can be downloaded for free at www.superantispyware.com, and Malwarebytes can be downloaded free at www.download.com.

Nothing will protect you 100 percent so don’t think you can go to questionable Web sites and be protected. As always, if this is more than you care to do yourself, you can always e-mail or call us.


Mike Smothers is president of Smothers Computer Services and lives in Ahwatukee Foothills. Send questions to mike@smotherscomputers.com or call (480) 753-7667.

More about

More about

  • Discuss

Top 13 U.S. Microlenders for Small Businesses Right Now

What is a microloan, and is one right for your small business? If you’re a small-business owner on a quest for capital, there are several smar…

Published: October 28, 2016 - 2:10 am @ https://smallbiztrends.com/2016/10/top-small-busin…

Undercover with a prepper militia that patrols the border to fight "drug cartels"

Shane Bauer, the investigative journalist whose four month stint in a privately run Louisiana prison was one of 2016's most important pieces o…

Published: October 28, 2016 - 12:39 am @ http://boingboing.net/2016/10/28/undercover-with-a…

Utah-Ariz. stateline towns see new life after Warren Jeffs, FLDS turmoil

ST. GEORGE, Utah — Jeanette Williams likes to “sing like crazy” at her Centennial Park home, but while her children may be appreciative, she l…

Published: October 28, 2016 - 12:05 am @ http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2016…

Man Votes Early To Get Week Bragging About It Out Of Way

SCOTTSDALE, AZ—Saying he had been looking forward to casting his ballot and didn’t want to wait until November 8, local man David Keene, 36, r…

Published: October 27, 2016 - 9:38 pm @ http://www.theonion.com/article/man-votes-early-ge…

As Teacher Shortage Grows In Arizona, Districts Look For Ways To Keep Teachers In Classrooms

Published: Thursday, October 27, 2016 - 3:10pmUpdated: Thursday, October 27, 2016 - 3:28pm downloadKara Dellisanti can describe her first year…

Published: October 27, 2016 - 9:38 pm @ http://kjzz.org/content/387390/teacher-shortage-gr…

Man arrested after hack nearly caused Phoenix-area 911 system crash

PHOENIX — A man accused of creating a hack that nearly crashed 911 systems in the Phoenix area this week is in custody, authorities said. The …

Published: October 27, 2016 - 8:57 pm @ http://ktar.com/story/1333866/man-arrested-hack-ne…

Herb Hamsher, Judith Light’s Brilliant Manager, Dies of Cancer

BY KAREN OCAMB | Herb Hamsher, the man beaming from the center of that California AIDS Ride photo, died of cancer late Wednesday afternoon at …

Published: October 27, 2016 - 8:25 pm @ https://thepridela.com/2016/10/herb-hamsher-judith…

What's Getting in the Way of Minority Voters?

Above: “Florita & Joseph Campbell at the Halo Halo Restaurant in Phoenix, AZâ€? (Credit: Valeria Fernandez) In the US, the right to vot…

Published: October 27, 2016 - 8:07 pm @ http://newamericamedia.org/2016/10/whats-getting-i…

Notre Dame Preparatory High School coach fired amid rule violation allegations

SCOTTSDALE, AZ - Notre Dame Preparatory High School's head football coach has been fired after the team was placed on probation for alleged ru…

Published: October 27, 2016 - 6:24 pm @ http://www.abc15.com/news/region-northeast-valley/…

'Entrepreneuer' mag names 10 Arizona businesses to list of best entrepreneurial companies

Arizona had a healthy showing on a new list highlighting the best entrepreneurial companies in the U.S. A total of 10 Arizona-based businesses…

Published: October 27, 2016 - 6:16 pm @ http://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/news/2016/10/27…


ahwatukee.com on Facebook


ahwatukee.com on Twitter


Subscribe to ahwatukee.com via RSS

RSS Feeds


Most Popular

Online poll