As a kid, I was fearless. I was always the first to fall in the lake on a family camping trip. If dared, I would do anything to win that dare. I once rode my bike down a steep hill between two trees, no-handed and almost made it.
So why is it when we are grown and supposedly have more sense, we still take unnecessary chances? Case in point: The other day I heard about click-jacking. It's a new way for the Cyber-derelicts to infect your computer through Facebook. Click-jacking happens when someone clicks on a video link "from a friend" and once the video is opened, the computer is infected. Usually these are links that are enticing you by advertising some fantastic new event or product or possibly a risqué pose of a movie star. Of course, I had to try it. And, yes, I got infected but luckily I used one of my shop computers designed for testing things like this.
People tell me all the time they never open any email from anyone who is not a friend. This will not protect as we see from this instance. You will get infected from someone you know. Many of these spyware and virus programs are programmed to go into your address book or Facebook friends and send things to everyone listed.
So you have not heeded my sage advice and have allowed curiosity to get the better of you and have clicked on a video link and been click-jacked. What can you do? There are a couple of things you can try:
If you have another computer and are pretty handy, you can take your hard drive out and put it in another computer, scan it with Malwarebytes, remove the spyware and return it to the original computer. Believe me, this a bit more challenging to physically perform than it was to type. It may beyond the capabilities of the average computer user.
You may also turn off your computer and then start in Safe Mode with Networking (tap F8 when you press the On/Off button until you see the Advanced Startup Screen and then choose Safe Mode with Networking). Once in Safe Mode with Networking, you should open Malwarebytes, if you have it installed, update the program and run a scan to remove all spyware and viruses on your computer. Once the scan has been completed, checkmark everything the program found to be bad and delete them. You can now restart your computer normally and with a little luck, be able to remove the spyware and have a good running computer once again.
If you have tried these fixes and are still infected, you may have to have your critical files saved and have your operating system reinstalled. This is not a big deal or as expensive as some people believe. Although prices on new computers are very low, it still may be cost-effective to have your computer repaired rather than replaced. Any reputable shop should be able to give you the high and low estimate of repairs so you can make an informed decision.
Like in medical situations, get a second opinion as well. Having a new computer is great, but there are downsides. Besides the cost of the new unit, there is a new operating system you have to learn, new equipment you may have to purchase, new programs that may have to be purchased, etc. Do your homework before you make any decisions.
Mike Smothers is president of Ahwatukee Foothills-based Smothers Computer Services, a mobile computer repair company. Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (480) 753-7667.