Monday, December 10, 2007

Lost in cyberspace?

How I wish I had a resident IT expert to consult. I have had so many problems in the last two weeks, probably all avoidable if I only knew what I was doing, that I'm on the verge of throwing the PC out of my study window!

First, I opened an infected email. I have what I thought was the highest level of internet security, updated on a daily basis; I have spam control on highest setting; I had my brain switched off! I saw a name I thought I recognised and when asked if I trusted this source I said yes, opened the link and the nightmare began.

My PC was invaded by every worm and bug known and unknown. I had pornographic images popping up, followed by warnings that pornographic images had been detected in my files, the police could take action and my family life ruined unless I clicked on the link to download a clean-up system. At least my brain was alert enough this time to realise that clicking this link would produce further problems.

I spent two days installing new spy and adware programmes and Hijack This, cleaning every infected file, removing every item of malware and resetting my security. I've almost cracked it, I still have a banner that appears on some internet pages inviting me to click on it for an adware and spyware security check but I'm too clever to get caught by that one. Or, wait a minute could it be a genuine Windows alert? I'm so jumpy now I won't click on anything!

My boot up time is now considerably extended because I don't just have my Norton scan, I have Spybot and Spyhunter and RemoveIT. Get through that lot if you can, you sneaky invaders! Well, last night I think they did. I was browsing through the blogs, as I do on my insomniac nights, when an alert message popped up to say that I did not have enough virtual memory space. Then all my Norton Internet Security vanished. Just like that! Not a trace to be found anywhere in the system.

I have now re-installed Norton (2 hours of fiddling), scanned the whole system again (1 hour) and now I'm sitting here, on-line and trembling, waiting for the next attack.

When I ask for helpful advice, people tell me to buy a Mac and use Mozilla. That would only be helpful if I could afford to replace my PC, which is less than 2 years old. If anyone out there can tell me where my lost programme went to and why and what I can do to prevent it happening again, you can have as much chocolate cake as you can eat.

Signed Desperately Distracted of Devon


  1. What a nightmare! I'm afraid I don't have any useful suggestions and can only offer lots of sympathy and empathy. I recently clicked on a link to a website in an email which looked like a genuine offer of work from a new client. It infected my PC with something which my various Norton and similar scans told me they'd caught and removed, but my PC crashed constantly for two days after that and even since comprehsive sweeps with all known virus/worm/spyware programs, it still isn't functioning 'normally'.

  2. It is awful, isn't it Juliet? There must be peculiar people out there just thinking up malicious tricks to play on us. I just can't imagine why.

    Norton didn't root out my problems but I got lots of free advice and downloads from
    It took an awfully long time and I did buy some of the recommended programmes but it worked - until the disappearing Norton but that possibly isn't related.

  3. How I wish I had a resident IT expert to consult.

    Monix, now you are the resident expert! When I have problems like that, I'll be coming to you for advice!

    Seriously, your best bet might be to hire someone from the Geek Squad for a visit, if his fee doesn't equal the price of a new computer! Sometimes I wonder if this is just the newest manifestation of the old protection racket. Maybe the Norton people and the Geek Squads are like the gangsters of old, throwing a rock through your window and then offering their protection services.

    Someday computers will be so cheap that they'll be disposable.

  4. What a continuing nightmare M. I will send details to the IT expert AKA son-in-law, to see what he suggests.

    And if I ever upgrade, I will bequeath you my beloved and trusty iMac although, sadly, that's not likely to be for some time.

  5. Thanks for the sympathetic support, everyone. You've got me wondering about the conspiracy theory, Duck!
    Unfortunately all the IT 'geeks' I know just say I should hav a mac. That's like the joke about the Irish man who is asked for directions to a town and says 'Well, I wouldn't start from here.' Unfortunately, here is where I am!

  6. Thank you to everyone who has offered advice and/or sympathy on my predicament. All seems to be well at the present time but I have a drastic remedy, courtesy of D's son-in-law, to try if I get any more problems.
    I still don't know how or why the Norton vanished, or if it was related to previous problems or not.
    E, thanks for the emails. I haven't replied, as you requested, but I don't think there is any danger of passing on the infection because I use Yahoo! and the messages are virus checked.
    I feel as if I've been quarantined with Yellow Fever! I know how I got the problem initially - pure carelessness on my part. I don't think anyone is in danger from my emails.


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