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Old 05-21-2012
msva2011's Avatar
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Default Virus Attacked System - Lost All Data
Hello again,

As I was just beginning to get to know many of you, I caught a Trojan Virus on my computer and have been putting the pieces back together every since. With that said, I haven't had much contact with VAF. I have been out of the loop for almost over a month now. It's good to be back here with you all. I just wanted to share my story and make an entrance again. I am an inspiring VA who had originally planned to launch my services in April, but then had a few changes and set my date to May 9...... as you can see that too had gone and here I'am again, back in start up mode. I lost ALL OF MY DATA. All of my research, contracts, resources, downloads, everything!

I have anti-virus software on my computer, I haven't a clue what happened and why it didn't work but for whatever the reason, it didn't do it's job.For any of you who has experienced this you know better than anyone how violated, frustrating and stressful this could be. Honestly you feel like someone just robbed your house and was snooping around through your personals! It's not a good feeling. Discouraged as I was, I've picked myself back up and began putting the pieces back together AGAIN..URRR. It's sooo irritating to be doing all of this again, trying to remember what was, and what I scrapped, tracking down old contracts that I sent out for review so I don't have to do them all over again. Huhh.

I contacted Toshiba to tell them what happened, basically their run to recover my data didn't work and my computer still had the virus. I was told by 3 different people to pack my computer up and send it to CALIFORNIA if I wanted to retrieve my information... oh and while I'm at it, write a check for $1800!!!!!!!! ARE YOU SERIOUS?? The computer was barely a $1000.

To no avail, I'm not able to retrieve the data but, I'm so fortunate to have a tech savy brother who got rid of the virus and had me up and running again less than 24 hours (and he didn't charge me a dime)

Hmm, I guess this is where a backup system would have been very useful?

Anyway, I'm a strong believer that nothing bad happens without good coming from it. I've decided to downgrade. Meaning, decided to start small and very simple. Being I'm soo new to this, I feel that's the best way for me to be more successful. Start small and add on as I get more comfortable with my skills, consulting, marketing etc.


Meanwhile I've redone my website, I'll be posting a link soon for you all to review and give honest feed back as you always do. I'll also be placing a post in the sub-contracting section, as I will be soon looking for small projects, assignments to gain experience by becoming more familiarized with what to expect, strategies and procedures.

I'll be talking with you all soon!
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Old 05-21-2012
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Company name: Proxor LLC
 
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Default Re: Virus Attacked System - Lost All Data
Wow. You had one really nasty Trojan.

Well, to address some things... please excuse the following if you already know this stuff. Alot of people don't so I try to help them by educating.

The fault likely isn't with your antivirus. The programs are usually very good (I recommend NOD 32, or Kaspersky personally) but they can't and won't catch everything. Its like expecting penicillin to fix every sickness a person can have. Penicillin is great but it won't heal everything. New virus' are appearing every day in both the virtual and real world.

Don't let it scare you into using more than one antivirus. They can conflict with each other and make the computer impossible to use.

When surfing the net, try to keep a few things in mind... if a site has a popup that tries to stop you from leaving, DO NOT (I use capitals to emphasize how important what I'm about to say is) hit the x button on the top right to close anything, and DO NOT hit any button on the screen that just popped up. Instead... press ctrl+alt+del all at the same time on your keyboard. Click "start task manager". In the window that comes up, click on processes and look for your surf engine. It's really easy to find since most engines will be labelled by their actual name (like firefox will actually say firefox in the list). Internet explorer will be labelled iexplore.exe. Click on it to highly it, then hit end process. When you turn the window back on, don't allow it to reload all previous pages by not selecting the little window that pops up.

I bet your asking why... because clicking anything else can load a virus, malware or spyware onto your computer. People have become very very sneaky.

Scan every picture and attachment that comes into your email before you open it. If you don't have a clue what it might be, don't open it. If you see names for any emails or files that don't make sense (generally a bunch of letters and/or numbers with no logic to the words), don't open it.

I'm glad you didn't fall for what Toshiba wanted you to do. They likely wouldn't have been able to recover it anyway, given how nasty that virus seems.

It sounds like your brother completely formatted the computer. Believe it or not, but with some particularly nasty viruses, even that may not solve the problem. There are two different kinds of format. One actually leaves stuff on the drive, and that sounds like the one you did. Your brother completely formatted the computer, with likely the only programming remaining in the bios (and its actually possible for your bios to get a virus too but extremely rare), then he reloaded from scratch.

I highly suggest having at least one form of backup. One of the things I intend on doing as soon as I get the money (I'm building my own computer) is having a separate drive for my business completely. It will be passworded and encoded for protection. This will help as most virusses infect the drive where the Operating System is and only spread elsewhere later. I also have a portable drive that I can take with me anywhere I go.

Anyway... if you ever have computer questions, please ask. I love computers and I'm happy to help.

Good luck with your business. Can't wait to see your site.
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Old 05-21-2012
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Default Re: Virus Attacked System - Lost All Data
Great info! I really appreciate it!!! And no, you're right, I didn't know this stuff so educate me you did. Also, I just realized I neglected to mention how I caught the virus. It came through as an email from a friend of mine on my contact list through my yahoo account! Who would ever suspect that?

As for my brother - I'm not for sure what he did, but I do know he came over did something and told me not to touch my computer and let it run. It ran something for the entire day and night.then he came back over the next day with his Ghost Busters bag and what looked like a small bazooka, black boxes, and some other gadgets which kept him busy for the entire evening LOL. He said I was good to go and he caught the Trojan and trapped it in his black box. hehe. Go figure. LOL. I don't know Melissa LOL. Tech stuff is Greek to me LOL. BUT, I've been sending out links, emails, documents all types of stuff so far everything is looking good.

Thanks again!
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Old 05-21-2012
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Default Re: Virus Attacked System - Lost All Data
Atta girl, Sharon. You will be successful because of your perseverance. I have had my system crash and lost a lot of data before, so I started using Dropbox to store my data instead of a USB drive. It has helped a lot and you can access it from anywhere on any computer.
Wendy B.
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Old 05-21-2012
msva2011's Avatar
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Default Re: Virus Attacked System - Lost All Data
I actually feel silly about this too because this has happened in the past something very similar with a contact list becoming infected. Hmm.
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Old 05-21-2012
msva2011's Avatar
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Default Re: Virus Attacked System - Lost All Data
Yes Wendy lol. I've actually just opened my account for Dropbox. I'm glad they have a great free option which is good for newbies like me. When I become more established or need more space I'll use the paid version.
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Old 05-21-2012
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Default Re: Virus Attacked System - Lost All Data
You're welcome.

Most people don't know much about computers. I'm just one of those people that loves them.

I've actually considered learning programming, but then I saw all the math involved. I think my head would explode. lol. I've never been very good with math to put it lightly. I went to take Biology in University, and they forced me to take a physics class. I knew I was going to fail it within the first two days.
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Old 05-22-2012
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Default Re: Virus Attacked System - Lost All Data
Also, you might want to consider Malware Bytes, too. This is NOT the same as an anti-virus program that should be running continuously in the background, scanning and checking as you go to websites, open emails, etc. This anti-malware program is something you can use to manually scan your computer for malware, which is different than viruses. You can't run two anti-virus resident programs at the same time, but you can run one anti-virus resident and then have Malware Bytes that you run manually on a regular basis.

Another thing I've read many times--and that I don't do, but should--is that when you're on the Internet you should be on there with a non-administrative account on your computer. You know how you can set up different accounts on your computer for different family members? You can set them up as admin or non-admin accounts. (Admin accounts have access to everything on the computer and can make changes to everything; non-admins are limited to what they can access/change.) Using the Internet with a non-admin account is safer because whatever changes you can't make to the computer as a non-admin account, any virus/malware that would try to attack those areas can't get access because you can't. I've read this a lot, so I'm guessing it has merit.

I've heard that Kapersky is great. I currently use a free one (avast), which has been great for many years, but I may be switching (probably to Kapersky) sometime this year.

Make sure your Windows firewall is on. And you can even get additional firewalls, too, but I'm not too familiar with that.

And as someone mentioned, NO anti-virus (or malware) program will stop everything. Things have gotten through to my computer, too. Nothing extremely serious, but still frustrating to fix. (This is where the forum members at Avast have been SO helpful to me a few times!)

I want to get an external hard drive for backups but haven't done so yet. Currently I just back up data to flash drive every few days. And some type of backup is needed not only for virus-type issues, but also in case your computer decide to die on you. (Recently happened to my husband, who didn't back up anything.)

Don't feel silly...I'm sure it's happened to many of us here...it has to me!
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Old 05-22-2012
msva2011's Avatar
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Default Re: Virus Attacked System - Lost All Data
Pam, thanks for the info. I've never really heard too much about Malware, this is something I"m going to definitely look into as well. As far as the Administrative and Non-Administrative account, this is something completely new to me. I've got some work to do.

Thanks!
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Old 05-22-2012
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Default Re: Virus Attacked System - Lost All Data
This would be a good time for you to consider a cloud-based backup system. I use SugarSync. They offer 5GB of storage for free. You can purchase more storage for a fee. My main business folder which includes client folders, contracts, etc, anything having to do with my business, I have set to automatically back up to SugarSync so in case my hard drive fails, I have the back up there.

Also, it sounds like your friend's email was hacked and you probably received an email that says something like "Hey I found this cool website, click here!" Ignore it, that's very obviously a hacked email. If it looks suspicious, just email your friend back or call her and find out if she really did send you that email.

Sorry to hear about your troubles. Good luck in the future.
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