Like any of us if enough time goes by in peace and quiet we get complacent and don’t follow our own established procedures. That’s what happened to me two weeks ago. My PC was infected with a particularly nasty bit of malware.. due to my complacency and probably a tired click on the wrong link.
It was very late and I was tired, already a recipe for IT disaster 🙂 and the next morning I booted up my PC none the wiser. I had been running my Antivirus as part of Panda Internet Security regularly but since all was reasonably quiet I had not been running an additional anti-spyware program frequently enough.
I had Windows Defender installed and MalwareBytes but was only getting around to running them about once a month.
As I said I booted the PC and after typing my password went to get a cup of coffee. On my return Windows XP was reporting a problem with OS files having been overwritten and this was the first sign that something was seriously wrong.
I couldn’t run Panda or either of the anti-spyware programs, no executables or OS folders could be found throught search, Explorer or via DOS either locally, over the workgroup and finally no Disk On Key Apps could be run.
So I tried a System Restore .. nope.
Then I tried a Repair from the Boot Disk .. my Administrator password was not recognized.
Several inappropriate words later I deciced to try backing up my data, PST etc to an external drive .. luckilly this worked. Then of course I opened my laptop and used it to scan the external drive as deep as it could go using Panda, Spybot Search and Destroy and MalwareBytes.
I decided to cut my attempts at repairing the damage short and just reformat and reinstall the OS and programs.
To cut a long story short, the PC is up and running better than ever with more stringent security; what did I learn?
Complacency is one step before disaster.
Backup, backup, backup.
Keep all your data on a separate partition and preferably sync it to a remote or network store.
Keep a list safe (hardcopy in this case) of all your license keys for all your software.
It’s worth having a reminder for scheduled antivirus and antispyware scans.
If you even suspect that you clicked on the wrong thing or the PC is acting strange then run your security programs.