A Trojan Virus

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This post comes to you by way of my laptop.  Read on to understand why.

In recent weeks my computer has been getting slower and slower. It got to the point where it was continually pausing for no apparent reason, like leaving me waiting half-way through keying-in a word.

I decided to find out what was slowing everything down on my (Windows XP) system. TaskManager provided a list of the processes, and I researched these, one by one on Google.

It was only at the end of these checks that I found the problem. A process that appears under the name “System” on my computer, has been identified as a Trojan.

Here is the web site where I found it

The entry is copyrighted, but it mentions the names of three viruses.

This web site contains further information.

To say that I am disappointed in my computer security provider would be something of an understatement. This Trojan gained access to my computer in spite of the best efforts of McAfee’s full security software.

The online documentation says that the Norton Antivirus package is also ineffective in stopping this Trojan. A complete system scan using a free trial version of AVG also failed to pick it up. And I tried to kill the process using TaskManager, with no effect. The process refuses to be killed.

This nasty virus is a potential keylogger, recording user keystrokes and sending them back to the originator. So, the first thing I had to do was alert my bank. Online access to my bank account could be compromised, as well as my credit card.

I then contacted McAfee online to get help. Their system offers a paid service, called “Gold” or “Platinum” to eradicate viruses online. Unfortunately, this service must be paid for using a credit card, and I had cancelled my credit card. The service does not accept debit cards.

ADDED: They sent me a piece of scanning software called “stinger” which failed to pick up the Trojan.

So I’m scuppered. For the moment, anyway. I can use this laptop to access the Internet, but my personal email is not available to me, and I’ll have to wait until my new credit card arrives in the post before I can sort out the Trojan.

If you’re running Windows, start your Task Manager (Ctrl Alt Del). Click on the Processes tab, then click on Image Name (to sort alphabetically). If you find a process called “System”, chances are you have this Trojan too.

UPDATE: Following an automatic update from McAfee, I tried to run a scan, and the McAfee system immediately identified a rival firewall running on my system. When I clicked on the “Fix now” button, I was directed to a pop-up that offered me a subscription to McAfee (which I already have).

I uninstalled AVG after using it. At one point during the uninstall it asked if I really wanted to remove its firewall. I said YES. I can’t see any process running in TaskManager now that might be an unwanted firewall. As I type these words, I’m in a queue to speak with McAfee tech support. I’ve been waiting 23 minutes. The holding music is turning my brain to moist cottonwool.

Computers are fun, aren’t they?

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