Charlie has been asking me to look at his computer for a few days now, but always picks the wrong time to ask – like after midnight, or when the football is on TV.Â Today he caught me at a better time so I went to see what the matter was.
The thing he was really bothered about was everything being big. For some reason the screen was in VGA mode, which was easily sorted, but with a better resolution I could see what was really wrong – all sorts of messages about viruses.Â Windows Security Centre was saying that the machine was unprotected and an information bubble was saying that somebody was currently stealing all his personal details but the anti-virus software was out-of-date and needed to be registered to fix it.
I knew for a fact that I installed Grisoft’s AVG anti-virus software, so the machine is protected. I had never heard of the software Antivirus 2009 but it sounded dodgy to me.Â I opened up the program from the system tray and then killed it with Task Manager and straight away Windows Security Centre said that the computer was protected after all.Â I did a bit of research on my computer (almost guaranteed to work because I never let anybody else get their hands on it) and this AV2009 turns out to be a nasty bit of malware, usually installed from a dodgy pop-up on websites.
The way Chas’s PC was behaving I was not going to have much luck downloading spyware removal software, so I had to go in and delete files, unregister DLLs, remove registry entries, and generally wave goodbye to an hour of my evening.Â It all looks OK now, or as good as a three- or four-year-old computer can look, but I’m currently feeling distinctly uncharitable towards rogue software authors and sorely tempted to install Linux up there.