How to react to a virus?

Recently, I serviced a client’s computer for a virus on Windows 10. She got a screaming message on her screen and it had a pop up with a number from “Microsoft” saying that she needed to call them and she called that number. I found out after awhile that she had let them get on her computer for a while to “look around” and then she broke the connection with them when they claimed there was a virus and that they had a technician who would look at the problem for $400+.

What did she do wrong? She called them. Then she let them get on her computer.

Why is this wrong? They are known to dig around your computer files for any routing numbers, medical records, install more viruses, look for passwords, etc. Visually, you can’t see them doing this unless you know how to track it. That pop-up or virus is from them, not anyone else and you probably got it because you clicked on a link in an email or your Windows Firewall and Windows Defender was turned off so McAfee or Norton could take care of the problems for you. Let me tell you, you are wasting your money on those two if you have Windows 10 because Windows 10 already comes with a Firewall and Defender. Defender is always getting virus definition updates from Windows Updates even if you have McAfee or Norton (recently in a lawsuit for automatically recharging) Systematic installed. Another person I serviced had Norton installed and turned on but I found about 160 viruses that were not caught. Their computer was only five years new but was really slow.

What should she have done? Not call them and shut down the computer right away.

But it is Microsoft, you might say to me. Let me be blunt, Microsoft, Google, Apple, Samsung, etc. will not waste their time to reach out to you (one of their millions of customers) or show a screaming message on your computer or phone.

When you a call a real technician, they need to know what problem you are having before they can fix it, they won’t know anything about your computer or what operating system you have or what you are clicking on. Even if they have years of experience. They won’t have a heavy Indian, Nigerian, or Filipino accent, they won’t have a rude manner asking you to wait, they won’t have a loud group of people talking in the background, or other suspicious activity going on.

What did she do right? She shut down her computer, found my phone number on a Google search, and left a voicemail. She also froze her online accounts and thankfully her LastPass was signed out so she didn’t have to reset any passwords.

I found about 50 viruses to remove and secured her computer. Now her computer is faster and free of viruses.

Although this is not recommended because it shortens the life of the computer, in emergencies only, press and hold the computer power button until you hear the computer shut off. Wait until you have a real technician visit your house to service it for you.

Don’t be the next victim. You lock your house and car doors but why don’t you update your computer or phone with the latest security updates? And make sure you are backing up your computer once per month at the very least to an external hard drive and get a yearly Carbonite or Backblaze computer backup plan which cost about $50-60 yearly.

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