Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Finally Back after the Great Tech Attack of 2016

On September 2, 2016, I was about to publish an article that was planned to be one of my best -- it disappointingly turned out to be gobbledygook.  Only today have I had the ability to use a personal computer and clean it up a little bit.

Logging happens in the Event Viewer.
Just as I started drafting the article I was distracted by a blink of my computer; I checked my logs and noticed something odd.

My computer logging had been stopped and there were 25 users on a computer that I am the sole user of (and these weren't system users either--they had names).

I realized (to my temporary horror) that all three of my computers were behaving like they had been invaded by a trojan virus.  It was a ridiculous and expensive nightmare for me, but not really as bad as it could have been.

I have always used good virus protection but the infection came around it.  (I was using Windows Defender on two, plus Malware Bytes. On the other computer, I was using Sophos and Malware Bytes.  I have since changed my strategy.)

I determined quite a bit from the investigation into my computers' history, files and other things, like the date that the invasion took over, for instance.  It was interesting. That's all I'm going to say about it.

In the middle of that, I also learned that both of my cell phones and my new tablet were affected, including my new Note 7 (which, of course, had to be replaced).

Lessons from My Hacking

It's good to be an honest person without anything TOO weird or Illegal on my computer!!

Be careful--even with people you trust. 
There are a couple of wack-jobs in your life, even if you don't realize it right this minute.  It's so easy to infect a PDF or use other methods to infect a computer.

Don't let other people use your computer without setting up a guest account that won't allow changes to the computer.

Back everything up in two places.
Be aware that backups can also be infected, so when you start adding files back to your computer, make sure they are clean.

Cover the camera on your laptops, especially those in your bedroom.  Fortunately for me, the camera that went live in my bedroom and took pictures was pointed at the floor or wall.

Start over.  Don't even try to clean it up. 
When this happens, get an expert on the problem.   As "How to Geek" describes it:  Nuke it!!   Have the expert wipe it and do a clean install of windows.  I personally had all partitions removed that held the back-up that could be used to reset my computer because even after it was wiped, the infection remained in those partitions.

Be sure to keep your logs ON and check them regularly.
You can learn how to open the logging mechanism (the event viewer) here.

Finally,  when you find out you have been hacked or attacked and you are using Windows 10 before the attack, you can download it onto your clean hard drive via this link.  It will recognize your computer unless you have changed out the mother board.

Carbonite and Dropbox saved me!

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