Our family got on the Internet when it was fairly new. Of our six children, four are highly respected Internet Technology (IT) experts, as is a beautiful daughter-in-law.
I’m no slouch when it comes to the basics, but I am no geek. After the last week or so, I am definitely just an “EEK!”
A few years ago, I was able to watch a few sports programs I could not get on my regular antenna TV. It took a little manipulation, but I visited a web site that took the broadcasts off different foreign channels. After a couple of years, that was shut down, so I admitted what I already knew, I had been watching black market Internet sources.
Lately, I have been very frustrated that I could not watch Danica Patrick drive around in circles on the NASCAR circuit. The first few races of the season were on my local FOX affiliate, so that was fun. But it spoiled me when the races moved over to cable only channels. I was bound and determined to watch Danica.
So I tried several Internet locations to get a NASCAR feed. After clicking this link and that link, I always ended up with the pop-up, “Choose your cable or dish provider.” Stymied.
A couple of weeks ago, Danica crept into the top ten starting grid. I was determined to watch that race!
So, I committed the most grievous sin a greenhorn can commit – I kept clicking every link that popped up in my search for a Danica broadcast. “You must download this program” continued appearing left and right. Like a stupid idiot caught in a trance, I continued to press link after link after link. I knew I was spitting into the faces of the Internet gods, but I just kept clicking links.
I was transfixed like those addicted to slot machines.
At any rate, I ended up downloading the very evil SEARCHPROTECT virus. It completely took over my computer. The normal icons appeared on my screen, but as soon as I tried to open a program, everything would freeze up. I did forced shut-downs and cold boots over and over. I did a System Restore from a date two weeks earlier. Nothing.
While talking to one of our sons about the Major League Baseball All-star game, I mentioned my predicament. He is one of those afore-mentioned IT experts. “You need to go in to Safe Mode,” he told me. “Then go into Add/Remove Programs and remove it.”
SEARCHPROTECT had protected itself so well, it would not allow a “remove program,” even in SAFE mode. I found the dang thing in Programs and deleted it. Then I emptied my recycle bin.
I’m able to write this article only because our son reminded me how to wade through the muck. But like those giant ants in the 50s movie THEM, legs and claws of the monster are still scattered throughout my computer. Malwarebytes found over a dozen pieces yesterday. Who knows how many more pieces I will find today.
Windows did not boot up fully this morning. A pop-up told me I had to buy something to make it work. I put an “X” to that box. My wallpaper is still “broken,” but I thought I better get this article out just in case one person out there in blog-land is even THINKING of committing my same sin.
Meanwhile, I’ve started backing up all my important files. Bazillions of files.
If you do a Google search for SEARCHPROTECT you will find a gazillion articles on the thing. Some articles outline up to 20 steps to remove the monster.
It will be much easier for you if you just don’t download the thing in the first place. Don’t EVER click a link you are not sure will take you to a trusted program. If you are not sure, Google the name of any program or link you have never seen before.
Don’t make the same mistake I did – take it from someone who knew better, but still clicked on.
I plead Alzheimer’s.