Posts Tagged ‘Windows’

Beware the Cryptolocker virus. It is real and it can totally hose your data.

March 9, 2014

I got a laptop in today to try to repair. Word files had suddenly stopped being able to be read by Office 2007. It was bizarre. After messing with it a while I found out from the owner that he had a virus warning flash the day before. He remembered the word “locker” being on the screen.

It turned out that it was Cryptolocker, a virus that encrypts your data file with nearly impossible to break encryption.He had the symptoms and I even found the registry key for Cryptolocker _0388.

The victim is offered a chance to pay a ransom (typically about $300) in bitcoins or other currencies. If you don’t pay by the deadline, you never get to open your data again. It has infected hundreds of thousands of users and a notable percentage of victims pay up. It generates a king’s ransom for the criminals that do the infecting

In his case, it appears Microsoft’s malicious software removal tool scraped out the virus, but the damage is done. The files are encrypted and it even got his thumb drive backup versions. This virus can hunt across mapped drives.

Also, since the virus is gone, he can’t even pay the ransom to get back his precious data.

The rig had apparently never had Windows XP updated and the antivirus had expired. Sadly, there is nothing I can do. The owner is going to try a data recovery professional, but I am afraid they will advise him the same.

Seriously folks, don’t use XP on business systems anymore due to the age and lack of support. Keep your software fully patched! And please, never, EVER operate a machine without a reputable Internet Security program in place.



More XP fresh installs where Windows Update breaks

October 20, 2013

It happened again last night with a fresh install on a Dell with an XP SP2 disk. After various troubleshooting steps, I finally got it to work.

It is clear that something in one of the various patches to XP is breaking Windows Update. My concern is that Microsoft may be slow to deal with it since this is an operating system on the way out. However, at this time it is still the second most used OS on the planet. If something done on the Microsoft end is hosing fresh installs, then they need to hop on it ASAP.

They also need to get some Fix-it tools that actually work — and redo their existing ones to QUIT SENDING PEOPLE TO A WEB PAGE ANNOUNCING THE BETA PROGRAM IS CLOSED. Seriously, the tool offers to send you online for more help for your unfixed problem, makes you go through entering in a verification code to get to the page — and then takes you to a page where to be told tough luck.


UPDATE: I just did another install of a Dell machine and had no issues. The only things I did differently were to use a freshly downloaded version of SP3 and a full install version of .NET 3.5 SP1 (not the web update version).

So far, so good…

So, maybe MS fixed whatever update was causing the hosing of the entire Windows update system on their end. Or, maybe something needed by .NET 3.5 SP1 wasn’t getting grabbed/installed properly using the web update version. I don’t know. All I can say is that it worked the last time I tried it. Yippee!