Antivirus gone awry?

Connie asks this question:
Something bad has happened to my computer. Somehow, and I honestly don't know who, but Personal Security program has been installed onto my computer. I have been able to run my antivirus and eliminate the problem through that, and I have also now been able to delete it from my programs area. But, it seems to have deleted my icons from my desktop and is preventing me from accessing current websites in my favorites list. Please tell me I have not ruined my computer. And, if possible help me restore to where I was before this misfortune.

I listen to your program as often as I can, as I an a little older computer user and can use all the info in can get into my brain.

I am feeling extremely vulnerable, as my Norton expires and needs renewal by 12-27-09 and I am afraid at this point to use a credit card while this is going on.

I hate to sound like I am begging, but, the truth is the truth. HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thank you so much for your consideration to my problem.

Brian's answer:
To be perfectly honest, your inquiry completely baffled me when I first read it. The missing part to the puzzle was that when you described "Personal Security", I thought you were talking about Norton Internet Security and I couldn't understand what sort of problem you were describing. After some further research, I now understand better: You were talking about "Personal Security", which is the trade name of a piece of malware that behaves just like a virus -- with the intention of more or less coercing you into paying for a specific piece of anti-virus software. It's exactly the opposite of "personal security"; it's a security liability.

Rather than trying to reinvent the wheel, I'm going to point you to an existing description of how to remove "Personal Security" that seems to have earned the approval of lots of respondents on message boards, including one for users of AVG Anti-Virus.

If you have followed all of the policies listed in the links I copied above and are still having trouble, you're going to need some one-on-one help. But here's some advice for everyone, so they can avoid your kind of trouble:

  • Use a limited-access account. Don't use your administrator account unless you're trying to specifically install a program. This one step will eliminate 95% of your ordinary risk when using the Internet.
  • Use Firefox, Opera, or Chrome instead of Internet Explorer when surfing the Web.
  • If you're worried about using your credit card for any reason, there's always an alternative: You can call the company selling the product or go to a physical store where you can purchase the software (or whatever you're buying).
Good luck, and if you need to call us, listen this Saturday from noon until 2:00 on Newsradio 1040 WHO.

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This page contains a single entry by Brian Gongol published on January 25, 2010 6:12 PM.

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