Jim Doty - Photo Blog

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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

COMPUTER NIGHTMARE: Not-A-Virus.Exploit.ByteVerify

I spent several hours today in a computer nightmare.

My first mistake was being online with a Windows computer. I usually check emails with a Mac. It is less risky since most viruses and malware are written for Windows machines. I don't open emails that are obviously spam. I opened an email that I thought was from a person that I know but it turned out to be spam. I deleted it and moved on. I never clink on links in spam, but sometimes just opening the email is enough.

After logging out I tried to close the browser window but every time I did, two or more windows opened. I tried to close them and more windows opened. I finally right clicked the icons in the task bar to close the windows.

I disconnected my computer from the internet. If a trojan was at work, it could track my key strokes and potentially acquire passwords that I used online.

I double clicked a folder on my hard drive and several folders opened. If I clicked on a file inside a folder, several other files were selected. Nothing worked quite right, like my mouse was on a secret mission and was opening folders, files, and programs on its own.

Thinking my wireless mouse was the problem, I changed mice but no dice (sorry). I went to Folders in the Control Panel and reset everything to the defaults but that didn't help either. I tired resetting individual folders but that didn't help either. Things continued to open without clicking on them.

Fortunately, I had recently downloaded AVG Anti-Spyware so I ran the software. It found several tracking cookies and two files it marked as high risk. AVG Anti-Spyware removed everything but the file "Not-A-Virus.Exploit.ByteVerify". Clicking on files and folders still caused havoc. I rebooted from a Knoppix CD but I wasn't able to delete the offending file.

FYI: Knoppix is very handy to have if Windows is acting up or dies. Knoppix will run your computer so you can at least get to the internet, do some essential computer functions with Open Office (and open source office suite), and access critical files on your hard drive and save them to a CD or DVD. You can download the English ISO file and burn it to a CD.

When all else fails, I call my son Jared who is my computer guru. A few suggestions from him and I went to work.

This link and this link were a huge help.

I downloaded ATF-Cleaner and followed the directions below. I updated Java in the Control Panel and followed the directions below to empty the cache. Then I ran AVG Anti-Spyware. The offending file is gone and my computer is back to normal. My five hour computer crisis is over.



Please download ATF Cleaner by Atribune.

This program is for XP and Windows 2000 only

    Double-click ATF-Cleaner.exe to run the program.

    Under Main choose: Select All

    Click the Empty Selected button.

If you use Firefox browser

    Click Firefox at the top and choose: Select All

    Click the Empty Selected button.

    NOTE: If you would like to keep your saved passwords, please click No at the prompt.

If you use Opera browser

    Click Opera at the top and choose: Select All

    Click the Empty Selected button.

    NOTE: If you would like to keep your saved passwords, please click No at the prompt.

Click Exit on the Main menu to close the program.

Updating Java and Clearing Cache

  1. Go to Start > Control Panel double-click on the Java Icon (coffee cup) in the Control Panel.

  2. It will say "Java Plug-in" under the icon.

    Please find the update button or tab in the Java Control Panel. Update your Java then reboot.

  3. If you are unable to update you can manually update by going here:

  4. After the reboot, go back into the Control Panel and double-click the Java Icon.

  5. Under Temporary Internet Files, click the Delete Files button.

  6. There are three options in the window to clear the cache - Leave ALL 3 Checked
      Downloaded Applets

      Downloaded Applications

      Other Files

  7. Click OK on Delete Temporary Files Window

    Note: This deletes ALL the Downloaded Applications and Applets from the CACHE.

  8. Click OK to leave the Java Control Panel

Run AVG Anti-Spyware. If the file is still there, delete it or Quarantine the whole archive.


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