Flatlander Faith

Apologetics from an Anabaptist perspective

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The Malwarebytes fiasco

I started using the free version of Malwarebytes some years ago when my anti-virus program didn’t seem to be catching everything. I would run a scan with MWB every now and then and often it would pick up a couple of problems and delete them.

They kept telling me how much more the premium version would do for me, so I finally bit a little over a year ago. It quietly worked away in the background, causing me no trouble and hopefully doing me some good. I didn’t really know what it was doing, but I felt just a little more secure knowing it was there.

Until last Saturday, January 27. I started my computer and everything was extremely sluggish. Programs were slow to load and didn’t want to work. I rebooted the computer a half dozen times and the problem only seemed to get worse. Sometimes the monitor stayed black, sometimes the cursor was oncoperative. I finally shut the computer down and made plans to take it to the computer hospital today.

Then I heard from a friend that the problem was a botched Malwarebytes update. I booted the computer up yesterday afternoon and everything returned to normal. Alls well that ends well, right?

Wrong. My confidence in Malwarebytes has dropped to near zero. You see, it is one thing to find and fix a technical error, but the problem is not resolved until you can convince your customers that you know why the problem occurred and have taken steps that will ensure it does not happen again.

Does Malwarebytes even know that they are dealing with people? Students who have reports and projects with a deadline, business people with deadlines to meet, writers with deadlines to meet, other people who were counting on using their computers to communicate with others or complete some project? I am a bookkeeper with month end deadlines for governement reports for my clients. I was counting on Saturday being a big day to get a lot of that done. Instead I had to turn my attention to tasks that didn’t require a computer, and weren’t nearly as urgent.

Meanwhile, all that we have heard from Malwarebytes is an online posting that the problem has been fixed. There is a lack of comprehension here. One technical glitch has been fixed. The real problem has not. Why should I be paying for a program that will put my computer out of service? That question has not been answered.

Can somebody reccommend a dependable alternative?

My computer caught a virus

– and home remedies didn’t work.

Two emails written in Russian found their way to my inbox last week.  At least they were written with the Cyrillic alphabet and I think they were Russian.  The only part I could read was the dollar amounts.  I knew they were not good news and hit the delete button.  I should have known better — I do know better.  All that does is move them from the inbox to another folder labelled deleted.  It does not get them out of my computer and if they are infected the infection can spread from there.

I don’t know that these emails were the source of the infection, I didn’t open any attachments or anything so it might have come from somewhere else.  But when I stated up my computer Monday morning there was a message that the Norton firewall was disabled.  I idly wondered how that had happened, switched it on again and carried on.

Wednesday morning the message about the Norton firewall turned up again.  Belatedly, I realized something unpleasant was going on.  Especially as my computer was pretty sluggish that morning.  I turned the firewall back on and began to scan my computer with a second anti-malware program.  This program got as far as identifying nine infected items on my computer then froze.  I found that my whole computer was now frozen, I couldn’t even turn it off with keyboard commands.

I held down the switch to turn the computer off, disconnected all the cables and took it to the Thorstad Computer hospital in the nearby town of Outlook.   When I went to get it two days later they informed me they had removed 30 items of malware.

I have Norton 360 Premier Edition installed on all three computers in our home.  No doubt it is a good program and protects our computers from most kinds of viruses and malware.  But it doesn’t seem that any one protective program can catch everything that is out there.  For several years I have made it a practice to periodically scan our computers with Malwarebytes Anti-Malware.  It will occasionally catch something that has snuck past Norton and I believe it would have found and eliminated the malware this time, had I used it soon enough.

I am freshly aware of the need to not just delete suspicious emails, but to also promptly empty the deleted folder to remove them completely from my computer.  And to do a scan of my computer with a backup malware program at the slightest suspicion that something funny is going on.  Malwarebytes Anti-Malware is recommended by Thorstad.  It comes in both a free version and a paid version.  The free version is probably all that most home users need for use as a backup to our regular antivirus software.

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