Technology Fixes – Trojan

Isn’t technology wonderful when it works? And, isn’t it a pain when it doesn’t?

It’s also disappointing when you pay for comprehensive anti-virus software that updates several times per day and still doesn’t prevent a Trojan from attacking your computer. Furthermore, this Trojan prevented access to many local applications and to the internet making the solution process that much more difficult.

Luckily, one application skirted around the Trojan to provide access to solutions. This system maintenance application was loaded post-infection to help solve the problem. Though it didn’t solve the problem, the fact that the application was loaded post-infection allowed its “Get Help” button to access the internet and bypass the Trojan’s blockade.

Once the browser gained access to the internet, multiple tabs provided research via various search engines. Care was taken not to close the browser in case the Trojan could hijack and prevent re-opening the browser.  

Relatively quickly, a solution was found after hours trying to solve the problem without access to the internet. The solution included a freeware application found on the CNET web site called Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware. Once downloaded and updated, running the application was easy and quick (less than 10 minutes) to find and remove the Trojan.

For removal, the system must be re-booted to allow the Anti-Malware to delete the infected files. But, you should re-run the Anti-Malware application again after re-booting. Renegade malware files may remain. A few did, but the Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware easily removed the remaining infection.

It’s interesting, McAfee’s anti-virus application did not prevent the Trojan nor did it recognize it once the system was infected. On the other hand, Microsoft’s Windows Defender recognized the system was infected and claimed to clean the infected files. Unfortunately, the system was still infected, and Windows Defender could no longer recognize the infection once it performed its cleaning process.

Luckily, several system maintenance applications were downloaded from the CNET web site to a flash drive a few weeks ago. After loading a couple of them to the infected system, a click on one of their “Get Help” buttons gained access to the internet and the solutions.

Challenges always present new learning experiences. For your benefit, the lessons included:

  • Keep system maintenance applications pertinent to your operating system on a separate flash drive or CD/DVD that can be loaded locally when access to the internet is not available (e.g., WinUtilities, AdvancedSystemCare)
  • If they do not solve the problem, use their “Get Help” buttons which may allow you to circumvent the virus to get to the internet
  • Download Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware application and keep it updated

Researching computer problems on an adjacent, uninfected computer makes the solution process much easier. In this case, the second, clean computer recently suffered from an amazing electrical storm and was unavailable. Soon, another will take its place, but in the meantime; the Trojan attack has been averted using the steps above.