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"Ransomware" false alarm?

Discussion in 'Virus & Other Malware Removal' started by Riverglen, Nov 11, 2014.

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  1. Riverglen

    Riverglen Thread Starter

    Aug 28, 2006
    First Name:
    I had a call for help from a friend a little while ago. From the description of his problem over the phone it sounded like he was almost certainly infected with some sort of ransom-ware virus. He was getting a pop-up telling him that the machine was "blocked" and that he had to come up with $300 to get the key to removing the block.

    I told him that is personal files were unrecoverable under any circumstances (other than possibly by paying the ransom), but that I might be able to clear the virus that caused the problem. I had intended to have a look at the problem first hand in the morning. In the mean time, I suggested that he should update and run Malewarebytes to see what it turned up.

    He just called back and informed me that a full scan with Malewarebytes didn't turn up anything, but that following an reboot when the scan finished, the machine seems to be running normally. He verified that he can open his personal files (photos, I think).

    I am far from being ready to believe that his machine is clean and that his problems are over, and still am planning to give it a good going over. So, I'm not seeking help (yet) for cleaning up whatever problems the machine may have, but I would like to know whether this sort of apparent false alarm is symptomatic of a known virus.

    Second, I would like hear what people think about the risk of importing an infection from a compromised machine. I keep a flash stick full of maintenance and diagnostic tools, and I'd be very reluctant to plug it into a machine that was infected with any sort of ransom maleware, or connecting that machine to my own network.
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