Why Did I get Infected?

Hello and Welcome to Omni Computer Repair and domain hosting. 

We are computer repair techs and network administrators located in Summit County Colorado. This business began in 1982 as SolCom in Frisco, Colorado and has been in continuous operation since that time. Our lead tech and co-owner is Alex Korshunov. Both Alex and Phil have relevant certifications in Computer Repair and Networking from Cisco and CompTIA. Phil taught Computer technology and repair at Colorado Mountain College over a 20 year span including 17 years as a Cisco Net Academy Instructor. Alex has been both a regional and national contractor for a number of network and graphics based tech industries.

My Computer stopped working properly, why?

Perhaps an update failed, you became infected or hardware was broken. Some recent cases:

  1. Business Workstation repeatedly cycles on and off. Alex used sequencing software to analysis the start process and located a MOSFET failure. Using magnification a tiny bit of aluminum foil had lodged between the component and the circuit board. Broken component  was unsoldered and a new one soldered in place.
  2. A software update was bad and caused many computers to break until it could be disabled. Alex and Phil worked by phone and onsite to remediate this issue.
  3. Computer was slowing down and showed signs of infection. While common, modern operating systems are becoming more resistant. Disinfect!
  4. The Hard Drive failed and there was not a backup system in place. We work with local and national drive backup and restoration facilities.

WHY DID I GET INFECTED?  The reason used to be only money, now disruption is part of that equation. Perhaps an Update was bad and created problems.or overzealous cleaning resulted in loss of critical files. The means may be a ransom to “remove the block on your computer” .Each year the money lost to internet and wire (banking) fraud is greater than that spent on the top three smuggled drugs worldwide!

HOW: Most infections are initiated by the user clicking on a malware link. It could be a link in an email even from someone you know. It might come from a “pop up” message while you are browsing the internet. Sometimes it will be a fake notice from an “authority” like FedEx or the FBI or “Google” or “Microsoft”. The important thing to know is that no authority or bank or computer company will contact you with a pop-up on your computer screen. Most often it will come in a phone call or a request that you call a number which pops up onto your screen.

While these are the mechanisms by which you became open to attack, you also had to click on a link within an email or visit an infected website. Infected Websites are common and are the result of weak or out of date web hosting software. Or, often it is a two step process, you downloaded a free web utility and it came with lots of extra and unwanted software which are euphemistically called PUP’s or Potentially Unwanted Programs. One of these PUP’s might create a link toward an infected website..

A new vector for infection is a phone call from a “Microsoft, Dell or Your ISP” which invites you to allow the caller to remote into your computer to “fix” something. Usually this is a straight forward request for payment but often a PUP is installed which compromises your computer. None of these organizations are at all likely to contact you on your computer or by telephone and ask for money: Homeland Security, The Justice Department, The FBI, Microsoft, Dell, Your ISP, etc.

Top Warning Signs that you are very vulnerable to infection:

  1. Java, Adobe and Flash programs are out of date (not the current version).
  2. Simple passwords of 8 or less characters.
  3. Toolbars appear unexpectedly (Just say NO to ALL toolbars)
  4. Someone you don’t know is allowed to remote into your computer.
  5. Microsoft Updates are seldom allowed.
  6. Free web utilities, especially game “helps” and DVD movie ripping programs, are downloaded.
  7. You click on links inside emails that you did not expect (hover over the link with your cursor, do the two URL’s match? Does it take you to another country?)