Got blue-screened for the first time in years

BSODs don’t usually scare me, but this is kinda scary because of the circumstances. All I had open were Office 2010 and IE9. Then IE suddenly crashed and Windows Security Center popped up and told me my firewall was off. Instinctively I turned it back on but the window that showed up was ‘Vista Internet Security 2011’. It looks and sounds like Microsoft Security Essentials but it’s not, and it automatically started “scanning”. That’s a sign of trouble. Then, out of nowhere, BSOD.

Now I’ve restarted my computer with WiFi turned off for safety. I need to figure out how this malware landed on my computer when I haven’t downloaded anything.

Update:

Since reverting back to Vista last year, I’ve relied on Microsoft Security Essentials as my only security solution based on its good reviews. I don’t use Windows often anyway, so the security topic just went to the backburner. Unfortunately, Security Essentials wasn’t doing its job despite having been set up for real-time protection and automatic scans. In fact, the last time it did a scan was in March. I was aware of that but was too lazy to dig into the settings and see what was wrong.

When the fake Vista Security 2011 popped today, it crippled Security Essentials and blocked all my browsers. Good thing it was easy to find the process and kill it from there, but the malware (now virus) had apparently competely disabled the Security Essentials system service. A search for removal methods turned up a bunch of content-farm-style pages that offered “free” downloads of removal tools that were really affiliate links for trial software. So I quickly went to download Malwarebytes then came back offline. I’d actually never used Malwarebytes before. Ad-Aware and Spyware S&D were all the rage back in the day, but those seem to have lagged recently. Malwarebytes took care of the problem within minutes. Great job!

Since Security Essentials was dead, I decided to give AVG another chance. Honestly, I have fond memories of all my old software, and AVG is one piece of software that’s stayed with me for a long time. I’d used it for at least 5 years before switching to Linux. Going back to it, it’s like seeing an old friend all grown up.

Everything else is secondary.