My computer has been infected by the Searchnu virus and I’ve been chatting
with a guy from (some) security about it. I’m a senior citizen and only
learning to operate a computer. He wants to charge me 44 pounds to remove a
virus, which I cannot afford. Can I do this myself or is it too complicated?
Also, is this a recognized company? And would it be worth me trying to pay the
44 pounds? I operate 64 bit Windows 7 using Google Chrome. Can you please
In this excerpt from Answercast #96 I look at a possible scam to fix a virus on a computer, and ways you can do the same job yourself for free.
Pay someone to remove a virus
So… I want to make sure, first off, that you are the person that contacted that company. In other words, you somehow located this company (whose name I’m not including here) to basically reach out for some help.
If you contacted them then they’re probably legit. Whether they are any good or not, I honestly can’t say. And it sort of depends also on where you found them. But if they’re local to you, and if they have ads, or are in your local phone directory, then chances are they are at least trying. They’re not a scam.
Now, unfortunately, I can’t guarantee that – but the odds are that they are not a scam.
Scammers contacting you
Unfortunately, the reverse is very clear. If somebody contacted you out of the blue to help you with this problem, then that’s not something you want to do. You do not want to pay them. You don’t want to talk to them anymore. They are in all likelihood running a scam.
On top of that, if for some reason, you got notified to contact them because of a message that appeared magically on your computer… don’t!
That is the definition of what we now call “scareware.” What they’re trying to do is scare you into paying for something you don’t need.
Fix a virus yourself
So, can you resolve this yourself? My belief is that you can.
You need to start by making sure that your computer is running appropriate anti-virus and anti-spyware tools. Then make sure that those tools are up to date, and they are getting up-to-date database information.
Most tools, when you install them today, will do exactly that by default.
I would then have you run the free tool from malwarebytes.org. That free tool. Have it run a complete scan of your system.
My guess is that between the anti-malware software that you’re running normally, and this scan from malwarebytes.org, you’ll probably be able to get rid of this thing yourself.
Free malware software
Two important points: one, all of the software that I’m recommending is free. So you’re not out any money.
And, the software I’m recommending – you can find in an article I have on my site called, “What security software do you recommend?“
That page will give you links to several free, different, security packages; one of which I actually do recommend. But if that’s not the one you want to run I’ve got some alternatives there as well – and a link to the malwarebytes that I just talked about.
Save yourself some money
But, no. Normally, getting rid of malware like this is usually, (usually!) a fairly straightforward run of a couple of free tools you can download from the internet.
Now, if that gets a little too confusing? If that’s not something you feel you can handle yourself? That’s ok. But that’s where I would strongly recommend that you seek out a local professional – probably one you can check a couple of referrals on, to make sure that this is someone who knows what they’re doing.
But have it be someone that you choose and not someone who chooses you.
(Transcript lightly edited for readability.)