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What Do I Do With a Hijacked Computer?

 
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Larry from Arkansas writes “I have a desktop that has gotten some malware on it. It has locked my screen preventing me from using my computer.  So what I did was use my laptop to download Hit Man Pro software, am wondering is there any way for me to burn that to a cd so I can insert into infected computer?”

Hello, fellow Arkansan!  Thanks for the great question.

Let’s start with the bad news.

Unfortunately, what you’re dealing with here is beyond simple malware.  What’s happened is that your system has been hijacked.  When your system is hijacked, you can’t do much of anything beyond getting a hijack boot screen that won’t allow you to proceed.  A hijack can be very difficult to resolve, because it is in multiple places in your operating system, and you have to remove all of these bits and pieces in order to get rid of it for good.  When I was doing computer repair, I kept all of my tools on a thumb drive, and even had one particularly nasty bug that infected my thumb drive when I attempted to remove it!

Before I get on to Hitman, which I haven’t used yet, let me say that I have yet to find one program that will resolve a hijack.  In my experience, it takes a number of programs to resolve, such as Hijack This!, some good malware and anti-virus programs, as well as a disc cleaner such as Ccleaner just for good measure.  I will say that Hijack This! is not for the casual computer user.  If you can’t ultimately resolve it with Hitman, you might consider taking into your friendly neighborhood computer geek to remove the hijack for you.

Okay, on to Hitman Pro.

The first thing that I would like to say is that, from my research on their website, the free version of Hitman Pro will DIAGNOSE your problem, but will not REPAIR it.  So if you have the free, thirty-day trail, you won’t be able to create a boot disc, boot USB or remove the infection.

But, if you have the paid version and want to create a boot DVD or USB, go here: http://www.surfright.nl/en/kickstart.  There are instructions on this page for creating a boot USB stick as well as (about halfway down on the right) .iso files for creating a boot DVD.  If you don’t have a DVD drive on your computer, the USB stick would definitely be the way to go.  But I want to reiterate… if Hitman doesn’t resolve your hijack, I would definitely recommend letting a pro take care of it.

Beyond that, just practice safe surfing.  Make sure that you’ve got a good anti-virus and anti-malware program running on your machine (personally, I use AVG) and make sure that it is up to date.  If your software recommends not navigating to a page, don’t go there.  NEVER click a link in an e-mail unless you’re 100% sure of where it came from.  Never respond to e-mails from Nigerian princes (unless you happen to be friends with one), or about lotteries that you’ve won without entering.  If you get an e-mail from your bank or Paypal or something requesting personal information and providing a link, don’t click on it.  Instead, go to their website and research it.  A lady that I knew in Washington state did web safety seminars, and she said that she was considering doing one called “never click on anything EVER!”   A bit of an exaggeration, but good basic advice.

I hope that this helps.

~ Randal Schaffer

 

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3 Responses to “What Do I Do With a Hijacked Computer?”

  1. Lrussel5 says:

    Maybe we just got lucky, but when my bosses laptop got hijacked and nothing would work and a window from the hijacker stayed on the screen, I shut down and then booted up in safe mode and did a system restore rolling it back one week. Resolved!!!!!! No sign of the problem after this and no docs, pics, etc were lost.

  2. bob price says:

    Very confusing. Your quote: “…the free version of Hitman Pro will DIAGNOSE your problem, but will not REPAIR it. So if you have the free, thirty-day trail, you won’t be able to create a boot disc, boot USB or remove the infection.”

    If you cannot create a ext drive, how does it diagnose? I agree, the site is confusing.

  3. Randal says:

    Hi, Lrussel and Bob. Thanks for your comments.

    Lrussel, thanks for your suggestion. I forgot to add that to my article. In some instances, restoring your computer may fix the problem.

    Bob, your comment leads back to my earlier thought in the article that i’ve never known of a “one-stop-shop” solution to a hijack, and makes me think that Hitman is more of an anti-virus solution than a anti-hijack solution. The gist of the comment that confused you is that, if your computer has been hijacked, the free version of the software will definitely NOT help you and you will have to buy the full version.

    Thanks again!

    Randal

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