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FakeMS.exe - Handling A Trojan Virus Attack
This Virus Attacks Anti Virus Programs!
I had until recently never been the victim of a Computer virus. I always have an updated and active anti virus program on my computer. In my case I now use Trend Platinum as I have discovered this to be the fastest and least intrusive of the modern anti virus programs. It also offers real time protection and automatic scheduling and updating.
I should have known better than to assume this alone would be sufficient protection. I was after all an IT Audit Manager for over 30 years and have in my time handled many cyber criminals and was tasked with managing the computer security for one of the top 50 banks in the World.
In today's World unfortunately it is no longer adequate to rely on just one of the major suppliers. The FakeMS.exe Trojan Horse virus is one of the nastiest examples of what the modern day cyber villain is capable of.
This virus has been designed using artificial intelligence techniques so that it can pass undetected even when a system is being scanned for viruses on a regular basis. It will change where it is hiding at random and this can even be triggered when the virus detects the activity of an anti virus product.
The virus can even block the anti virus programs from updating themselves and from having full scanning capability. I was using my computer, and all of a sudden it told me my anti virus program was out of date and not running. This was the first hint I had that there may be a virus on my PC. I use an Asus Intel i7 quad core that is extremely fast and I noticed a considerable speed degradation too.
I checked Trend and tried to update my product, this kept failing so I used their House call product, which detected several infections, but not the FakeMS.exe. The Trojan actually encourages other viruses and malware to infect your machine once it is active!
This virus will also attack the operating system, it is not called FakeMS.exe for no good reason. It actually will infiltrate and infect many of the Windows operating system files over time it will make your computer absolutely useless.
Virus Detection And Avoidance Strategies That Can Protect Your PC
Here are some suggestions and strategies that can help you avoid an infection.
- Use a scanner that protects all incoming Email
- Use a scanner that protects vulnerable system files in real time.
- Search your system files periodically looking for obvious invalid file names. Such as FakeMS.exe. It was how I finally realized I had it.
- Do not assume your anti virus is enough. They are always a little slow in updating as they react after the new viruses become active.
- Do not use two anti virus products on the same computer at the same time. This can often give false positives or prevent one or both from working properly.
- Do use Trend's Housecall or Norton's, or McAfee's free scanning tools over the internet if you can still connect.
- Use Malwarebytes (free version) to remove any malware, this is the best tool for removing most malware and it is regularly updated.
- Use Spybot Search and Destroy (free version is adequate) to remove any unwanted bots and use its immunization feature.
- If you suspect a virus that has not been detected, disable your anti virus and download Avast or one of the other free trials and perform a full scan.
- There are some good utilities out there for those with sufficient computer knowledge to use them correctly. I found and used WinZip System Utilities by Corel. This was the only anti virus scanner that found my infection, but it failed to remove it even though it said it was quarantined. It was not and still took over my system.
- Keep system recovery disks and complete backups at all times. Tip a wifi hard drive and good backup utility can take care of this for all your work/home computers.
- Last resort reformat your hard drive and restore from system recovery disks and file backups (last known good version).
Blue Screen Of Death - Possible Result Of FakeMS.exe
My Personal Rating Of Trend Titanium Anti Virus
I have used Trend Titanium Anti Virus (formerly PCCillin) for many years now (16) and it has only ever once let me down. That was with this infection of FakeMS.exe, since I knew what the infection was I have written and told them, so newer versions will probably protect against even this Trojan.
I would like to add that neither Norton nor McAfee could even detect the presence of this virus, as I said earlier it has intelligent capabilities and either blocks the anti virus or moves from a yet to be scanned file to a file that has already been scanned (it monitors what the scanner is doing!).
I have since found information that indicates that Malwarebytes can detect and destroy the virus, however in my case it was too late to try by the time I found out as I had already re-formatted and resorted to recovery disks and backups.
The rating below reflects my personal experience with Trend. It is even possible that had the virus not blocked the updates that Trend may have detected and prevented this version of the virus from damaging my system.
My Rating Of Trend Titanium Anti Virus
Trend Micro Maximum Security (5 User - Best Value)
Anti Viruses Compared
McAfee Total Protection 2015
3 PCs [Online Code]
Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2015
3 User, 1 Year
ESET NOD32 Antivirus 2015
Trend Micro Antivirus+ Security 2015
Norton Internet Security 2015
My Experiences In Using The Different Anti Viruses
I have used all of the above anti virus products and Trend is far the easiest to use and has the least affect on your computers speed. Norton used to be the best for catching all viruses, but it missed this one, and it is the program that will most slow your PC.
Kaspersky failed to detect several malware issue that Trend picked up on my PC it also failed to find the FakeMS Trojan.
ESET is much more expensive and will also slow your PC. I did not try it this time, but have not had good experiences with it in the past.
I have used McAfee in the past and used to like it, however it is really hard to remove from your computer once it is installed and it also slows your computer way more than Trend does.
Trend has utilities to speed up your computer and protects personal data as well as having parental controls. It comes with real time protection and you can easily program it to run while you are not using your PC.
WinZip System Utilities Suite Hands On
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Trend Micro Plus Anti Virus
This is the best way to buy an anti virus for families. This pack covers 3 users, be aware that the annual subscription starts from the first install not from the date it is placed on each machine (i.e. you pay for all three from the date of first install.)
A suite of utilities that also includes virus and malware scans. It is great value as it includes Driver updating, disk cleaning, duplicate file detector, registry updater, and optimizers etc. Just be careful that machines with system specific drivers could be updated wrongly and may need the manufacturers drivers.