Double Pack Indie Giveaway: Your Worst Virus Ordeal

Thanks to the fine gents at Misfits Attic and Almost Human Games who were kind enough to provide TPG with contest codes for this promotion.  We are giving away three (3) codes each for A Virus Named Tom and Legends of Grimrock.  To enter, tell us about a time when you, or someone you know, got a nasty virus which crippled a PC.  Did you go to extreme measures to conquer the virus?  Did you spend countless hours trying to clean the system only to admit defeat and have to reformat?  We want to know!  Your story could net you a copy of both games.

Rules and details are inside.

The Rules:

  • No Profanity
  • One entry, per person, per e-mail address, per IP
  • 48 Hours Only
  • Post your first name and last initial
  • Post a story about a virus you had to deal with

This contest will has now concluded.  Thanks for everyone who participated.   Two winners are: Tom, Przemyslaw and Efe Cinar.

28 thoughts on “Double Pack Indie Giveaway: Your Worst Virus Ordeal

  1. The only virus that made me almost cry was CIH (aka Chernobyl). It was 1999, and I had been reading a PC gaming mag named CDOyun, which was giving away demo CD’s every month. And one of the CD’s was infected with CIH. I still don’t know how it did it, but it completely killed my computer, I remember that it crashed my motherboard’s BIOS and unfortunately I didn’t know much about hardware stuff back then. So it was a sad goodbye to my Pentium 166 MMX computer :(, I had to buy another PC. The new one has Pentium 3 and 3dfx GPU (Voodoo 3 I guess), and with that PC I beat several FPS, CRPG’s and adventures, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to enjoy PC gaming like I enjoyed with that Pentium 3. So I think I should thank to CIH and its (Ukranian?) coder. Thank you comrade! 😀

    Also I’ve never really had a big virus/trojan/malware problem since CIH.

    Thanks for the giveaway TPG!

    • Thanks for sharing. I got into PC gaming right about that time as well. Back when in was much better to get demos on CD rather than spending hours downloading. Until 2002, my best internet speed was 24.4. That was on a good day.

      • I was also using 33.6k, it was almost impossible to download bigger demos. I remember downloading Quake 3 demo took a day! Just checked its size and saw it was actually “only” 46.64MB 😀
        Demo CD’s were awesome, too bad CIH infected my PC through one of those CD’s instead of Internet.

  2. Fortunately , I have no virus yet. But I have experienced issue by virus. One day I have visted customer’s company, I have found virus here ! Virus spread many many costomer’s PCs… WTF

  3. I had a very nasty virus on laptop one time. I have no idea where it came from but it was one of the worst I’ve ever heard of. What it did was it would prevent programs from accessing the internet after they installed an update. You can imagine my horror as I, a computer illiterate at the time, watched browsers, steam, itunes and anti-virus programs lose the ability to connect to the internet. This all took place over a period of weeks as each program attempted to update itself, it went offline. I eventually got a friend to fix it, he said it was one of the most persistent viruses he had encountered.

    and at the end of day the laptop died a month later…monitor failure.

  4. One time, my mom asked me to “fix” her laptop. I knew there probably weren’t any viruses because I had set it up with MSE, auto-updates etc. But there was just so much bloatware. The taskbar was full of crap running in the background. Startup was clogged up with all kinds of stuff. There were toolbars all over the desktop, browser everywhere. No wonder the system was ridiculously slow. I kinda wondered if the laptop was even part of some botnet somewhere. Anyway, I started by uninstalling everything I thought was unnecessary, but even that was annoying since the buggers have all sorts of “do you really want to uninstall? why are you doing this to me? ok fine fill out this survey” popups, and they left so much junk in the registry too. At some point I considered copying some of the data to a flash drive and then wiping everything for a fresh OS, but I decided that there was no shortcut for good computer habits, and it was just bound to get cluttered up again anyway. I think I’ll get my mom a tablet instead, it’s more suitable.

  5. Long time ago, when my mother did not use her PC too often, somehow she turned off the anti-virus software and left the PC alone. My father went there, and started to surf on the Internet.
    Some days later my mother told me that, her computer is too slow and I need to do something with that. I’ve started to find out what’s going on, and I’ve checked the browser log, and there was a lot of “mature content” website (you know what I mean). Then I was sure, the virus came from there. I don’t know what virus was this, but I had to reinstall the operating system, because I can’t re-enable the anti-virus software…
    Anyway… I did not tell to my mother, where that virus came from. 🙂

  6. My first Internet day in my home.. I got Virus from Porn site.. :/ 😀 Virus attack Norton after reinstall windows. No more Porn Site! XD

  7. Back in 1993 (as I can remember) I just recently got my first PC (386 SX-33 with 1 MB RAM). I ordered some games (5 1/4 disks) from a shop and one of them was Tron. Unfortunately it was infected with Michelangelo virus. My PC just stopped working, so we had to call for an expert. It took 2+ hours and some glasses of wine, but my machine was saved.

    • Wow. The Michelangelo Virus. Now that is a trip in the Wayback Machine for me. The first virus I can remember was Stoned Virus, but I was only 10 years old and not really good with computers at that time. Did you get a refund or replacement disks?

      • No, the shop did not admit that the disk was infected, so I just threw it away and never ordered anything from them again.

    • I used to have a few diskette that is used to collect viruses, either by copying the virus into it or access it from infected system. Then I would label the virus. kinda fun, just boot up with dos and run the infected exe to see the result. And don’t forget to uplug the hdd first. Virus was so simple in the dos days.

  8. I have a virus, in my laptop, after my father use it to surf internet. NOD32 say, explorer.exe is infected, and cannot remove, or fix. The laptop is worked, but one day, it not start. Need a full reinstall.

  9. I think it is around 2004, one of my colleagues complained that she had problem accessing the internet and slowdown on her pc. I went over and had a look, after a while found the culprit. It is a chinese virus that latch to the network/winsock on winxp. All the search result returns with chinese forums which I can’t read unfortunately. Even the antivirus recommended is some chinese antivirus. That is probably the worse one I had that I can’t clean. Most free antivirus (my ex-company uses free antivirus) doesn’t even detect the virus. I even tried resetting the winxp networking drivers (with a winsockfix) that removed the virus but the pc no longer able to access the internet. In the end after half a day of fiddling the pc was reformatted and she was given warning not to surf chinese website. That effort wasted one full day at work. It is probably not worth troubleshooting, might as well go for a re-install as the pc had all the data backed up.

  10. It was long time ago, around late 80s when I had my first and the favourite one PC, which was ZX Spectrum (to be precise a clone, called Timex). Believe it or not, it’s main data storage were audio tapes. Just after a couple of years I’ve bought an FDD for it. In my country it was the time of popularity of Amiga as a personal computer, and soon the PC as we know it now, back then called simply IBM. I was reading some computer magazines, and from them I’ve got my awareness of viruses for “serious” computers.

    So, one day, being at the computer market (which was organized in another city, once a week at Saturday BTW) I’ve heard of the virus created especially for my beloved ZX Spectrum and it’s FDD. Oh glory oh joy, oh delightful day!!! I could have a virus like the ones, on big, serious computers. I’ve immediately bought an infected diskette (yes! You understood me well, I’ve paid for a possibility of being infected!), another one, with the cure (virus’s developer was a pro, he made the anti virus as well) and went home to enjoy technology (an hour long trip).
    The virus itself was rather simple, and not really malicious. After all it wasn’t meant to destroy. It was infecting the system loaded in disk drive RAM, and for every diskette that was inserted in the drive afterwards, it was cloning, adding a copy of itself to each data file. Then everything was working ok, but after some executions of a game (sometimes immediately, sometimes after 5, or 10 times), virus was taking control, and was displaying some funny phrase, like “you are infected, you are doomed” instead of running the game. Of course I was not silly. After infecting the first game (a backup made especially for the test), I’ve tried if the anti virus can cure it completely. And surely it did, as I’ve said, it’s creator was a pro.

    Then it was real fun to infect my games, one after another, and feel a thrill whether it run once more time or not. I have not so many games at that time, just around 20 diskettes, and there were no mercy, in the infecting spree I’ve contaminated everything that was in my range. But every fun has it’s end, even and excellent, like that one. I went to sleep and in Sunday morning I’ve started curing my diskettes one after another. Well, I was predicting that it is how my Sunday morning will look like, but the reality turned of to be different a bit. Because after I’ve put an anti virus diskette in a drive, I was blasted with a: “you are infected, you are doomed” phrase. Time has stopped, and re-winded in my mind. Just to the very moment that I’ve infected first game, and then, without resetting infected disk drive, put an anti virus diskette into it.

    So I was deprived of my computer for a week (I haven’t informed my parents of my deeds of course, so you can just image their astonishment when I was not playing at all for the whole week) and on Saturday I was rushing to the computer market at it’s starting hours. I’ve bought another copy of anti virus from another seller (of course with an infected diskette, as I was ashamed to admit that I need only a cure), quickly went home, and fixed all my games.
    Since then, on all my big PCs I always have good (at least I hope it is good) anti virus software and have never again problems with viruses.

    • Thank you.
      This is a nice, punny closure to my story. I will finally have a Virus on my PC after all those years :-).

  11. A customer dropped in their machine late Thursday afternoon claiming they needed it back first thing Friday morning.. Now normally this is where we would all have a good ol’ frown (the staff at the firm I worked at) and say ‘no sorry we don’t do/can’t make those kinds of promises’ however this was a pretty revered customer who worked for one of our biggest clients so we decided to take it as a challenge and simply said “we’ll do our best.”

    I took it in the back, booted the thing up.. well it actually took about 3 minutes to get to login so from there it was pretty obvious it wasn’t in the best shape, then another 6 or so minutes till the activity had finally ceased and I was at the desktop. Greeted by a wallpaper completely blanketed in shortcuts for ‘software’ that 4 IT professionals and myself (heh) had never seen or heard of before, not to mention the taskbar was also awash with unknown icons and constantly flashing notifications.

    At this point we just figured it was full of bloatware and we could do a quick removal/clean up job. So first of all I take a look at the task manager, it was showing 100+ processes (which is never a great sign ha), I tried ending some tasks for the sake of it and the majority just immediately restarted, thus ensuring the recovery would be painfully slow for this machine. I decided to go through the motions regardless and attempt to uninstall some of the programs, well that didn’t work out as they got reinstalled or replaced pretty much instantly. Then I tried removing registry values and.. no effect whatsoever!

    I did the proven thing at this point and rebooted in safe mode, then got to work on removing the applications and toolbars, gutting the registry & disabling services. Having done about as much as I could during that session I rebooted normally to see what progress I’d made and to download some AV/malware removal tools. This is when I noticed there was no outbound connection and that in the background a fresh set of processes had popped up taking 99% cpu usage – Of course I wasn’t very happy about this..

    There I was again booting in safe mode and went through the same process yet again, however this time I removed every single service which wasn’t essential for booting (similar to the safe mode boot up process). I grabbed my trusty usb of many tools, popped it in and got to work scanning and cleaning the system, fixing the registry, removing malware and installing some proper AV/firewall. By the time the usb of many tools had done it’s job actually so had I as my shift had finished, so eager to call it a day and go home I rebooted quickly for what I had hoped would be the last time. Well as soon as I reached the desktop the AVs were going nuts claiming dozens of system files/required services were infected, which explained why no matter what I did the malware was able to reproduce itself quite easily. I’d had enough now and knew there was no way it would recover from that kind of infection.

    So what did I do? .. Well I took the damn thing home that night and worked on it – Backup, format, fresh install, new AV/security, restore, the lot! You might be asking, ‘well why didn’t you just do that in the first place?’ Well funnily enough because I was determined to have it done in time for when the customer required it back and all the staff figured that would be the quickest result at the time as we have to take backup/format/restore jobs very seriously especially with business customers, as their business/personal files could be infected and potentially infect others and the network, not to mention potentially cost them money for being without their files/machines. It all worked out in the end though and she was happy, I didn’t get paid extra though..

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