Thursday, April 05, 2012


A post that has nothing to do with high school mascots or condoms, and only a little to do with dead civilizations.

Last week I was grabbing a whack of zombie papercraft for my final photography assignment. Somewhere in all that I accidentally downloaded a trojan. Specifically the SMART HDD malware.  This insidious piece of software creates the glorious illusion of a hard drive failure by throwing up a bunch of real-sounding error messages, wiping out your desktop, blanking out your start menu, hiding entire drives and making them read-only, preventing anti-malware software from running, and restarting your machine.

Oh, and then it throws up a believable Microsoft-like taskbar bubble that warns you of problems, and launches a legit-looking analytics and recovery program.

It had me fooled for a second.

Except a physical scan of 120GB of space isn't that fast.

And the "failed" drive is a solid-state drive, which wouldn't be subject to typical drive failures. Especially not as epic as was being put forth.

And my data drive is a mirrored RAID, so I know I wouldn't lose everything.

And my Windows is set up to display hidden files, so I could still see them, except they were all faded-like.

And the Intel drive monitor was still running and everything was green.

And after it "scans" it informs you that you only have the trial version of this software you've never seen before and you can upgrade to the full one that fixes things.

In short... no way it was actually a drive failure.

So the search began to figure out how to get this piece of crap off my machine. Luckily, I have a Macbook and phone nearby that both give me access to the Interwebs.

Solutions were long and complicated... do this, then this, run a sub-user cmd prompt, get this program... cripes.

So fuck that. I reset, restarted in Safe Mode, disabled the program startup in the registry (it's a series of random letters), and restarted normally. No more annoying "failed drive!" popups. Run a couple anti-malware programs and remove this crap.

Except my desktop and start menu were still blank, and all my files still hidden and read-only.

Hey wait... system restore is still on.  2 days prior image returned... everything looks normal. Files still marked as hidden and read-only. Damn.

Mass attribute change, knowing it might cause a few minor problems, but I could live with that.

But there are still lingering problems. Thunderbird keeps redownloading mail I've already grabbed. Every 5 minutes.  Some games don't work because Securerom got fucked (there's irony in there somewhere).  So now comes the fun task of reinstalling crap that don't work and hoping that things like config files and saved games are kept.

I don't even know how it was delivered. Since all I was grabbing was PDFs and JPEGs.

Stupid fucking trojan.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I downloaded that about a year ago. After reading endless posts about how to get rid of it my friend told me to grab my files, put them through Microsoft Windows Security Essentials and Malwarebytes, then nuke the drive from orbit.

It's the only way to be sure.