General Question

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Have you ever been the victim of a computer virus?

Asked by Hawaii_Jake (37378points) December 14th, 2023

I have never had one on a personal computer or a work one. I’ve been using some form of a personal computer for more than 30 years.

I’ve always had anti-virus software and a few years ago went to the free versions of the software. My best friend is a computer whiz and uses no anti-virus software. He knows what to do if infected. I don’t.

Have you ever been attacked by a virus? What were the results?

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20 Answers

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

A jelly downloaded a D&D rulebook for me on the “tyrants of the abyss”, and the virus eliminated all of my saved passwords. I was able to read the whole book, and It was worth it. As the book would have cost $1,600 on Amazon.

The book answered some of my deep questions about reality, and religion.

Lightlyseared's avatar

Remember both windows and Mac OS have very capable built in antivirus/security software so the statement “uses no anti-virus software” is probably false. Most web browsers are very good at not letting you download anything dodgy in the first place and most malware these days is trying to avoid detection for as long as so possible so are not as obvious as say 15–20 years ago.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yeah. 20 years ago. Because my husband would use my computer at our shop and he’d go to all kinds of random sites. Yeah. Screwed up my computer bad.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Yes, a couple years ago. First rule: don’t freak out. Second rule: research the problem (on another machine)

I rebooted into Safe Mode (I don’t know if that’s a thing any more) and was able to run a virus remover. Rebooted, and all was well.

My antivirus software now will occasionally detect an incoming virus and kill it – I haven’t been victimized by one, like I said, for at least 4 years.

KRD's avatar

I am one. I didn’t pay attention to what I was downloading and got a browser virus.

chyna's avatar

Yes! I had been laid off from my job and was applying for every job I could find when a black screen came up and red letters saying I had a virus. I was soooo mad. I was unemployed and on a very fixed income and had to spend the money to have my computer fixed.

smudges's avatar

OMG I don’t want to talk about it. Seriously, I’ve lost so much stuff on several occasions that I’d saved that it hurts my heart. Pictures, stories, letters…you name it.

Entropy's avatar

Yes. I got a REAL bad one at one point. Had to pretty much format C and reinstall everything. It was one of those that even if you got rid of it, it was reinstalling itself when a system DLL loaded. Very clever.

Mind you, this was a long time ago. It’s much harder and much less common for viruses that are just destructive to attack home PCs now. When you do, there’s usually a monetary angle like ransomware. But most ransomware attacks go after organizations and companies because that’s where the money is. Ransomware attacks against private individuals is low reward. I’m not saying it never happens, but only the stupid criminals are doing it.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, one time I accidentally wiped out my own operating system. Talk about a disaster.

smudges's avatar

Get this…the first time I had a computer I was paranoid so I’d hide my own folders in various folders in C!! Can we all say “DUHHH!” It’s a miracle that thing even worked!

Dutchess_III's avatar

^^^ In the early 2000s I learned you could hide entire Word documents in a single letter of an email. The recipient would be clueless. Don’t know if you still can.

Zaku's avatar

Yes, a few times, the most recent about 2011 or so.

The results depend on the virus, but are typically that you get programs running on your computer doing crap you don’t want, and you need to go through various steps to eradicate it all, often using a variety of 3rd party virus removal tools, rebootings, etc.

Often they will set up your computer to automatically re-install themselves, and they may infect some of your (typically randomly selected) files and/or programs with viruses so that if you use those, you’ll get infected again, which may mean you may lose some of those files.

They may also try to find some of your personal info to abuse.

In a couple of cases, people have turned my computers into download locations for sharing some of their files. That’s more likely to happen if you’re running a server or your own web site (or if you have a Wordpress web page on some other server, which gets raided, not generally by a virus on your own computer).

flutherother's avatar

My PC was infected with a series of viruses in 2003, 2004 and 2005 with names like lovsan or bispyB. None caused any damage to my PC but I had to delete some files to be safe. Since installing AVG anti-virus software I have had no trouble at all.

seawulf575's avatar

Yes, years ago. The kids kept downloading all sorts of them unwittingly. I kept telling them to stop going to one particular website and downloading things and they kept doing it. I had a variety of viruses I had to deal with. Most were fairly easily removed. But I had one that was just a booger. It kept messing with the computer, screwing up program after program. If I tried running a virus-scan/clean program, the computer would reboot right in the middle of it. I ended up going file by file in my computer to find where this silly thing was and I did. I just couldn’t do anything about it. It was definitely protecting itself. I knew I had found the offending program when it kept rebooting the computer if I even put the cursor over the icon of the file it was in. It wouldn’t let me do anything that would be able to move it. Even starting the computer in safe mode didn’t help. I ended up reformatting the hard drive to get rid of it. Pain the butt, but it worked. After that I told the kids that if I found that anyone had gone to the forbidden website again I would disconnect the computer and put it in the closet.

jca2's avatar

Twice, both over 15 years ago. I’m very careful now about what I do on the computer and what sites I go to (https, etc.). I don’t click on things like ads and pop ups. I don’t even know what I did both of those times to get the virus, and both times it was not a terrible fix, but it did cost me a little money (once I went with a local service and the other time I used a neighbor who was a computer guy).

smudges's avatar

@seawulf575 Wow! That sounds like a nightmare!!

Blackwater_Park's avatar

I had the cool little virus that caused cartoon animals to dance around randomly in Windows 3.1 back in the ‘90s at work. I need to look it up, it had to be famous. It infected the whole network at the time. It did nothing malicious that I can recall, but it forced them into upgrading to Win95 if I remember correctly. In a way, I owe my career choice to that virus. The upgrade got me a newly created position in engineering, updating drawings which put me on that college path.

I did get one in the early days of file sharing, I think it was a Kazaa that people were using at the time. Pretty sure it erased the boot sector. No biggie, I think this was the early Windows “me” days and it was so unstable you had to reload Windows from scratch regularly anyway

Blackwater_Park's avatar

I must have remembered that completely wrong. Took some time to find it, but it was a little sheep and it was a “pet” in windows 95. Someone must have just gone around and installed it everywhere. The virus that got the Win 3.1 machines may have been more serious.

KRD's avatar

@seawulf575 it is scary to see that viruses are defending themselves. I had a virus that had a password you needed to enter before you could uninstall it. I needed my cousin who knows all about computers to delete it. Glad to hear you got rid of that virus.

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