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Virgin Digital Help Virus Guide: ZeroAccess Virus

Viruses come in a range of shapes and sizes. Some are fairly benign – they’ll pop ads up, make your computer run slowly and not much else. Some, however, you really don’t want to mess with. The ZeroAccess virus is one of them. 

(Image: Precise Security)

If you’re unlucky enough to fall foul of ZeroAccess, you may experience a slow computer, files that won’t open, regular disconnections from the internet, corrupted files and drivers and worse. 

As with other viruses, you can pick up the ZeroAccess virus from just about anywhere. Watching videos online, downloading P2P files, clicking on banner ads that you don’t trust – even with common sense, we can all be unlucky. A few steps to follow to keep as safe as possible are:

  • Avoid downloading software from torrent and peer-to-peer programs 
  • Keep your antivirus updated 
  • Refrain from answering random online surveys 
  • Delete temporary files 
  • Do not open suspicious emails that have attachments

If you have followed all of this steps and have still been unlucky enough to be lumbered with ZeroAccess, call in the experts. In the long run, you’ll be happy you did. 

Virgin Digital Help Virus Guide: Twitter Spam

Are you a tweeter? Do you love the constant, immediate stream of information to which you have access 24 hours a day? If so, you may have been followed by some accounts that seem unusual. They may have no bio, they may just tweet links constantly. They may even tweet completely incomprehensible, baffling nonsense (though a lot of normal accounts do this too). 

These accounts are Spambots. They are created with the intention of luring you into clicking the links they tweet out, which then take you to scam sites or worse, malware. 

If you’re followed by one of these accounts, Twitter has a ‘block and report for spam’ feature that you should click immediately to prevent other users from being tricked. 

Never, under any circumstances, click a link you don’t trust on Twitter. Even a user who you do trust could have been hacked, meaning they send out links without their knowledge. Always ensure you keep your mobile antivirus updated, just in case. 

If you do click one of these links, the consequences can be pretty bad. You’ll immediately lose your social credibility, which is bad enough, but you could also find that malware gets onto your phone, stealing your details, adding charges to your phone bill and more. 

Twitter is fun, but make sure you stay safe! 

VDH Virus Guide: Digital Currency

The internet carries its own currencies. Zynga Coins, Facebook Credits and XBOX Points are all online equivalents of cold hard cash that can be used to buy virtual goods, enhancing gaming, social networking and a bundle of other activities that require some sort of monetary outlay to be made complete. 

Well, you probably don’t need us to tell you that exchanging cash online is fraught with danger. If you buy any of the above – or the more anonymous Bitcoins – you should be vigilant at all times. As with anywhere money is exchanged, thieves are ready and willing to dip into your pocket. 

The modus operandi of our online currency thief is simple. A Trojan virus is added to your computer when you download some seemingly innocuous software. That Trojan, over time, mines your Bitcoins – for example – account, slowly taking currency here and there, delivering it back to the creator of the virus without them having to do a thing. 

This really hammers home the fact that we all must be careful when downloading anything. If you don’t know or trust the source, avoid it. Trojans can be completely symptomless, working away in the background while you are blissfully unaware. 

In order to stay safe:

  • Ensure you understand how the currency works and the possible implications should your digital wallet be a target for cybercriminals. 
  • Do not use your Bitcoins address if your account has been compromised. 
  • Keep active tabs on your digital purse. 
  • Stay away from phishing emails and security updates you haven’t specifically sought out to download.

If you get caught out, you can start to lose real currency, and cybercriminals will have access to your personal information, meaning things could get a lot worse. 

The VDH Virus Guide: Ukash Metropolitan Police Virus

An online threat for our UK readers here, the Ukash Metropolitan Police Virus. This is a particularly nasty virus for your computer to contract, as it prevents you from accessing anything, telling you that you will only be allowed to access your files and programs again once you have entered a code for payment of £100 (the amount may vary). 

Image: Spyware Removal News

The virus will prevent you from opening Admin Tools, so you can’t do anything about it. Obviously this can be a scary ordeal, as you risk losing everything from your hard drive. This fear is how the virus works, scaring those who don’t know how to remove it into paying for their freedom. If you’re unlucky enough to be hit with the Ukash Metropolitan Police Virus, do not pay a penny. Do not enter any bank details at all. 

There are steps you can take to keep your computer safe. They include:

  • Avoid downloading software from torrent and peer-to-peer programs
  • Keep your antivirus updated
  • Refrain from answering random online surveys
  • Delete temporary files
  • Do not open suspicious emails that have attachments

These should keep you safe from most nasties. If you don’t deal with this particular virus, you risk having all of your .exe files corrupted, meaning nothing will open. It may also disconnect the PC from the internet, meaning you are unable to get help. 

If you think you’ve been hit by this scam, call in the professionals to get it removed as quickly as possible. As always, vigilance is the strongest weapon in your arsenal, so always keep an eye out and ensure that your computer is fully protected. 

The VDH Virus Guide – Rogue AV: Windows Protection Unit

Using the internet can be littered with risks. Malware, phishing scams, viruses and a plethora of other nasties that can threaten your system and personal information. Most people know that some kind of protection is necessary – but what happens when a wolf in sheep’s clothing arrives offering just that?

(Image: Trojan Killer)

Rogue Antivirus is just that. It pretends to be helping, all the while infecting your computer with malware that can lead to serious damage. The Windows Protection Unit rogue AV masquerades as an antivirus program created by Microsoft to protect your system from malware. It will be presented in a pop up that will ask you to register and purchase the product. Don’t. 

Generally, a rule of thumb is that if something pops up asking you for payment details, avoid. Other ways to safeguard yourself from Rogue AV are:

  • Avoiding downloading software from torrent or peer-to-peer programs
  • Keeping your trusted antivirus update (Microsoft Security Essentials or AVG, for example)
  • Refraining from filling out random online surveys (answer this for a free iPad!)
  • Deleting your temporary files
  • Refraining from opening suspicious emails that have attachments

If you don’t take these necessary precautions, you could end up with a completely wrecked device. This virus will corrupt internet settings, .exe files and your .dll drivers file, rendering your computer useless. 

If you’ve fallen foul of the Windows Protection Unit Rogue AV and don’t feel up to the task of removing it, don’t panic. Call an expert and ask them to guide you through the process. 

Keep safe everyone!

We’ve received a clue!

We’re getting closer to the truth, thanks to all your expert help. We really couldn’t do it without you - so thanks.  We’ve just received the following clue from the thief, sent over email.  It’s a piece of Richard’s diary, but we need your assistance deciphering the code. Can you help us? If you’ve got the answer, head over to Facebook and visit our app - kindly designed by our in house technicians so we can work together and catch the rogue. 

Richard’s diary has gone missing!

Oh no! We’ve just had reports from Virgin Head Office that Richard Branson’s diary has been stolen! We can only imagine what must be going through his head right now - all his business secrets, Facebook logins, private memories, stolen by some crook!

We need your help in order to be able to find the culprit, and to make sure they’re punished! Keep your eyes on our Facebook page throughout today - we’ve heard that the thief might post some clues, so we’d be very grateful if you could be our eyes and ears. Take a look at what Richard has to say:

Together we’ll find this rascal!

VDH Virus Guide

Introduction to Virus Guide

At VDH we receive an awful lot of requests for help. This covers all sorts of areas, from setting up new computers to recovering deleted files. However, one issue crops up again and again for people in need of our expert assistance: computer virus prevention and cure.

It is for this reason that we’ve written the VDH Virus Guide, the first in a series of guides that we’ll be publishing to help tech users come to grips with their devices and avoid any pitfalls that come hand in hand with their usage.

The VDH Virus Guide will cover common issues, including:

  •          Rogue Antivirus
  •          iGoogle page redirection
  •          Facebook clickjacking
  •          QR Codes
  •          Digital currency
  •          Fake apps on Google Play
  •          Pharmacy discount sites
  •          Twitter spam
  •          Zero Access Virus

Each week, we’ll be posting new sections of the guide for you to refer to whenever you have problems with malware or viruses on your computer, so stay tuned.

If you have any additional questions, or areas you think we should cover, just let us know over on Twitter or Facebook. Thanks!

Summer is here!

The sun has got his hat on! In this weather, you want to get out of the house, hit the beach, relax in the park, dance the night away at festivals and generally shake off all of the remaining winter blues. Getting out into the sun presents a few extra challenges with your tech. The beach, for example,  is full of hazards for your camera, tablet or MP3 player. Sea, sand and sun may be great for you, but they aren’t necessarily the best for your treasured gadgets. 

Below, we’ve listed a few of our favourite pieces of summer tech to make your time in the sun even better. Enjoy!


Waterproof camera 

When you’re by the beach, in the park or by the pool, you want your camera at the ready so you can look back on winter and remember just how fun summer is. However, where there’s water, there’s danger for your gadgets. 

The Olympus TG-310 removes this danger. Waterproof to a depth of 3m,  able to take a drop of 1.5m and made to withstand temperatures as low as -10c, the TG-310 is your perfect poolside companion. 

Available for around £100, it has 14 megapixels, a 3.6x optical zoom and all sorts of effects to play with. A great buy for summer. 

The X-Mini II Portable Speaker

While the portable speaker market is a crowded one, we’re constantly amazed by the X-Mini II. In terms of price it can’t really be touched. £13-£20 will buy you a speaker that charges by USB, lasts for hours, has surprisingly good bass and is great for playing music in the park. 

Where the X-Mini II gets even better is its ability to daisychain. Buy two or more of the speakers and you can hook them up, effectively doubling the volume without compromising on sound quality. 

Yes, there are better quality speakers out there – though the build of the X-Mini II is very solid – however for this money you’d be mad to miss it. 

Kindle 3

The Kindle is perhaps an obvious choice here, but it’s not just one of our favourite pieces of summer kit, it’s one of our favourites year-round. The £89 version will give you a 6” screen, let you store around 1,400 books at any one time and a full battery charge will last up to a month. 

The fact that you don’t need to cram your suitcase with books for the beach means the Kindle is ideal for taking on holiday, and the crystal clear E Ink display is impervious to glare from the sun, meaning you can read your Kindle in all conditions. 

Solio Universal solar charger

If you’re out in the great outdoors for a whole day, you’re unlikely to see any power outlets. This means your phone, MP3 player or camera batteries are more than likely to die on you, leaving you without music, photos or – more seriously – any means to call anyone in an emergency. 

In steps the Solio Universal solar charger. Its award winning design makes it light enough to carry around with you anywhere, it’s durable, weather resistant and an hour of sunshine will give you an hour’s worth of playback or ten minutes of talk time. You’ll never need to worry about your battery letting you down again. 

Life without Richard Branson

Our friends over at Virgin shared this great Forbes infographic recently, and we thought we’d pass it on to you. It’s an illustration of a few of the great things Richard Branson’s been up to over the years, and a glimpse at what life would have been like without him.

In addition, Richard recently took part in Ask Richard, an opportunity for anyone to ask him pretty much anything theyliked. Topics covered everything from business to Richard’s favourite meal, and were asked across Twitter, Google+ and on a Google Hangout.

You can view the questions, answers and video from Ask Richard here.