WARNING! There is a NASTY computer virus going around that is capable of accessing your passwords, email addresses and maybe even your financial information!
I received an email from a relative a couple weeks ago that had the person's name as the sender but the email itself only had one single clickable link. Since I "assumed" that it was a trustworthy source (family) I clicked on it and it took me to some website that I had no interest in.
After I opened it I noticed that the person's email address was slightly different than it was before. I just assumed that they'd changed their email address because they'd done it 3-4 times before.
Over the next couple weeks my computer started dragging and getting slower. I also started receiving several emails from Facebook friends that I know for a fact don't have my primary email address! Many of these encourage you to "forward to all your friends!"
My wife even had three of these types of messages in her inbox that were "supposedly" from me! Thank goodness she thought they looked suspicious and didn't open them!
These viruses are what are called "Generic" Trojans. That means that they're not easily identified by antivirus software. I used SEVERAL different extremely powerful antivirus programs to try to cure this thing, but only one even picked it up (Stop Sign). However, even though the software said that it had "cured it", it was deeply rooted into my files and simply renewed itself everytime I rebooted my computer.
I even had a friend that's really good at this kind of stuff go through all of the usual file locations where viruses are known to hide, but he couldn't find anything recognizable.
This is really BAD! I finally had to contact Microsoft support and pay them $100.00 to repair my system. They took manual control of my PC and cleaned every file I had, but it took hours.
If this happens to you too you'll not only need to have your system cleaned, but you'll also need to delete all files from any eternal hard drives, online backups, etc and scan any files you've burned onto DVD/CD before you download it to your computer again. Even then there's no guarantee that your antivirus will pick it up, so be VERY careful!
Once again, this virus is BAD! Please share with everyone you know and do NOT open any links in any emails that you're not 100% sure about. If you question an email from a friend or family member you should give them a call first to make sure that it's legit before opening the files, clicking the link, etc.
You've been warned!