Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Vista Internet Security 2012

A couple of days ago, one of my PCs became infected with "Windows Vista Internet Security 2012". I'm not sure how it happened, but Firefox was running and hotmail was being checked - but no attachments were opened and no dubious emails were present.

Vista Internet Security 2012 installs itself on the task bar and as a startup program. Every time you attempt to access the internet or run certain programs, the dialog appears, tells you you've been infected with lots of problems and prompts you to register for the full version of the program. Your computer is unusable because even if you dismiss the box it reappears as soon as you attempt to do anything.

The machine was fully protected using up to date McAfee software, so you'd have thought this shouldn't have happened. However, McAfee did help me to get rid of the problem.

Here's how I dealt with it.

1) CTRL ALT DEL to bring up the task manager.
2) Found multiple instances of a process called "pfw", each one of which was one of the dialog boxes that had appeared on the screen. I killed them all, kept the task manager open and killed any new instances that subsequently appeared.
3) Fortunately I was able to use McAfee, so I got it to do a quick scan - this achieved nothing, so I ran a full scan. This found four problems, but was only able to delete three of them. It identifed the fourth as "corrupt-AG12SE802287FB7".
4) Stopped the computer, unplugged it from the network and restarted it.
5) Logged in as an adminstrator and rands a McAfee full scan. This found and allowed me to "quarantine" the problem item "corrupt-AG12SE802287FB7" that it had earlier been unable to disable.
6) Stopped, reconnected to network, restarted and logged in as the non adminstrator user under which the problem first appeared.
7) McAfee then reported that it had identified but was unable to delete the problem program "pfw.exe" and requested that I restart the computer.
8) Restarted and everything OK again.

See precisesecurity.com for further details of the problem

Monday, 20 June 2011

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ4 Memory Card Error

I recently dropped my Pansonic Lumix DMC-TZ4 and caused a problem whereby the camera would do nothing other than display "Memory Card Error - Please Check Card". If I removed the SDHC card from the camera, the camera worked fine and would take and display pictures using the built-in memory.

Having checked the SDHC card in another device and furthermore tried another known working card, I concluded that the camera was faulty. I then looked around to see where I could get it repaired. Not good news, I'm afraid, all I could do was send it off for an estimate which was pretty much guaranteed to be at least £75 plus courier charges.

At this point I decided that I'd rather buy a new camera than pay such fees, so I'd take a chance and open the camera up and take a peek inside. Having removed the battery, SD card and observed static precautions, I removed small screws from the base and sides of the camera and carefully prised off the back of the camera, taking care not to stretch or dislodge the ribbon cables that hold the back of the camera (including the display) to the body of the camera.

I found two PCBs sandwiched together on the side of the camera where the SDHC card is inserted. Dropping the camera had caused the connection between them to be loosened, thus meaning no signal connection to the SD card slot. I ensured that the plug and slot were aligned and squeezed the two boards together, reassembled the camera and lo and behold, one fixed camera!