The virus is a nasty piece of work called Vundo. It's a trojan that installs adware on your computer, so any time I was online, a fake full-screen browser window would pop up every 5 minutes or so with ads for dirtbikes or vacations or, ironically, antivirus software (probably scams). My antivirus didn't catch it in time, and the virus also disabled my Windows Security Updates.
I was furious. I try to be really careful about how I conduct myself online. I don't click ad or banner links, ever, or any link that looks sketchy. I have a great spam filter. I have antivirus software and I scan and update regularly. I have a firewall. But it didn't help this time. And if it's not safe for me to read news articles online, what the hell can I do?
My virus scanner didn't find any problems, and AdAware did, but couldn't do anything. I ran an online scan through Microsoft, which detected and identified the virus (or at least part of it), but wasn't able to do anything about it. It also helpfully informed me that I should get antivirus software, get behind a firewall, get a spam filter, and don't click on internet links.
Yes, I will probably be much safer if I just don't go online at all.
There was an update for my antivirus the next day, and it detected the virus after that, but it could only quarantine a few of the files. The main problem is that the virus installed itself all over my computer, it's good at hiding itself, and it can't be deleted by normal means.
So I've been communicating with some volunteer programmers on the Atribune forums for the last week, extricating (exorcising?) the files bit by bit. I also downloaded Firefox, which I like. I've scrubbed enough of the virus out that the adware is gone, but my security updates are still shot. The thread is here for anyone interested.
I'm not seeking advice. I just wanted to rage. I feel so damn violated, and I'm pissed that it happened when I was trying so hard to be responsible.