I'll try to keep this as brief, yet thorough as possible. Please bear with me, I'm not a computer whiz by any means. I've done what I can to fix my problem, and now I'm reaching out for help.
Thanks in advance for reading...here goes.
A few nights ago, I was browsing the web. My computer was fine, AVG was running, and everything seemed to be working as it should've been. I was looking for a specific article, so I typed my search into Google. I skimmed through the first few results, and happened upon a link that I thought I was looking for...so I clicked and......
That's when it started. I knew it when I saw it. It's happened to me before. I caught just a glimpse of this new site I had ventured to before I hastily X'd out of Firefox completely. Ridden with pop up messages and flashing, blinking red boxes. I didn't read a word of any of it. I was scared of it. I wish now that I had read something...if I knew it would probably be beneficial to me now.
From there on out, my internet was officially hijacked. Some regular websites worked just fine. Google was fine. However, any time I did a Google search for ANYTHING at all, the resulting webpages redirected me to false advert sites. And anytime I tried to, say, go to Malwarebyte's website, it either wouldn't load (completely blank, white screen), or would just take me to yet another false, generic shopping website. To me, it seems like it just knows when you're looking for something to try and get rid of it with. Is that a crazy idea? Either way, I knew I was in trouble.
AVG would no longer update, or properly run (I assumed due to the fact that their website was obscured by this...whatever it is), it would not scan, and my anti-Malware (Malwarebyte's) wouldn't run, period. Other than that, my computer was seemingly unaffected. It isn't slow, still opens other files and programs, I'm not getting ANY annoying task bar popups, and my desktop background hasn't been changed (like it was a few months ago when I was struck by the XP antivirus 2008 or whatever it was called.) By the way, I'm using Windows XP on the infected computer.
In fact, the only inclination that I have AT ALL that it is possibly Antivirus 360, is because every now and then, out of nowhere, I get the infamous error popup message stating that my 'computer could be in danger' and that 'Antivirus 360 will perform a 100% FREE scan for viruses, worms, malware'...etc. Other than that, I would have no idea what in the world is doing this to my computer. I just don't get it...I didn't download anything, all I did was stumble across a website for 2 seconds...tops.
To be honest, I was/am at a loss.
My husband and I have scoured the internet for answers, but nothing is specific enough to the problem...that's how I ended up here. All the help offered that I've found so far is only for those who are 100% sure they are infected with Antivirus 360. Manual removal instructions aren't relevant (I've yet to find any suspicious running process related to av_360.exe or any variation), or either very, very frustrating to follow. I even stumbled upon processlibrary.com, and relentlessly searched for almost every process I had running...I had some hope. Until I got to svchost.exe, that is. The first piece of information stated that it is a VITAL and important part of Windows, and should not be messed with. The one right under it stated that it is a major risk, associated with viruses, and should be dealt with immediately. Of course, it offered a free scan to see if any errors are associated with those processes, but came with a hefty price tag...one I just can afford this close to the holidays.
How utterly and completely frustrating. I just can't fathom why there are people out there who enjoy and probably get off to producing viruses and mass-infecting innocent people worldwide. And it's even more confusing to me why when honest, innocent people reach out for assistance with these kinds of problems, only the minimal amount of 'help' is given before a price tag is shoved in our faces. I've downloaded countless anti-virus/anti-malware/anti-EVERYTHING software, and not a single one of them has been effective. Most of them won't even install properly or run at all. Not a single one is of any help unless I'm willing to pay for it. Why give people false hopes? Why offer something that is virtually MEANINGLESS to ordinary, non tech savvy people? Yeah, I'm sure a real tech geek or professional programmer would have no problem at ALL following the instructions and digging into their computer's core files. But what about me? What am I supposed to do? Why should I have to pay for a cleanup when 1.) I didn't CHOOSE for this to happen to my machine, and 2.) a virus or worm will infect you FOR FREE?!
I'm sorry, I kind of went off on a tangent for a second. Bottom line, my computer is corrupted, I know it is. I just don't know by what, or how to fix it. The antivirus 360 error popping up occasionally is the only indicator of what it might be. Any and all help is appreciated. Thanks again for reading, and God bless every one of you who take the time out of your day to help someone of lesser knowledge.