Computer Crime Research Center


Computer virus: suspicious files

Date: June 27, 2007

Q A friend’s son opened a zip file from someone he’d met in a chat room – video clips.

He then received a message from that person saying that he now had access to his computer and could open files etc.

The computer is now not working correctly as they cannot use System Restore or Task Manager.
Carol Hoare

A Recovering a computer after this sort of attack is very difficult, especially when there is no hint of what software has been used to make the attack.

It is also hard to know whether files have been infected; if any remain the computer may be attacked again after you think it is safe. Always be very careful when you receive files from the internet. Run a virus scan on the file and watch out for spoof file extensions.

A normal file extension is the last three letters of a file name after a full stop, for example photo.jpg. Some hackers try to fool Windows by using two full stops and lots of spaces to obscure the change, such as ‘photo.jpg. exe’.

Although Windows will show this as a picture is it is really a program and could damage the computer. Always check the full name of a file before opening it.

Right-click on the file and select Properties to view the file type. To be on the safe side, change the folder options to display full file extensions at all times. To do so, press the Windows key and E to open Windows Explorer. From the tools menu choose Folder Options. Under View, uncheck the box marked Hide extensions for known file types.
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