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atrueidiot 10-02-2016 05:57 PM

Did Malware Infect My Entire Household - Need Help from Experts

I'm a true idiot. Let's get that out of the way. I really messed up with my computer security and there's no other way of putting it than to say that I'm a true idiot.

Putting aside my stupid actions, which I will describe below, I wish to ask knowledgeable and trained people for help in securing my home network, computers, and devices and have a slew of questions I'd like to ask on the topic and my specific situation generally. This is going to be kind of long, so I hope you'll be patient with me and realize I really do badly need help.

BACKGROUND INFO. I: I live at home with my parents and younger sister. We have Verizon Fios internet. My sister and I both own laptops. My parents own an iPAD. Parents don't have anti-virus (b/c they think you don't need it for Apple products), but my sister and I do.

A couple of months ago, I visited a popular porn site that's been known to be a cesspool of malware infected videos. I am a true idiot. Very shortly after visiting that website, my computer started running more slowly. It started off with minor decreases in speed to being totally inoperable practically. Like if I started it up right now and tried to watch a YouTube video, it would probably take 5-8 minutes (minimum) to load a video, whereas before my porn site visit a YouTube video would load and start playing at normal speed within seconds. And if I tried to play a 10 minute video, it would likely take 20-30 minutes (minimum) to fully play through the entire thing with frequent pauses throughout. Web surfing also takes forever to load pages.

Additionally, I've noticed weird stuff at the bottom left corner of my Chrome browser that wasn't there before. Every time I go to a new webpage, it will say "waiting for ______________" and list any number of weird names that aren't the target website. Often there will be 5 or more weird names that are toggled through.

Shortly after I noticed my computer slowing down, my sister's and parent's computers also had the same issue. My parent's iPAD doesn't seem to show as much decrease in speed, but there is noticeable decrease. My sister's laptop also has shown speed issues, although maybe not as bad as mine. Also, her email keeps sending out junk mail to people (me and others have noticed it and told her about it).

BACKGROUND INFO. II: My porn site visit took place in August. However, prior to that back in May, we had a power outage that caused our Verizon Fios router to reset to factory default settings. That meant it went back to a generic login name and password (that I've been told is easily searchable and cracked). Being the ultimate idiot, I did not change the settings after the outage to a more secure and personalized login name and password.

I literally only did so a few days ago after it was clear my laptop had a virus/trojan/hacker or whatever.

Therefore, anyone could have potentially hacked our network from May until late September. And remember that I also visited that porn site in August.

Why did I not change the Verizon Fios router default settings to a personalized one after the outage? I literally forgot and no one else in my family is very computer literate either. I'm the only one who knew to change things in the first place. I just gave my parents and sister the default factory settings name and password like a true idiot!

MY PROBLEM: Obviously, something is wrong with our computers in our house. They are slowed down and mine is super freaking slow.

I fear we may have been hacked via our router and/or had a virus/malware spread from my computer to the others, due to an infection from that porn site.


1.) What process should I use to secure our household computers and network?

2.) What actually happened? Is it possible that a hacker got our router name and password and then screwed around with our computers by installing malware on them?

Or, could my porn site visit have infected my personal computer with malware and then from being on the same network as my family members the malware spread to them as well? I don't see how it could have spread to my parents' computer if solely from something like email, because I don't email or connect with them in any way online. I do email back and forth with my sister, so that's a pathway of infecting her. I asked her and she also literally never emails or contacts our parents online either. Instead, she'll just walk up to them in real life and say whatever she needs to say. Anyhow, I'm still curious what happened, because it seems everyone got affected in the house.

My AV and Malware Bytes (free version) both came back negative when I ran virus searches.

3.) Our devices connected to WiFi were: 2 laptops, 1 iPAD, 1 printer, 2 chromecast units, and the Verizon Fios router itself.

Is it possible for malware to infect things like a printer, chromecast, or even a internet router themselves? I know malware usually infects computers, but what about other stuff that has WiFi and is on the same network? Can these devices be infected and actually contain the malware too. If so, would I have to throw them away and buy like a new router, new printer, and new chromecast units?

4.) I think I might have seen the mouse arrow on my laptop move a few times on its own and click the webcam button on my desktop. I say I think, because it seemed to happen at lightning speed and I wasn't 100% sure. If this did happen, would that mean some person actually turned on my laptop webcam? Should I call the FBI, police, etc.? That part freaked me out.

5.) Do I need to wipe, reformat, or whatever it's called both laptops and iPAD in the house to be safe? As I said above, we came back empty with an AV and Malware Bytes search. So, I can't even target malware to wipe if I wanted to and it existed.

If a complete wipe, reformat, etc. is needed, how do you do it? Never done it before.

6.) I have 1 friend and an aunt who also came by our house to use our network before, since May. Should I tell them about the issues we've had?

7.) Should I tell everyone not to email me or send me social media, because I might have a malware infection? If so, would that literally be on everything like email, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, where I (and family members) have accounts? Could our possible computer malware transfer onto stuff like that when we use online communications/social media?

If I am missing anything else that's important, I welcome anyone and everyone to tell me and teach me. I am not the most computer literate person out there and that is why I am here.

I shall reiterate that I am a true idiot on this matter. I feel I let my family and myself down with my actions. I just want to understand, fix things, and make sure this never happens again in the future.

crazyman143 10-03-2016 11:43 AM

Re: Did Malware Infect My Entire Household - Need Help from Experts
Your internet might be slower because your neighbors have discovered your wifi is unsecured and have started using it. You should be able to get verizon on the phone to help you create a secure pass key. Or, you could look up a guide specific to your router online and make this change yourself.

Most likely the malware on your computer is only affecting you. Or if there's something running on it that's hogging bandwidth, that could slow things down for other people, but it won't hurt them. I'm surprised that your Malwarebytes scan didn't find anything. Check your Google Chrome plugins for anything strange in there. The stuff you see at the bottom is probably a plugin.

another scanning tool I like is Hitman Pro. Look it up they have a free trial for 30 days that will remove everything it finds.

In the worst case scenario, yes you could format/reinstall your PC, or do a 'factory reset' if your computer has that. Make sure you backup all your important files first if you do that.

Personally I don't think you need to tell everybody about the virus on your computer. It's unlikely it's harming anybody else. Just get it taken care of and you'll be fine. Do get the wifi secured asap though, as you don't want people using your network for nefarious deeds.

rowcon123 10-03-2016 03:06 PM

Re: Did Malware Infect My Entire Household - Need Help from Experts
I agree with crazy man on everything he has said and about your sisters email there is a bit of malware that auto sends emails out to everyone that infects the computer if the email is opened it spreads the virus so on and so forth, so I would do a scan on her PC too if you already haven't :) good luck with the rest !

Sent from my X5max_PRO using Computer Forums mobile app

atrueidiot 10-07-2016 02:39 PM

Re: Did Malware Infect My Entire Household - Need Help from Experts
First, thank you two for your help.

I actually posted this same question on a number of other forums (CNET, Tom's Hardware, Wilder Security, Computer Forum, etc.) and got back some useful help:

Did Malware or Hackers Infect My Entire Household - Need Help - Techist - Tech Forum

Did Malware Infect My Entire Household - Need Help - Information Security Stack Exchange

Two of the longer replies came from Techist and Stack Exchange forum threads linked here.

I think I know what to do now, but if I have any questions I'll ask them after I try to reset my computer and router, etc.

Thanks again. And if you have any other advice to add on top of what was written at Techist and Stack Exchange, don't hesitate to let me know! I will take everything into consideration.

I am, afterall, a true idiot. :)

Technician 10-07-2016 04:25 PM

Re: Did Malware Infect My Entire Household - Need Help from Experts
Yes, it infected your entire household, your furniture and even your bike. Be afraid, be very afraid.

crazyman143 10-07-2016 06:01 PM

Re: Did Malware Infect My Entire Household - Need Help from Experts

Originally Posted by atrueidiot (Post 12176830)
I am, afterall, a true idiot. :)

Don't beat yourself up, man. Glad you got it figured out.

atrueidiot 10-15-2016 08:01 AM

Re: Did Malware Infect My Entire Household - Need Help from Experts
Hi. I'm back.

Thank you for your help so far everyone.

Turns out things were so simple after all. I'm back to ask about some things I discovered over the course of posting my problem to multiple forums and websites.

I was told that the solution would be as follows:

1.) Disconnect all device from my router/internet.
2.) Reformat/wipe/install/reset all devices individually (including internet router).
3.) Set up a new password for my router after it's been reset.
4.) Connect all wiped devices to the router with new password.
5.) Practice best standards internet safety.

The problem that arose, however, was:

What if there was malware on my router that made it impossible for me to reset the router?

Is there such a type of malware? In other words, can malware be written so that even the resetting of a router wouldn't clean it or it prevented a resetting to take place. And, similarly, can malware on an iPAD be written in the same way so that if you tried to reset your iPAD it wouldn't reset or wouldn't erase that malware even after resetting it?

If this is possible and such super malicious malware exists, then what can be done? Buy a new router? Buy a new iPAD?

I thank you for the help once more!

Technician 10-15-2016 01:29 PM

Re: Did Malware Infect My Entire Household - Need Help from Experts
Routers don't have storage unless you buy a specific one that has network storage built into it.

crazyman143 10-16-2016 01:48 AM

Re: Did Malware Infect My Entire Household - Need Help from Experts
Bots scan routers and servers for open ports and default passwords, so they can get in and drop malware on unpatched servers or turn them into spam bots. A simple router reset with new passwords would solve this, although that's not your issue here anyway.

Routers and (although it's technically possible) iPads don't get infected with malware.

atrueidiot 10-19-2016 04:24 AM

Re: Did Malware Infect My Entire Household - Need Help from Experts

Originally Posted by Technician (Post 12176907)
Routers don't have storage unless you buy a specific one that has network storage built into it.

Hi, Technician

From my other forum discussions, there was talk about malware that could modify the firmware in routers, which would be a type of malware infection at the router level.

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