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Windows 8 hacked.

Posted on 2014-01-25
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Last Modified: 2014-01-25
PC laptop with Windows 8 hacked by a foreign "faux help service" left the machine locked.  Will only start to safe mode, has no system restore settings available, will not go online.

Any solutions to fix problems or best just do a factory restore?
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Question by:DwEckert
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 39809400
If you can get to Metro and then PC Settings, you can "Refresh your PC" . This will keep your documents but will remove Applications that did not come with Windows 8. This should work, but you will have to reinstall some things.

.... Thinkpads_User
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Assisted Solution

by:Dan Craciun
Dan Craciun earned 167 total points
ID: 39809401
You can probably fix it, but can't trust it anymore.

Factory reset, then restore data from backups.

HTH,
Dan
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Expert Comment

by:Mysidia
ID: 39809405
When you say "locked";  you mean the computer won't boot -- they have reconfigured the machine to deny access, or they are presenting some custom software that refuses entry?

My suggestion would be to copy any important documents or other materials off the machine and do the factory restore.

It may be possible to defeat the lockout, if you can run tools to analyze the startup settings.
However,  it will always be doubtful whether the machine is clean  and can be trusted anymore, or  whether a configuration with covert persisting  custom malware  has been setup.
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Assisted Solution

by:John Hurst
John Hurst earned 333 total points
ID: 39809414
@DwEckert - To clarify the above, Windows 8 Refresh is new with Windows 8 and does a form of reinstall that keeps data. I have done one, and the results were very reliable.

.... Thinkpads_User
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Expert Comment

by:aadih
ID: 39809429
Please save your data and files from the safe mode, Just in case. Then, as Thinkpads_User advises: perform a Windows 8 refresh install.
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Author Comment

by:DwEckert
ID: 39809431
thinkpads_user.

Can get to the Metro screen.  The click on Desktop goes to safe mode.  Tried Metro to PC Settings to "Refresh Your PC without effecting your files".  The first message said there was a problem refreshing your PC, no changes were made, check for solutions to the problem which takes it back to safe mode with no more answers.

Mysidia,  The computer will turn on & off, but only comes to safe mode.  No custom software that I can find to block entry.

There is no internet connection, either wifi or Ethernet.
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Expert Comment

by:Dan Craciun
ID: 39809436
It doesn't really matter if "Refresh" is working or not.

The machine was compromised and cannot be trusted anymore.
Do a hard reset (factory restore), preferably with a format first.
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 39809439
Any solutions to fix problems or best just do a factory restore?

Since you can get to Metro but Windows 8 Refresh will not work, then at this point, you need to back up and do a factory restore. Refresh is pretty much the last hope in a Windows 8 system.

Assuming you do this:

1. Do the factory restore.
2. Update all Drivers.
3. Update all Windows 8 updates.
4. Now go to Metro Windows Store and Update to Windows 8.1. Do this before installing applications.
5. Now Install Applications.
6. Now do all final updates and you should be done.

.... Thinkpads_User
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Author Comment

by:DwEckert
ID: 39809445
I fixed it.

In metro went to msconfig.  The settings had been changed to "selective startup".  Changed back to normal and rebooted.

Came on in to Metro, went to the full desktop.  Got on line with wifi.

Now I will do a full cleaning and update to 8.1.

Darn foreign help desk, scammers going after little grandmothers.  They should be shot.
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Accepted Solution

by:
John Hurst earned 333 total points
ID: 39809458
When you finish cleaning up, do the following:

1. Ensure UAC is ON and working.
2. Install brand name, paid Antivirus.
3. Get EMET V 4.1 free from Microsoft and install it. EMET obfuscates addressing and keeps hackers at bay. I use it on every system now.

... Thinkpads_User
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Expert Comment

by:aadih
ID: 39809466
I fixed it. ~DwEckert.

Great. You did it. :-)
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Author Closing Comment

by:DwEckert
ID: 39809557
Good help, as always.  Good suggestions got me thinking about other possibilities which lead to the solution.

Thanks.
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 39809563
@DwEckert - Thank you very much and I was happy to help.

.... Thinkpads_User
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