Discussion Forums - Questions about PaperBackSwap Questions about PaperBackSwap

Topic: UPDATE - Announcement from The PaperBackSwap Team

Club rule - Please, if you cannot be courteous and respectful, do not post in this forum.
Page:   Unlock Forum posting with Annual Membership.
PBSTeam - PaperBackSwap Team
Subject: UPDATE - Announcement from The PaperBackSwap Team
Date Posted: 2/23/2010 2:56 PM ET
Member Since: 7/17/2005
Posts: 338
Back To Top


Dear Members,

We announced on 2/23 that PaperBackSwap was attacked by hackers - the attack attempted to redirect members to purchase a download called Antivirus Soft.  Antivirus Soft is not a legitimate product.  We have blocked the hackers and removed their links to Antivirus Soft from our systems. 

If your computer has the Antivirus Soft virus, it needs to be removed.  In our announcement on 2/23, we included a link to a site that has instructions to remove the Antivirus Soft virus from your computer - we have heard back from members that this was an effective solution.  We have continued to research other malware removal tools and have included those links (as well as the first one) below

How do you know if your computer has the virus?

You may have the Antivirus Soft virus if:

  • Your computer is working much more slowly than usual.

  • Your searches are being redirected or your homepage and/or desktop settings are changed.

  • You are being shown popup ads and a "scan" by Antivirus Soft (the fake anti-spyware program)

One of the popup "pitches" for Antivirus Soft - note the fake "scan progress" bar.

If you don't have the symptoms above, you probably don't have the Antivirus Soft virus.  But if you want to be sure you can perform a scan of your system using malwarebytes, which is free software that can be downloaded from http://www.malwarebytes.org/mbam/program/mbam-setup.exe

If you are having symptoms of Antivirus Soft virus infection, you need to remove the virus. 

To do this, it is best to use another computer (since the infected computer may not be working properly) to access the Internet in order to read and follow the instructions to remove the virus using one of the links below. (if you do not have access to another computer, you can try booting your computer into "safe mode" by holding down the F8 key while the computer is starting up, and then choosing "Safe Mode with Networking" from the options.)

You can use one of the following free software solutions to remove the AntiVirus Soft virus:

Note: These are free software tools.  However, these companies will encourage you to buy their full version products as part of their marketing solutions.   PaperBackSwap does not endorse any of these programs.

How can you prevent this from happening in the future?

We encourage you all to run anti-virus software on your computer at all times.  There are a number of companies that provide this type software for different types of operating systems.   The best ones have software that updates automatically so that you do not have to maintain it or run periodic scans of your system.  For additional protection, we also suggest that you upgrade your browser to a version that protects you against malware.   Firefox is a very good choice, or the most recent version of Internet Explorer (IE 8).

We are very sorry for the inconvenience that this has caused and we hope that this information is helpful to you,

Richard and the PaperBackSwap Team

Legal Notice - This information and guides are provided as a service to our customers, however, virus removal programs and services listed above are NOT affiliated with Paperbackswap.com or  National Book Swap, LLC.  As such, Paperbackswap.com and National Book Swap LLC expressly disclaim any liability associated with the use or installation of third party software or scans.


Dear Members,

Yesterday (2/22/2010), one of the PaperBackSwap servers was attacked by a hacker. This caused members who logged into PBS to see warning messages from their antivirus programs. Some members have reported to us that their computers were infected by a virus.  The identity of the virus appears to be Antivirus Soft, which you can read about here.

It does not appear that any sensitive information was compromised. This appears to have been a nuisance hack only. We took the server offline as soon as we identified the problem. Please note that we do not store credit or debit card numbers on any of our servers.  The SwapaCD and SwapaDVD site do not appear to have been affected.

We are still hard at work investigating this and will give you more information as we have it. In the meantime, we recommend that everyone use a reputable anti-spyware program to scan their computers for malware and perform thorough disinfection of their computer systems.

PaperBackSwap is dedicated to a safe browsing experience and we are very sorry that this has happened. We will be diligently working to track the culprits and bring them to justice.  We will take further steps to secure the server as our investigation of this attack suggests is appropriate. Our members' safety is extremely important to us and we apologize for any inconvenience that this may have caused you.  

Richard and the PaperBackSwap Team


Sianeka - ,
Date Posted: 2/23/2010 3:22 PM ET
Member Since: 2/8/2007
Posts: 6,630
Back To Top

Thank you!

Date Posted: 2/23/2010 3:53 PM ET
Member Since: 11/5/2009
Posts: 1,083
Back To Top

I ran Zone Alarm on my system and found nothing.  I hope this is a wake-up call to everyone to be running a good anti-virus program on their computer.  If you don't, you are asking for trouble.  I use Zone Alarm which is a step up from an anti-virus program.  It's actually a firewall between my computer and the internet.  Since I have had Zone Alarm installed on my computer, I have had zero problems.  But, whether you use Zone Alarm, Norton Anti-virus or any other software, the initial expense is an investment in your safe use of your computer on the internet.

Date Posted: 2/23/2010 3:57 PM ET
Member Since: 10/22/2009
Posts: 1,452
Back To Top

Kate--Zone Alarm is a great program and very important--I run it at home too, but as you state it's a Firewall, not an anti-virus program.  You still need to run an anti-virus program along with Zone Alarm.  I'm not an expert, but as I understand it, a Firewall prevents hackers from getting in to your system, but doesn't prevent viruses.  You can get a virus by visiting a web site (even one you trust, if it's been hacked) and accidently downloading the wrong thing, even though you're running a firewall.  I use the free version of aVast anti-virus.  Another good free anti virus program is AVG-free.  (Both of these also sell paid versions, so you might have to do some digging to find the free versions.)

Date Posted: 2/23/2010 4:11 PM ET
Member Since: 5/14/2009
Posts: 6,852
Back To Top

You need not only a good antivirus software but a spyware/malware program.  Spybot S&D  is good freeware program (make sure it states Spybot Search and Destroy) because there are rogue apps out there called Spybot.

If you want to pay for antivirus then I recommend Symantec. 

Date Posted: 2/23/2010 4:12 PM ET
Member Since: 12/2/2008
Posts: 490
Back To Top

I downloaded the program that they suggested the spyhunter, but in order to remove the virus I have to purchase the full version.  What am I supposed to do?

Date Posted: 2/23/2010 4:15 PM ET
Member Since: 7/6/2008
Posts: 9,371
Back To Top

Guys...and pbs.  My main computer was infected last night...while I was trying to take a move in the games.  So I was worried and got a new computer to get on and take my moves this morning...and it was immediately infected, about 9am.  I'm hoping you guys got it resolved, but I wanted to mention that that link you've got isn't adequate for the job.  As soon as I feel that I've really cleaned up my systems, one completely froze and one I think I saved before it got me totally...but I still have to go check my registry and such.  I've used several sites and several programs...most of which will only remove part and then want you to buy the program to get the rest. 

I'm writing because if you think you are safe...you may not be.  Just because your antivirus didn't find it, doesn't mean it's not there.  This is one of the worst I've ever seen...I've been a computer geek since the early 80s...I don't get viruses.  And I was freaked...how the HE..  did it get on my new one...which I don't download or ANYTHING to...so I'm really glad pbs had that notice now...cause of course I jumped on here this am...  Really sucks to pick it up from a "safe" site that you trust!  Anyway you've got to check your registry guys!

Date Posted: 2/23/2010 4:21 PM ET
Member Since: 7/6/2008
Posts: 9,371
Back To Top

Alright...I'm not done, but I see someone else with the same issue.  So far, I've unlocked my main computer with a system restore.  Do this:

Find a way to shut down your computer...(if that's a problem, write me a note here...or pm)

As it starts to load but before Windows...click on F8...that will take you where you can choose to open in Safe Mode.  I chose Safe Mode with Networking because I thought I might have to download a program too.  Instead I decided to do a system restore after reading the virus came frrom here last night...

So (if you need help choosing system restore, again let me know)...I chose System Restore for Feb 1st.  And I'm not seeing anything so far. I am going to do some more work and check my registry...I'll be back to let you know.

Date Posted: 2/23/2010 4:23 PM ET
Member Since: 7/6/2008
Posts: 9,371
Back To Top

PPS  downloading a new program seems to be an utter waste of time, now that we know where the problem originated...and I haven't found one that does the whole job either.

Date Posted: 2/23/2010 4:30 PM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2007
Posts: 8,411
Back To Top

DH used Spybot and Safe Mode to get our computer back up and running this am.  Whew!

Date Posted: 2/23/2010 4:37 PM ET
Member Since: 12/19/2007
Posts: 2,408
Back To Top

Thanks for staying on top of things!  This is a phenomenal site and it is a shame that someone wants to cause trouble here.  Thanks for acting so quickly and keeping us all informed!

Date Posted: 2/23/2010 5:07 PM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2009
Posts: 4,412
Back To Top

I use Avast and it's been telling me it's blocking *malicious* threats when I visit & move around this site.  The software has apparently blocked whatever virus it was from being downloaded into my computer & I'm no longer getting the warnings.  I'm assuming that is because of PBS's actions in shutting down the offending server.  I have free versions of Avast on my home computers & the professional version on my work computers.  So far, so good, and I appreciate PBS for being open about the problem.

Date Posted: 2/23/2010 5:09 PM ET
Member Since: 8/30/2006
Posts: 172
Back To Top

I got it on my work computer yesterday after lunch. Took the IT guy 50 minutes to get it completely off my system.

crossing my fingers as I was working on another computer yesterday afternoon and my home computer last night...

and logged into PBS on both of those also. So far, no problems on those two. Hope not on my home computer

as I can't afford the IT guy's prices!

btw. We use Symantic, Spybot and have a firewall. updated frequently, Symantic runs daily. Spybot weekly. Firewall is always there.

Date Posted: 2/23/2010 6:54 PM ET
Member Since: 11/5/2009
Posts: 1,083
Back To Top

You still need to run an anti-virus program along with Zone Alarm.

The full version of Zone Alarm comes with anti-virus protection.  It costs $19.00 a year to renew the anti-virus protection, but it's money well spent.

Date Posted: 2/23/2010 7:00 PM ET
Member Since: 11/5/2009
Posts: 1,083
Back To Top

I wonder why some people were affected and others not.  I run Zone Alarm and surf the internet with Firefox.  I have had zero problems.  I was on and off this site numerous times yesterday and didn't even know there was a problem until I read the forum. 

Date Posted: 2/23/2010 7:58 PM ET
Member Since: 10/22/2009
Posts: 1,452
Back To Top

Kate--I was wondering the same thing as well.  I wonder if it's an Internet Explorer vs Firefox issue.  I also use Firefox and haven't had any problems at all.

Could some of you who have had problems let us know which browser you were using?  Curious minds...

Date Posted: 2/23/2010 8:16 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 11,629
Back To Top

Even the best anti-virus program is not going to work unless you update it daily!  I use AVG (the free version) and Zone Alarm (also the free version).  I have AVG set to automatically check for updates every day and I make sure it does.

I was also off and on PBS yesterday evening with no problems or alerts at all.  Also running Firefox.

Date Posted: 2/23/2010 8:24 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,209
Back To Top

IE, FireFox, and Safari all had problems reported in the thread in CMT. I think it has a lot to do with the combination of anti-virus, malware, spyware, firewalls, so many different pieces that could make that little bit of difference in stopping it or not. The key to virus protection IMO is updated definition files. If someone doesn't keep those up to date, then their virus software isn't going to be able to do its job. If the anti-virus software isn't staying on top of things and keeping those files up with current viruses, then a user can update til they are blue in the face and it won't do any good. 

Date Posted: 2/23/2010 8:30 PM ET
Member Since: 1/15/2007
Posts: 1,410
Back To Top

I think it also has to do with pop-up blockers and ad blockers.  I was on several times yesterday, and I saw nothing unusual, but I have both of those blocked.

Date Posted: 2/23/2010 8:51 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2006
Posts: 6,436
Back To Top

I asked my Resident Geek if I needed to be concerned and he said no, because it's a Windows virus.

Date Posted: 2/23/2010 9:17 PM ET
Member Since: 5/16/2009
Posts: 8,453
Back To Top

My husband (a software developer) said the same thing... I use Firefox, but we have a Mac... no problems, no viruses.  (All scans show up clean.  I had no idea what everyone was talking about... I never saw any of the phishing messages!)

Date Posted: 2/23/2010 9:32 PM ET
Member Since: 2/21/2009
Posts: 2,925
Back To Top

I agree as to the combinations...my laptop was infected, IE & AVG. My desktop, IE and Avast only encountered the "parsing" errors and avoided the actual virus. I spent a long time this afternoon attempting to eradicate it. I'm not positive it's gone from everywhere...I'm not an IT person at all.

Date Posted: 2/24/2010 12:14 AM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
Back To Top

I got the same error message as reported yesterday, but zone alarm kept flagging me that something or other was trying to download & I denied it.  I ran AVG, Malawarebytes, and Super AntiSpyware this morning & I'm not seeing anything other than an unusually large amount of tracking cookies, all of which I quarantined & removed.  Hopefully everything is as fine as it looks - my son's monitor went out Mon. night and I gave him mine, so until the new flat screen I ordered from Dell shows up, I'm on the DH's machine.  Of course, he's an IT geek, so the security here is fairly anal anyway:P

Last Edited on: 2/24/10 12:21 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: Are YOU KIDDING?
Date Posted: 2/24/2010 4:32 AM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2009
Posts: 25
Back To Top

Wait, I hope that my MOUTH doesn't runneth over my intelligence.  LOL

So if I understand correctly, this site was hacked, then members were offered a download to a detection ONLY spyware.  It will tell what has infected my computer but it won't remove it.  

I did just run the program.  It says that my computer is infected with close to 100 different thing that are considered BAD for this computer.  When I treid to click on any of them to see exactly what they are I got a "PAY NOW" demand.  I ran my NORTONS and checked my firewall.  Everything is dany according to my paid anti=virus.  OK SO this thing, It's not a virus so Norton's won't catchit?  I understand that.  What I do not understand is why this club is making money AFTER they allowed a hacker to infect our computers?????  Offer a FREE REMOVAL SERVICE would show that the hacking and subsequent virus was unintentional!  I'm  not paying money to remove this to the very site that gave my 'puter the nasties!   


Beside that Nortons is now showing that the spyware that I downloaded from paperbackswap.com as a BIG PROBLEM.  One quick message into my tech that said SHUT OFF YOUR COMPUTER and get it here.  He said that tool I downloaded from  PBS is worse that the actual  thing. This isn't funny.     Now I'm out of my computer for a few days since I have to pay to get it fixed.  Is PBS going to pay for my computer repair?   I have another puter that I cannot use since I am quarantined and the infected computer has my speech recognition program.  I am NOT happy !  If I could repair my own computer I would but I cannot.   Did I mention that I am not very happy with all this.... Is there any sites that can be trusted?  

Date Posted: 2/24/2010 4:36 AM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2009
Posts: 25
Back To Top

I apologize if my message come across as not=so nice.  I do not mean to show any disrespect.