Saturday, July 23, 2011

Viruses and Spyware and Malware Oh My! How to stay protected.

People get viruses and such all the time, and I see it on a daily basis. Theres a few things that you can do to stay protected and I'm going to let you in on those little secrets.


First of all I might say the number one source of viruses, malware and other nasty things is children.
Kids google everything, install games, download music etc and are rather trusting of suspicious things.

If you have kids that use your computer regularly, I would strongly recommend putting a password on the administrator account and create an account for them that does not have administrative rights.  Without administrative rights, any damage they do will be restricted to their account and not the whole computer (in most cases)

Downloaded music, pirated software and porn:

Yes all those are high risk items. Download services like Limewire, Bearshare, Edonkey, and Frostwire present a very high risk to virus infection.  Lets say you download what you think is a song by your favorite artist. 90% chance you're not going to read everything when you download it.  You don't notice the so-called song is way too small to be a real song and instead of being an MP3, the song ends in EXE but hey, who cares, you want the song right?

Well upon opening your supposed song, nothing happens that you can see and you just think hmm, oh well I'll try another.

A week later your computer stars doing wierd stuff, you get pop-ups, and warnings from "Fake Alert" types of malware (more on that later)

Pirated software downloaded from Limewire, Bittorrent and others is another high risk.  What better way to spread a virus than to stick it inside a $500 copy of Adobe Photoshop that you just downloaded for free.

And of course Porn.  If you visit adult sites, you run the high risk of page redirects, so called "flash player updates" that it wants you to install, and even some vidoes can embed malware and viruses inside them!

If you go to an adult site and you get some kind of malware scare, the best suggestion I could say is try to reboot the computer since in most cases you won't be able to get past the screen.  If you can't reboot normally, just hold the power button until the computer shuts off. This is not the best way to turn a computer off by far but it may be your only chance.

How could I have gotten infected? I've got Norton!

I hear this so much it isn't funny.  That copy of Norton Antivirus that came with your PC 4 years ago is doing absolutely nothing. Why? Well did you notice the big red X on it? Did you notice the numerous warnings that it expired? Did you notice the last update was from 2007? Don't believe me? Click Here!

PC Manufacturers routinely give you a "free" copy of Norton or Trend antivirus with a 60 or 90 trial peroid. After that you have to pay for it to continue using it. All commercial antivirus products require yearly renewals or just just STOP WORKING.

But I can't afford the $20 renewal!

Yeah but you'll sure be able to afford the $100 to $200 that it is going to cost you to remove that nasty virus right?

Ok there's a few alternatives.

Microsoft Security Essentials:

This is a free antivirus program that is actually pretty good. I use it and it has blocked a few things on my computer. If you're cheap, this one's for you.

AVG Antivirus:

This what what all the cheapos used before Microsoft Security Essentials came out. It doesn't do a very good job.... It never really has. Still it is better than nothing, but not better than Security Essentials in my opinion.

I see a lot of infected computers with up to date copies of AVG antivirus installed.  The only reason I could see to keep running AVG is that Security Essentials will not install on Windows 2000 but AVG will.

I don't need Antivirus, my ISP provides it:

Where? I don't see it on your computer. Did you ask them about it? Huh?

Yes people hear that their ISP provides it, but they never ask about it, they think that somewhere, magically all this is being filtered by them. 99% chance it they are not.  You need to install the software. Call your ISP and ask them, where do I get it?


Worms are sort of like viruses except you don't have to do anything to get infected.  You could just be on a website or just have your computer plugged in and magically you get infected.

Because of this, always make sure your antivirus is up to date, make sure you have a firewall (if you're behind a wireless router, you have one, but another on your computer wouldn't hurt too), windows comes with a firewall, if you turn it off, it should warn you.

Also make sure that your updates are up to date. Those little pop-ups that you have new updates to load, those are pretty important, especially the ones for your web browser.

And while we're on the subject of browsers, Firefox and Chrome are much less likely to pick up something nasty than Internet Explorer (especially older versions of Internet Explorer)

So what do I do now that I'm infected?

Well there's many tools out there, most are pretty good, but the best way is to use more than one.

Ones that run from a bootable CD are the best to start with, that way the virus or malware is not in memory when you run it.

Some examples:

Kaspersky Rescue Disc
Avira Rescue System
Symantec Endpoint Recovery Tool
Bitdefender Rescue CD

Kaspersky would probably be the best, but in order for any of these to work, you must have your computer plugged in to an internet connection with a network cable, just wireless won't work.

Other Tools:

After you've run one or more rescue disks, boot back into windows and follow up with one or more of the following.

Hitman Pro
Microsoft Safety Scanner
Malware Bytes
Spybot Search and Destroy

If after all that you're still infected, it sounds like time to contact a professional.

Hey! I'm one of those!

I hope you're enjoying this blog, and if you need PC help in the Fort Worth/Keller/Watauga/Haltom City area just shoot me an e-mail at

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