Ok, so on April 1st there will be a new virus emerging that can be incredibly hostile to your computing environment. The virus is the Conficker C, a variant from the Conficker A and B. The C variant is much more advanced and it is difficult to protect against. If you become infected it is going to require a manual removal. (I do virus removals for $79.99 and do a free diagnostic with that as well - compare that to Best Buy's Geek Squad who charges $199.99 for their diagnostic and virus removal.) It will turn your computer into a bot, picking up viruses and distributing them to others as well as making your computer a link in attacks of other computers or websites.
With that said, to protect yourself, I would recommend updating windows to the latest service pack and installing all other critical updates. Microsoft released a patch to protect you against the Conficker, and an advisory to that can be found here: http://www.microsoft.com/
Aside from doing the Windows Updates, I would also recommend that you keep your anti-virus definitions updated, as well as not downloading any activeX controls from websites that you don't know. This will be a widespread virus and infection can come from multiple locations.
If you have any questions or want to know more about what it does please feel free to email me. If you become infected on April 1st, or think you may have become infected, I can do a free diagnostic of all your hardware and run a virus scan to see if it is an issue.
Thanks for reading my Computer Repair blog!
Dog On Fire
Ok, so I realize that this infection is running rampant across the web. Everyone is becoming infected with the XP Antivirus, and when infected it will alert you of all kinds of security vulnerabilities that may or may not be present in your system. The XP Antivirus program will alert you of virus infections that is far exaggerated from what is on your system, but the problem with this program is that it becomes imbedded in windows, or at least makes itself look like it is, by displaying a fake Security Center.
In the 2009 version, the security center looks much more real and can easily fool even an experienced user. Hopefully, you won't ever see the XP Antivirus. The key to not getting infected is to watch the sites that you are going to. Be careful not to click on odd looking links, and if you are prompted to install something when you go to a website, your best bet is not to do it. If you do accept it, and install the program, it is KEY that you don't pay them for it. The program is not real, and it actually installs more viruses rather then removing any. If you do install the program and then pay for it, I recommend canceling the card to be safe, changing all of your passwords for online banking, and have someone like myself begin a cleaning process on your machine. Once you are clean, I would recommend installing Norton Internet Security and Spysweeper to not become re-infected.
Below are pictures of the program so you know what to look out for.
Best of luck at staying clean, but if you ever need me just call!
Thanks for reading,
Dog On Fire
I get at least 2 - 3 virus removals a week. Often times, it's very straight forward; scan for viruses, find viruses, remove viruses. Granted, that is over simplifying the tasks that it takes to physically neutralize the threats, but in it's simplest terms, that's how it done. However, if I were to never run diagnostics on the hardware, about one third of the virus removals would be coming back soon with other issues.
The first step I take when working on a computer is running diagnostics on all the hardware. It takes roughly 24 hours to run all the tests, but that way you know you're getting a complete computer repair. I begin by testing the Motherboard, CPU and a quick test of the Hard Drive. If all these tests pass, I move on to a long Hard Drive test. Often times, this is where I find out if I will be doing the virus removal or not. If the long Hard Drive test reports any failures, it would not make sense to continue. Granted, some failures can be resolved by running chkdsk, but most drives reporting failure are truly failing. At this point, depending upon the age of the system and what the customer is using the computer for currently and plans to use it for in the future, I will recommend either a Hard Drive replacement and an operating system reinstallation with data backup or computer replacement.
If the long Hard Drive test passes, I will begin running a thorough test on the physical memory. Sometimes, issues that appear to be virus related, can actually be issues with the physical memory that is installed. If the memory tests pass, I will look start to look at the motherboard for any physical damage. If everything looks ok, I will start the computer and boot into windows to begin the virus scan.
The point of this is that without doing a complete computer diagnostic on all the hardware, you can never really be certain that you're getting a complete repair. I am doing FREE diagnostics on the hardware so I recommend taking advantage of that!
Thanks for reading!
Dog On Fire
Malware is similar to a virus in the way that it is always malicious in intent. Malware can take over your browser in an effort to perform redirects on your search attemtps, display unwanted pop-up ads that are sometimes very specific to things you would like due to the fact that they record and track all your surfing habits, use your phoneline to make unwanted calls costing you a lot of money, and record every keystroke on your keyboard then send the information back to the malware creator.
Depending upon the type of malware that is installed into your computer, you may or may not even know if you're infected. Often times, even uninstalling a program that was packaged with malware will not remove the malware itself. You could install the newest file sharing application and notice that you're getting several pop-up advertisements afterwards, but when you go to uninstall the application the pop-ups still remain. Malware is designed to hide itself from you and the virus scanners that you may be using. Often times, malware can only be removed manually.
In the next sections we will go over the specific types of malware currently released and what they are doing to your computer that is affecting performance and useability.
A computer "virus" AKA "trojan" consists of executable code that attaches itself to other executable code, doing destructive things that damage the users operating system, software or files. An example of this would be virus code that is *injected* into a program you would normally want to download, such as a portable spanish to english dictionary. While the file may look innocent and run with no issues, wrapped inside the package is a file that can be very destructive in nature. A virus will not become active until you run it however. As long as you never open that spanish to english dictionary, you will never become infected. Once ran though, the virus can begin spreading to other programs and files, to flash drives and external hard drives. It can begin spreading everywhere once you activate it by opening it's executable code.
Always scan every program you download off the internet and file attachment with a well rounded virus scanner before opening. See my section on Anti-Virus Software for what I would recommend.