martedì 8 novembre 2011

I have a good virus scanner but I still got infected. Why is this?

A Virus Scanner is a great foundation to your computer security and mental well being. That being said, it is not a cure all. You must couple this with safe browsing habits and a good malware scanner as well. Certain malware programs can actually disable all of your security programs and wreck havok on your system just by going to the wrong site. Hacking and Porn sites are notorious for this but you can also get infected by searching pictures on google.

Lets say you do a search for a celebrity through Google and click on the images tab. You are now presented with a gallery of photos that you can go through and possibly visit the site that is hosting them. After you click on a image you are redirected to the site, but wait! What appears on your screen is a warning that you are infected. It shows your folders and does a “scan” that only takes seconds. You see errors saying that you have 12 infections, critical errors and the whole ball of wax. Click this link to fix the problem.

(Note: Using common sense helps here. If you have a 500GB drive that is almost full and it only takes 5 seconds to scan your whole hard drive, that should be a great clue that this is a scam.)

In the end, you have installed a scareware program that has disabled all of your security features, blocks attempts to download virus and malware programs and will even reboot your computer if you keep trying to uninstall it. You must buy their Security program to take care of the issues, or so they say. All of the problems that this program is detecting are false or have been put there by the program itself and they will be glad to take your money and disappear.

In this scenario, the best thing to do when you first see this website running a “Security Scan” is to just close the explorer window. In cases where they block your ability to close the window, follow these instructions:

Hold down the Ctrl, Alt and Del buttons at the same time. In window XP this brings up Task Manager. In Windows 7 you need to select Task Manager.

In Task Manager, select the Processes tab at the top, then click on iexplore.exe and click the “End Process” button at the bottom of Task Manager. This will close all internet explorer windows and you WILL lose any work you were doing in those windows.

If Explorer does not start back up, click on the Applications tab of Task Manager, Click on the “New Task” button and enter Explorer.exe then click ok. You should be back up and running.

Another problem is a zero day virus. This is a virus that has just been released, nobody knows about it yet and there have been no definitions by the virus scan companies. It may take a couple of days at most for security companies to get a removal process out.

To sum it up you should follow these guidelines.

1. Use a virus scanner and set it up to update automatically.

2. Use a malware program, also set to automatically update.

3. Use Windows Update to make sure you have all the latest security patches and updates installed.

4. Don’t rely on automatic updates. Check for yourself sometimes to make sure they are updating properly.

5. If it seems fishy, don’t click on anything. Close Explorer how I described above in worse case scenarios.

And finally… stay away from those questionable sites or you are asking for trouble. :)

70% of my work comes from virus and malware problems.


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