January 24, 2016

Virus, malware and other malicious software removal

Virus, malware and other malicious software removal. Keep your computer clean and protected at all times.

Is your computer manifesting one or more of the following symptoms?

  • Overall performance is unusually slow, extremely unstable and computer just ceases to work
  • Your screen disappears and a blue one pops up in its place with a cryptic message saying “Windows has encounter an error and must shut down…” So called Blue Screen of Death (BOD)
  • Unexpected pop-ups and unusual or offensive content
  • The home page of your browser has changed unexpectedly or hijacked
  • Your antivirus software has been disabled and doesn’t allow updating virus definitions

If you’ve answered ‘Yes’ to one or more of these questions, the chances are it has been infected by virus, trojan horse, malware or some other malicious software. It’s time now to contact the experts at Kontech – your premiere Philadelphia computer repair service – to have your computer cleaned up.
Once we identify that your system has been infected we will:

  • Perform multiple virus, spyware and threat scans using different tools
  • Make sure to remove all threats and test to ensure system’s stability
  • Make recommendations on how to stay safe online

Here’s some resources to help you understand the terminology of various infections.

Macro Viruses, also known as macros are viruses embedded in other software applications to infect and spread to other files viewed by that software. I.E. MS Word and MS Excel can become infected with macros and macro viruses which can spread by exploiting their commands.

Worms are programs that duplicate themselves and use communications such as email to get proliferated by accessing your email address book and send themselves to all recipients from the address book.

Boot Sector Viruses: Boot Sector Viruses are an older type of virus and not so common. They used to infect a computer’s startup program so that the virus would become active as soon as the computer operating system starts up.

File Viruses: File viruses attach themselves to other software. When the software is run, the virus first loads itself into memory so that in can further infect other files or begin damaging the computer.

Trojans: Trojan Horses are programs that claim to perform a particular function but in fact do something different. They could infect your computer with a virus or potentially erase your files. Backdoor Trojans are programs that allow other computer users to remotely control your computer via a local area network or the Internet.

Ransomware is a type of malware that prevents or limits users from accessing their own files and system. The compromised system typically display messages forcing its victims to pay the ransom through certain online payment methods – very often in Bitcoins (฿) – in order to regain access to their files or to get their data back. Some ransomware such as Cryptolocker or Cryptowall encrypts files rendering them useless unless unlock key is obtained from the assailant – for a fee. The best defense against ransomware is a comprehensive data backup strategy.

Scareware includes rogue security software and tech support scams. You might receive a pop-up message claiming that a gazilion pieces of malware were discovered and the only way to get rid of them is to pay up. If you do nothing, you’ll likely continue to be bombarded with popups, but your files are essentially unharmed. A quick scan with your anti-malware software will likely get rid of those annoyances.

Adware: Is to internet browsing as spam is to email Adware can profile your online surfing and online shopping habits and or placing annoying pop-up adverts, installing additional IE menu helper bars. Often Adware revolves around targeted advertising based upon the web sites you frequent and you may not even be aware that the pop-ups are not coming from the actual web site visited itself but from the Adware software running locally on your machine. Quite often these applications are installed by stealth or by deliberately misleading users to install software that is not required.

Spyware: Is potentially a higher threat than Adware as it often collects user personal details, such as software installed and often sensitive information such as passwords and even credit card information which are then sent to via the internet to a pre-designated central collection point. Spyware is often installed covertly or by accident via pop-up windows with active-X controls which report that they perform certain, legitimate functions while they are secretly installing malicious programs.

Malware: malicious, intrusive or otherwise annoying and software created with the intent to infiltrate or damage a computer system without computer user’s informed consent. Malware programs tend to contain viruses, worms, trojan horses, spyware, adware and other malicious and unwanted software.

Page Hijackers are applications that redirect links to specific web pages’ URLs, I.E. a request to go to a search engine URL gets redirected another designated address instead, related to the initial link but often containing advertising or adware.

Rootkits are programs that enable administrator-level (root) access to a computer and allow an attacker to mask intrusion and obtain root-level or privileged access to the computer or entire network. Read more on rootkits

Here’s some very useful tools that we recommend to detect, remove and eradicate malicious software

Adware Removal Tools

Ad-ware is an anti-spyware program by Lavasoft, designed to prevent, remove and repair damage caused by Trojans, Worms, Spyware and other malicious programs. A program like Ad-Aware is your first line of defense in preventing malicious software from damaging your computer.

Ad-ware can be downloaded for free.

Spybot-Search and Destroy is another excellent tool that detects and removes spyware, which silently tracks your surfing behaviors to create a marketing profile for you that is transmitted without your knowledge and sold to advertising companies. If you notice new toolbars in your Internet Explorer that you didn’t even installed, if your browser crashes inexplicably, or if your home page has been (or changed without your knowledge (“hijacked”), your computer is most probably infected with spyware. Spybot-S&D is free, so there’s no harm giving it a try to see if your computer has been infested by annoying spyware.

Malwarebytes is a superb product dedicated to fighting and eliminating malware. Guys from Malwarebytes have developed a variety of other tools that can identify and remove malicious software from your computer. Malwarebytes provides the necessary assistance to remove the infection and restore the machine back to its optimum performance in no time. Though Malwarebytes can be downloaded free of change if you buy a full version you’ll receive a lifetime of free upgrades and support.

Here’s the link to download Malwarebytes

HijackThis is a free utility which quickly scans your computer to find settings that may have been changed by viruses, spyware, malware or other unwanted programs. Even though HijackThis does not detect malicious software nor determines what is good or bad, it allows you to make a determination what to remove based on the report log it creates. Note: Do not make any changes to your computer settings unless you are an expert computer user.

Hijackthis is also available for free.

Antivirus Software

AVG is a free anti-virus solution by the team from Grisoft. AVG is known to be intuitive and easy to use, has low memory overhead, and is frequently updated with new virus definitions. If your PC is unprotected we strongly recommend downloading and installing AVG Anti-Virus.

BitDefender Antivirus provides advanced proactive protection against viruses, spyware, phishing attacks and identity information theft, without slowing down your PC. It provides superior proactive protection from viruses, spyware, and other malicious programs. BitDefender Free Edition uses scanning engine technology found in other BitDefender products, allowing you to enjoy basic virus protection for no cost at all.

Avast is a complete antivirus software suite. Avast antivirus Home Edition claims to be the best FREE antivirus protection currently available on the market, especially that this edition is offered completely free of charge for non-commercial and home use.

Zone Alarm by Check Point SoftwareTechnologies is designed to protect your PC with the four interconnected security services: a firewall, an application control, an Internet lock and Zones. The firewall controls the door to your computer and allows only traffic you understand and initiate. The Internet lock blocks Internet traffic while your computer is idle or while you’re not using the Internet, and it can be activated automatically with your computer’s screensaver or after a set period of inactivity. Zones monitor any and all activity on your computer and alert you whenever a new application attempts to access the Internet – a very useful feature. Click here to download free version, trial or full versions of ZoneAlarm products.

Free Online Virus Scanners

Bitdefender Online Scanner is an on-demand virus scanner which incorporates the award-winning BitDefender scanning engines. You can use it to scan your system’s memory, all files and drives’ boot sectors, and to automatically clean infected files. All free of charge.

Click here to access Bitdefender Online Scanner

ESET Online Scanner is another free and powerful tool which allows to remove malware from an infected computer through the web browser without having to install anti-virus software. ESET Online Scanner uses the same ThreatSense technology and signatures as ESET Smart Security/ESET NOD32 Antivirus, and it always uses most recent virus definitions.

Click here to launch ESET online virus scanner

F-Secure Online Virus Scanner is a free and very effective utility used to detect if your computer is infected, and disinfect it if necessary. Once initiated it will automatically download the necessary components and virus definition databases as it is started.

Click here to launch F-Secure online virus scanner

Kaspersky Lab Online Virus Scanner is a free online tool that allows to find out if you have any viruses or spyware on your machine without having to install new software. You can also see what viruses your current antivirus software let slip through!

Click to access Kaspersky Virus Scanner.

Norton Security Online Scan. Test your computer’s exposure to online security threats with free virus scan. Learn how free antivirus solution can make your computer more secure. All you need is modern browser to launch the online scanner.

Try it here.

Panda ActiveScan by by Panda Security Research claims to be an advanced online scanner based on Collective Intelligence (scanning in-the-cloud) that detects malware that traditional security solutions cannot detect.

Access Panda Scanner here.

Trend Micro’s HouseCall is an application for checking whether your computer has been infected by viruses, spyware, or other malware. HouseCall performs additional security checks to identify and fix vulnerabilities to prevent reinfection.
Click here to launch HouseCall.