After diagnosing computers that come into the office with Viruses and Spyware —– the question is always “how did I get these in my computer?” The answer is never exact, because the problems are masked and it is difficult to determine exactly where the malware came from.
However there are actions that bring in the culprits. What follows is a quick list of what can and should be avoided.
1. However much your children or you want free music, never download files from Limewire, Kazza, Frostwire or any other free downloading service called “Peer-to-Peer” Networks. These are frought with malware and are easily (and invisibly) passed from one computer to the next.
2. Downloading Programs that haven’t been carefully reviewed. I’m referring to “free anti-virus scanners”, toolbars, smileys, games etc. I test products first before referring them to others. You can call me up (508-370-8080) to ask me about a product before downloading something you suspect may be bogus.
3. Don’t open an email attachment if it is from someone you don’t know, or if it contains strange attachments. Don’t accept strange messages from others using a messenger program. Even links can be dangerous to click on. Be cautious!
4. Finally, don’t visit adult-oriented sites!
Many Internet Providers such as Verizon, Comcast, RCN, etc. offer anti-virus protection for their customers. For example, I have a customer whose computer has 256MB of memory. In this particular case, the Internet Provider all but forced the customer to install a “Suite” of Protection. An Anti-Virus Suite, needs (at the minimum) 1-2 GB of memory in order to run.
Never use SYSTEM RESTORE in an attempt to remove malware. It will not do any good as System Restore only monitors and restores certain Windows files. In addition, attempting System Restore on an infected computer will bury the bad files deeper in the Registry making them more difficult (or impossible) to remove. It may appear that System Restore removed the infection, but it is still there, just flying further under the radar.
Does their Anti-virus Protection work?
In my experience, I have seen many computers whose systems are running McAfee antivirus, Norton Antivirus, even Trend Micro Antivirus without first determining the amount of memory in that computer.
Lo and behold, these popular anti-virus products are not effective. I have found many viruses in a computer even with retail antivirus products.
Also, do not use registry cleaners/optimizers. They will not help and have the potential to do great harm.