Guide to clean your PC: Malware and Spyware
You don’t have to panic, just read further and cleanse your PC with a big grin on your face.
First we ask ourselves:
WHAT IS A SPYWARE?
Spy-ware is Internet jargon for Advertising Supported software (Ad-ware).shareware authors to make money from a products other than selling directly to the consumer. These are called banners, a specially designed graphic photo-text which attracts a consumer attention in a way, especially if it’s professional. There are many big-small-medium companies that offer banner placements on their websites in exchange for a small commision of the banner sales. This way, you don’t have to buy the software and the developers are still getting some revenue.
How many spyware types are out there?
There are probably millions by now, with the internet growing more and more everyday. But the most known were and still are as of today:
Alexa, Aureate/Radiate, BargainBuddy, ClickTillUWin, Conducent Timesink, Cydoor, Comet Cursor, eZula/KaZaa Toptext, Flashpoint/Flashtrack, Flyswat, Gator, GoHip, Hotbar, ISTbar, Lions Pride Enterprises/Blazing Logic/Trek Blue, Lop (C2Media), Mattel Brodcast, Morpheus, NewDotNet, Realplayer, Songspy, Xupiter, Web3000, WebHancer, Windows Messenger Service.
How do i prevent or remove these spyware?
Well fortunately, there are thousands of programs that have enough potential to remove and form a protective shield in real time and mostly are free.
To prevent any spyware on slowing down your PC you first have to determine whether your computer has been infected or not. You can do this by downloading free antispyware from the internet or either buy one.
Some anti-spyware i recommend that are free:
- Spybot Search&Destroy – http://www.safer-networking.org/en/index.html
- Microsoft Windows Defender – http://www.microsoft.com/security/default.aspx
- Lavasoft’s Ad-Aware SE, Personal Edition – http://www.lavasoft.com/
- Spyware Doctor 4.0 – http://www.pctools.com/guides/software/detail/53/
After you determined the cause (wheter it’s a spy-ware or not) you start throwing them out from your computer. Normally, the antispyware programs come with both of the features – Scan and Remove , so you don’t have to worry about anything.
Another thing you can do is to remove pop-up feature in the browser settings (eg. IE , Firefox , Chrome , Opera etc). This will prevent pop-up spam from infecting your computer.
WHAT IS A MALWARE?
A malware is a sophisticated coded virus that can attack any PC, anytime, doing massive damage or sometimes even control it. The malware is very known to the cotidian internet life and it has always been. Anyone with good internet knowledge can create such monsters, monsters that can infect even the most protected PC’s or even whole ISP’s. I know you would say now that by owning an anti-virus would probably fix all the problems. WRONG! Some viruses are hidden deep inside your PC “heart” without even knowing it. The most common ways viruses infect our PC’s are by finding vulnerable spots in our file managers, windows files, internet security, registry keys, local documents or software. I found that Zonealarm Free anti virus is the best anti-virus software. Sometimes viruses damages the PC completely without being able to repair it and it requires a specialist to restore the PC at least for windows reinstallation. Yes it can do that, even more, it can steal your private information, sell it (keyloggers).
How do i determine whether my computer is infected or not?
You can determine that by looking at the symptoms that may occur when getting infected.
If you notice mysterious things happening to your computer such as:
- unexpected messages or images are suddenly displayed
- unusual sounds or music played at random
- your CD-ROM drive mysteriously opens and closes
- programs suddenly start on your computer
- you receive notification from your firewall that some applications have attempted to connect to the Internet, although you did not initiate this,
then it is very likely that your computer has been infected by a virus.
Additionally, there are some typical symptoms which indicate that your computer has been infected via email:
- your friends mention that they have received messages from your address which you know you did not send
- your mailbox contains a lot of messages without a sender’s e-mail address or message header.
Or some symptoms that indicate keylogger activity:
- your Paypal account sends payments without you asking so
- your Yahoo account password has been changed
- or, if you are owning a business over internet- your website has been deleted, or popups appear out of nowhere in your browser
Secondary effects of infected PC’s may be like the following:
- your computer freezes frequently or encounters errors
- your computer slows down when programs are started
- the operating system is unable to load files and folders have been deleted or their content has changed
- your hard drive is accessed too often (the light on your main unit flashes rapidly)
- Microsoft Internet Explorer freezes or functions erratically e.g. you cannot close the application window
What should i do if i am infected?
Well if such thing happens (and it does happen) you have to make sure your antivirus is active, your firewall is active, your system account (mainly administrator) is protected, your have a backup of your files and registry.
Then you can download a special malware scanner. One good free special malware scanner and remover i recommend is ComboFix. You can download it here
Steps to make Combofix work:
1. Download it;
2. Make sure you have a backup of your files, registry etc.
3. Run the .exe;
4. Some blue prompt screen must appear;
5. It will tell you that he prepares his scanning (Warning: during this process do not run any programs)
6. Let it do it’s job;
Once Combofix finishes scanning, any malware he finds it’s automatically deleted and you will receive a logfile after the next startup.
Unfortunately for me Combofix is the only antivirus that i use, mainly because it’s so powerful, special and fast.
Conclusion: Spyware and Malware (especially) are not to be taken lightly! They can ruin your day and literarly damage your computer to a high extent. Besides, i highly suspect antivirus companies might create themselves viruses since the market is working great for them. I have seen really disturbing reviews on such topic, so i am not talking just for show. Beware and stay safe. Thank you for reading my guide, i hope all goes well for you.