Helpful Tools for Cleaning Up a Spyware or Virus Infected PC

I’m often asked by friends, “What’s the best way to protect or remove viruses and spyware from my computer?” Of course, it’s usually accompanied with clenched teeth and tight fists and maybe a few choice words about the virus writers out there. After all, lately it just seems like there is a lot of computer crud out there on the Internet and it seems like it is way, way too easy to catch something that makes your computer freak out. Pop-ups, fake antivirus programs, redirected Google searches – there seems to be no end to the “creativity” of these criminals.

Windows Live Safety Scanner

So, you’re wondering if your PC has caught something. A great first tool to try is Microsoft’s Windows Live Safety Scanner. This is a web based scanner, meaning that you visit the webpage and it provides a one-time scan that searches your computer for Trojans, Viruses, Spyware, etc. Once the page loads, find the bluish button labeled, “Full Service Scan”. Clicking it will take you into an extensive scan of your computer where it will attempt to ferret out any bad programs running on your PC. Note: this particular scanner can take some time to run, sometimes up to a few hours. I’ll sometimes run it overnight on my home computers. When it finishes running, a simplified list appears showing all the tasks/operations that took place and any bad things that were cleaned off of the PC. Continue reading this: hack whatsapp

Using Windows Live Safety Scanner might free your computer of any infections, but to help keep things protected, you’ll need an antivirus/antispyware program that continuously runs on your computer. That’s where Microsoft Security Essentials can help.

Microsoft Security Essentials

This is a free anti-virus/anti-malware program for users of Windows operating systems. It will run on Windows XP Service Pack 2 and above, Windows Vista Service Pack 1 and above, or Windows 7. There’s a great little Installation Video on how to install it found on the main page, but in a nutshell, once you visit the Microsoft Security Essentials page, click on the large, blue “Download Now” button and follow the prompts to allow it to run.

Once you’ve run this, and the program has finished installing, a small little “green house” icon will appear in your computer’s tray area (Usually down by the clock). Green is good. It means the program has installed right and is updated. The program is supposed to update itself automatically, but if you’re disconnected from the Internet (as in the case of a roaming laptop) you may notice the icon turn yellow. This is a reminder that the program needs to download the latest program definition files. These are essential to keep your computer safe from the latest threats. If the icon is red, well, this likely means that Security Essentials has found a virus or spyware and needs your permission to clean. Clicking on the red icon will bring up a dialog box that will give a recommended course of action. Usually this means just clicking on the big red “Clean” button and letting it do its thing.

Security Essentials in the Trenches — My battle with a Google WebPage Redirector

People have asked me what I think of this free program from Microsoft. Because it’s free, some are a little hesitant to try it. Maybe they wonder if Microsoft has done a decent enough job with this program. Honestly I had my own doubts, and for a free program, I wasn’t expecting much. But, after seeing it in action, I’ve been pleasantly surprised.

Back in November my laptop caught a Google redirector type Trojan virus. I was experimenting with different search terms to try and find my “Singing” To A Cup story. I could clearly see it in the Google results, but clicking on it would take me to an entirely different website. At first, I was dumbfounded. Had my mouse clicked on the wrong link? Had I blinked and missed it? I tried the search again… and got another page, different from the first. What? I tried it a third time and the real “Singing” page came up. Talk about driving a web searcher crazy! I installed Microsoft Security Essentials and in the first scan it found the Trojan. Because this virus redirector was so new (I caught it just a few days after it was “born”) I had to wait a few days for an updated virus definition file. Once that was automatically downloaded, a scan killed the Trojan and restored my web browser to it’s proper Google search behavior. Visit the up coming post: hack whatsapp

Battling a Trojan Rootkit – and getting some help

Last week I was tasked with cleaning a user’s XP Home computer of a root kit infection (It had an annoying bsdiskx.sys file (Anyone battled a bubnix infection lately?) in the system32 folder) Microsoft Security Essentials detected the problem, but was unable to remove the virus. Normally that would be the end of the story; I’d be trying another product. But then I noticed some information on their dialog box: Users of Security Essentials are offered free email and phone support. Would they really help? Really answer the phone? I decided to give it a try and ended up talking with a very friendly and helpful individual who offered to remote control the PC and attempt a fix. He spent close to two hours before moving the issue up to the next level (level 2) support. Secretly that actually made me feel pretty good, as he had tried the same kinds of things that I was trying. Microsoft’s Level 2 support called me back the next day, remote controlled the PC and spent another three hours attempting a fix. I was astounded. For a free product, Microsoft sure went out of its way to try and fix this problem computer.

In the end, the Bubnix root kit was found to be loading as a driver in the non-plug and play devices (had never seen that before), and through some sneaky, clever techniques, this thing was finally conquered; the file was finally deletable, and all the scans came back clean. Yes!

So, if you’re questioning if your computer is infected with something, or you just want to make sure it’s running a program that attempts to shield your PC from the bad guys, check out these Microsoft programs. As a guy who battles viruses and malware everyday in the frontline trenches, the price is right, and the protection from these two tools impresses. Recommended.