How does it get into MY computer?
Viruses & other malware can get on your computer in a number of ways. In the old days (pre year 2000), most viruses came from disk media. Today, most viruses get into your system via the Internet. Microsoft Windows (all versions) AND Macintosh Operating Systems, all versions, have vulnerabilities that are exploited by malware. They can scan the internet for any computer that is connected, and place themselves on that system, without any user activity, browsing, or email downloading. Other malware are buried in email attachments. NEVER open an email attachment from someone that you DON'T know. Even thought you have an anti-virus program scanning your email, these malware may be undetectable when buried in this way.
Spyware or Adware can be loaded just by visiting a website which is designed to place it on your computer. Opening email and attachments and even attached photos can infect your machine. Once they are running on your computer, these malware programs will place themselves on the hard drive. After that, the programs will load every time the computer is started.
How do I get it off of my computer?
To remove a virus and other pests requires a sophisticated Malware removal program, or you must use a manual method as described by the anti-virus companies, or use a method implemented by the anti-virus software or special utility programs created for the particular bug. Most recent malware are clever, and cannot be removed by Norton or McAfee anti-virus programs once they are entrenched in your system. We use professional software tools and a computer system created to remove all viruses, trojans, and other malware.
Several products are available to remove spyware and Adware. You can download these, some at no cost from the websites. It should be noted that most anti-virus programs do little to protect from spyware and adware.
Today, with the accessibility of data on the internet, and the ease of sending and receiving email, there are more malware being passed between computer systems than ever before. Your anti-virus and anti-malware software is your first line of defence, and smart tactics with email and downloaded documents is your second, but occasionally, a virus or other malevolent entity may get into your computer.
A virus is a program that attaches itself to, or "infects" other programs or files. When these programs are "executed", or run, they activate the virus. The virus has a way to pass a copy of itself or "infect" other programs, as well as a "payload", which is what it does other than copy itself.
"Worm" or "Trojan (Horse)" defined
A worm is a program that propagates itself over a network, reproducing itself as it goes. Some worms have email engines, which can send email copies of the worm to others from a PC, without the user running his own email program, or even being aware that this activity is taking place.
"Spyware and Adware" defined
Spyware or Adware is a group of programs that get into your PC and become part of the operating environment, like a resident program. A spyware program will load every time windows or your browser loads, and do it's assigned task.
The purpose of Spyware or Adware varies. A Spyware or Adware program can:
1. Report your browsing activities to others via the internet
2. Report information from your computer to others via the internet
3. Cause pop-ups to appear, even when you have a pop-up stopper program
4. Send your browser to a special home page, no matter what you do
5. Dial your modem to connect you with other services via "900" numbers
6. Place "custom" toolbars on your screen to get you to visit certain sites
I'm sure there are other activities that are also done by this class of program, but these are the ones we are seeing today.
- Here are a few indicators that one of these entities is in your system:
- You are unable to boot the system, or it boots slowly
- Your virus detector indicates that you have a virus that you cannot remove
- Unusual messages on screen
- Your browser is slow or impossible to run
- You are unable to get on the internet, or visit certain websites
- You are unable to do Virus definition updates on your provider's website
- PC is slow to boot
Please call PC Power if you have any questions about Viruses, Worms, or Spyware.
Our phone number is 440-779-4080