Monday, December 15, 2008

Important virus info

I am doing a bit of blogging this morning instead of skiing. Why? Because the wind chill is 17 below up at the top of the mountain. I like to think of myself as fairly tough in cold weather, but that's just unpleasant.

This weekend we discovered that one of our computers had been attacked by a set of nasty viruses and malware. Even with Norton Antivirus installed and running, they still got in and we aren't sure from where. Getting rid of them was a true pain in the butt so I figured I would share some tips with people.
  1. If you are a Norton Antivirus customer, go get your free upgrade to Antivirus 2009. In addition to being better at catching things, it is a lot lighter weight, meaning less performance impact and memory use. The normal auto-update process will get some changes, but will not update versions for you.
  2. Use Spybot Search and Destroy. This is a good, free tool for scanning your system and removing most problems. However, in this case it found the viruses and thought it removed them. It did not get everything and when you rebooted, the virus was back and fully entrenched.
  3. My newest discovery and the only one that got rid of everything was MalwareBytes Anti-Malware. It is free and was a savior in this pain.
  4. If you have a virus, learn to boot your system in Safe Mode. To do this, shut your computer down, then power it back on. As it starts booting (before the Windows logo shows up), start tapping the F8 key every second or two. This should bring up a text menu with an option of SAFE MODE, and SAFE MODE WITH NETWORKING. I have found that the networking part is very helpful. Safe mode boots your system, but with very minimal drivers and no applications. This allows you to work with the system without the virus actually running.
Our systems are all clean again. Hope you never have to use this information!
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