Virus Protection Guide

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razorpetti37

Does anyone else having the annoying popups in the bottom right corner of your screen every time you resume from "sleep mode" with Avast! installed? I like this software, but I can't figure out how to disable the popup notification that the virus definitions have been updated (along with the female voice saying this as well).

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Hey.That_Dude

There is a game mode where it will disable all popup notifications.

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wk

u can easily disable sound, just go to setting and untick "enable avast sound"

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thewildman

Along time ago I had one which made every program run slow, caused file transfers to slow to snail pace and the computer would often freeze up for a few seconds.

I tried to remove it but you couldn't uninstall it properly and it would remain elusive. It was called 'Norton'. Luckily there were utilities available to remove it and all traces of it from the registry etc. and after that my PC ran great.

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luke904

I hate norton...

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dedgar

I made the lame comment earlier about how did they get a pic of my sisters browser.
Guess who called me this morning about an email she opened and the after affects.
lulz

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ThermoGel

My mother-in-law?

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luke904

I've never used anti virus on my desktop, and I've never gotten a virus. I scan every few months with malwarebytes, but that's it.

I use MSE on my laptop and I kind of like it, but I don't think I need it.

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newmexican41177

rkill, renamed to iExplore, works well to stop malicious processes so that you can carry on with scrubbing your pc. Unhide also works well when the malware has hidden your files.

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The Mac

yup...my goto tool.

there is also a .com, and .scr version as well just incase.

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wk

thanks for great article.
I'm an old user of free AVAST antivirus and I always thought that AVAST free AV deserve to be No.1 free AV. I'm glad to see that day.

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wumpus

Where's the option of simply removing the biggest threats to your machine?

Adobe products
Java
Windows (how anybody managed to be worse than windows shocks me, but Microsoft's success has taught many not to care about such things.)

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The Mac

Bulwinkle? is that you?

lol

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Bullwinkle J Moose

No it's not me but he makes a good point

My position is....
Why waste time trying to remove viruses and malware when you can never be shure you fixed the problem(s)

It takes less time to restore a clean backup and be absolutely shure the problem is gone

I use Driveshield on a old XP machine and search the web for malware to test it

I have NEVER had any malware or virus problem with Driveshield and I don't have ANY Microsoft Security Updates
NONE!

If YOU or anyone else at Maximum PC can find a virus or any piece of malware that can permanently damage my computer or data, please post a link and I will test it on my machine

IF you can find ANYTHING that can permanently damage my data or computer, then and only then will I waste 1 minute and 32 seconds restoring a clean backup

But you can waste all the time you want with your problems and trying to remove them

LOSERS

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The Mac

dsmn...

i should have known better...

lol

Well, that level of security is a complete waste of time to me.

I have more important things to do with my time than lock down every single thing that "Might" cause me problems.

In the event that something does happen, the couple hours it takes to repair it is much less expensive than the emotional currency id have to spend on worrying about it.

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Bullwinkle J Moose

Quote
"In the event that something does happen, the couple hours it takes to repair it is much less expensive than the emotional currency id have to spend on worrying about it."

You made "my" point

You "Should" worry if you spend hours thinking that you are repairing it

With all the Zero day bugs and Gov't sponsored malware out there, "you" can NEVER possibly know if and when it is truly fixed

The difference is; you "think" you fixed it after hours of work when you could simply "know" that its fixed by restoring a clean backup in a few minutes

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The Mac

Im not paranoid, i dont spend energy on those kinds of things.

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Bullwinkle J Moose

Contradict yourself much?

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The Mac

not at all, i suggest you re-read my original post. I believe you have misunderstood what i am saying.

I do not spend energy concerning myself with those kinds of things.

If something happens, i will deal with it when it happens.

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ZX9RDan89

A nice tool that I've used several times is Kaspersky's rescue (free). It runs off a bootable CD or USB and after running a few updates (it needs to be connected) it scans and cleans the infected PC. Its nice because it doesn't boot the PC's OS so the malware doesn't get to start up and block the AV.

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Jeffredo

Every few months I get a call from my sister about their computer being screwed up. She lets her nine year old son use it unsupervised and their IE or Firefox always look like that picture at the top of the article as a result. He messes it up so badly its beyond my ability to repair and I end up reinstalling Windows. I've told her time and again what the problem is and even told my nephew what "not" to do to no avail. Finally showed her how to reinstall Windows and said I'm done. Five times in a year and a half is too much.

Everyone talks about kids being so intuitively adept at using a computer. That's bull. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing and they know just enough to get themselves into trouble.

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Slugbait

Any time a family member lets me re-install Windows, I partition the hard drive and create an image.

20 minutes for an image drop beats hours for re-install of the OS, service packs, other criticals, apps and tweaks. And they can do it themselves...

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germanicevich

Congratulations Paul for one of the best articles that I read in MaximumPC, and definitively the best in "PC transmissible diseases".
Being far from a expert, still I get calls from family, friends, coworkers and cheapskates asking to revive ailing old computers.
I am going to save and keep it in my emergencies USB, together with your recommended (free) downloads.
Thanks again and have a nice day.

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Paul_Lilly

Glad you enjoyed it!

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anc51699

My record at my job for the most toolbars I've ever seen installed on someone's pc was 9. It took 2 minutes for IE to load, and she couldn't figure out why.

On a side note, I remember that purple gorilla! What was it's name again? I remember he was a nice bit of spyware, though, but he sang songs and did tricks to make up for it.

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anc51699

BonziBuddy, that was it!

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The Mac

ugh....

i dont know how many times i removed bonzi-buddy over the years.

100s probobly...

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Vecna6667

Did you guys test any of the live disk anti-virus programs like Avira's rescue system? Might be interesting to see which of those programs work best.

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Damnlogin

AOL and Smiley Central toolbar hahaha. That takes me back...

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The Mac

To this day, i have to convince my boss that Smiley Central is spyware. And hes computer literate.

He re-installs it when im not looking.

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RubberDucky

Does anyone have a unbiased source of side by side comparisons of Anti Virus software? I am bummed that Maximum PC doesn't have an "always up to date" post of this available.

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reutnes

av-comparatives.org did a pretty comprehensive study last March.

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Paul_Lilly

Check the April issue of Maximum PC. In it, we reviewed 10 security suites, including three free programs, that were voted on by our readers.

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j_j_montez

The effectiveness changes from day-to-day with each definitions update. The top 10 generally stay the same on the lists I've seen from time to time.

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pseizure2000

"ComboFix, a powerful cleanup tool that can either save the day or leave your PC unable to operate correctly."

LoL wut?

I must've used combo fix thousands of times fixing various systems. It's safer than using most any other utilities out there.

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Paul_Lilly

ComboFix is not a tool for the inexperienced user to run willy-nilly, as this thread (and others like it) can attest.

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Hey.That_Dude

Passwords: I believe I saw something quite funny... where was that... oh yeah: https://www.xkcd.com/936/
The best passwords use simple substitutions and are long as hell.
Of course, the best password in the world still can't do shite if you break the Hash.
Another great thing to do is if you have KeyPass or any other software that keeps your passwords for you then you can use this random password generator (it's friggin' awesome) https://www.grc.com/passwords.htm

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dedgar

How'd you get that pic of my sisters browser?

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Mediziner

What do you mean "something wrong"? Mine's like that.

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SpecNode

You cannot fix stupid users.

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jbwhite99

Paul, that toolbar infested browser looks awesome - how can I has free Lobster dinner?

Make sure you keep your virus software up to date, and one thing I don't like - don't blow away System programs - I will always google (I guess not Bing, since that leads to more malware) the program name.exe - to find out what it is doing. There are numerous websites that tell you what a program is, and whether it is or isn't malware.

+1 on Hijack This - that seems to be cool, and the people that help out are even cooler.

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PCWolf

Whats really sad is that I know a few morons who's PCs almost look that bad. about half the browser real estate screen was filled with toolbars, half of those Porn toolbars. One PC I repaired was so Bad, It brought Malwarebytes Anti-Malware to it's knees & caused it to crash several times. Nothing would clean it since nothing would install or run on the computer properly. So I had to wipe the drive & reinstall the OS. If you PC looks this bad,
you have 3 choices (in Order)

1: Learn how to Clean your PC & keep it safe from Internet Evil by not installing everything you see.

2: Pay someone lots of Money to fix it for you.

3: Go buy a Mac because It's made for dumb users like you.

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j_j_montez

When I worked in an authorized Apple reseller, I saw plenty of infected machines. It's not as easy as an unprotected Windows machine, but that can cause the user to be more careless. I had one user bring in a macbook they had owned for a week, they installed Limewire (this was a few years ago) and after some downloading, the computer wouldn't even boot. Had to do a fresh install. I find it's easier to install Web of Trust, Malwarebytes (the paid edition), an ad and flash blocker, and a basic anti virus software. Adding to this a slap on the head, they should do better. If not, just like learning to back up, some things need to be learned the hard way.

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PCLinuxguy

preaching to the choir around these parts :-) I have a neighbor like that and my fist thought was " Ok.. she's too stupid top use it properly.. maybe I should have her get an imac so that she can't mess it up. it'll be cheaper.." especially since she paid $2k for a poorly done $500 pc from some no name computer shop thinking she's getting a great deal. same mindset as most mac users

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Paul_Lilly

"So I had to wipe the drive & reinstall the OS."

I've come across several instances where this was the best option, whether it's because malware was too deeply embedded, or because it was the least time consuming option.

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Neufeldt2002

Good article Paul, longest I ever took to "Fix" an infected PC was 13 hrs. because they didn't have a install disc. They paid for it, but it was the last time I said I would ever do that again. Wipe and reinstall is the only sure way to know that malware of any kind is gone.

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Shadow Death

As have I. There have been cases back when Windows 7 was new, where I would get asked to look at a Windows XP machine that was infected. I would instantly cringe then just tell them to back their important stuff up and bring me their disks. Long nights of coffee and foul language followed.

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