Malware, Viruses, Worms, Trojan Horses, Spyware, Adware, and Rootkits
No one enjoys when their computer gets infected by malware or viruses. This article will explain how to remove malware once your computer gets infected, explain how it may have occurred, and gives you tools you can use to remove the malware from your computer.
Ways in which users contract malware are by downloading suspicious files, visiting suspicious websites, or opening suspicious email attachments. If you are going to download a file or open an attachment make sure it is from a credible source. Be very careful if you download files via peer to peer file sharing programs, many files that look legit maybe viruses.
Signs of viruses are:
- Your homepage is redirected to another web site
- Your firewall or Anti-virus program keeps turning off and/or you cannot update it.
- Your computer slows down significantly online or offline.
- You have strange computer icons and/or shortcuts on your desktop.
- You find new programs in your Add/Remove programs that look bogus and you did not install
- Strange and unexpected toolbars appear in your web browser
- You are not able to run any Anti-virus or Anti-malware programs, they do not open or popup for a moment and then disappear.
- You have unusual sounds or displays on your computer
A virus is usually an executable file that the user needs to execute in order to get infected, these files are usually downloaded. There are a few different types of infections you can contract, such as a trojan horse, worm, rootkit, or adware / spyware.
A Trojan horse is a program that at first can look safe, but in reality is wreaking havoc in the background of your system.
A worm is like a virus, except it replicates itself and spreads and no user action is required for this. It can use email, instant messages, or network loopholes to spread.
Spyware or Adware does not harm your computer. Instead it goes after you by stealing personal information from you such as credit card information, passwords, and email by logging the keyboard keys you press.
Root-kits are hidden malicious programs that gain administrative access to your computer. They can corrupt your hard drive and your master boot record (MBR). Your MBR is needed to boot your computer into the Operating System. Root-kits are typically the most difficult to remove from your system.
Depending on how bad your computer is infected, the first step you should take is booting your computer into safe mode, if possible. This can be done by pressing the F8 button before windows loads and then choosing Safe mode with Networking. Then you can use any of the malware removal tools listed below to get rid of the infection. Be cautious with Combofix, use it only for a severely infected computer. If you are unable to boot into safe mode, you may have to use other methods, such as removing the hard drive from the computer, attaching it to another computer, and running a virus scan on it.