Friday, June 15, 2012

Caught A VIRUS? Don't worry keep reading.

                                        Caught A Virus?

If you've let your guard down--or even if you haven't--it can be hard to
tell if your PC is infected. Here's what to do if you suspect the worst.

Heard this one before? You must run antivirus software and keep it up to
date or else your PC will get infected, you'll lose all your data, and
you'll incur the wrath of every e-mail buddy you unknowingly infect because
of your carelessness.

You know they're right. Yet for one reason or another, you're not running
antivirus software, or you are but it's not up to date. Maybe you turned
off your virus scanner because it conflicted with another program. Maybe
you got tired of upgrading or maybe your annual subscription of virus definitions recently
expired, and you've put off renewing.

It happens. It's nothing to be ashamed of. But chances are, either you're
infected right now, as we speak, or you will be very soon.

For a few days, the Netsky.p worm was infecting about 2,500
PCs a day. Meanwhile the MySQL bot infected approximately 100 systems a
minute (albeit not necessarily desktop PCs). As David Perry, global
director of education for security software provider Trend Micro, puts it,

"An unprotected [Windows] computer will become owned by a bot within 14

Today's viruses, worms, and so-called bots--which turn your PC into a
zombie that does the hacker's bidding (such as mass-mailing spam)--aren't
going to announce their presence. Real viruses aren't like the ones in
Hollywood movies that melt down whole networks in seconds and destroy alien
spacecraft. They operate in the background, quietly altering data, stealing
private operations, or using your PC for their own illegal ends. This makes
them hard to spot if you're not well protected.

Is Your PC "Owned?"

I should start by saying that not every system oddity is due to a virus,
worm, or bot. Is your system slowing down? Is your hard drive filling up
rapidly? Are programs crashing without warning? These symptoms are more
likely caused by Windows, or badly written legitimate programs, rather than

After all, people who write malware want to hide their program's
presence. People who write commercial software put icons all over your
desktop. Who's going to work harder to go unnoticed?

Other indicators that may, in fact, indicate that there's nothing that you
need to worry about, include:

* An automated e-mail telling you that you're sending out infected mail.
E-mail viruses and worms typically come from faked addresses.

* A frantic note from a friend saying they've been infected, and therefore
so have you. This is likely a hoax. It's especially suspicious if the note
tells you the virus can't be detected but you can get rid of it by deleting
one simple file. Don't be fooled--and don't delete that file.

I'm not saying that you should ignore such warnings. Copy the subject line
or a snippet from the body of the e-mail and plug it into your favorite
search engine to see if other people have received the same note. A
security site may have already pegged it as a hoax.

Sniffing Out an Infection:

There are signs that indicate that your PC is actually infected. A lot of
network activity coming from your system (when you're not actually using
Internet) can be a good indicator that something is amiss. A good software
firewall, such as ZoneAlarm, will ask your permission before letting
anything leave your PC, and will give you enough information to help you
judge if the outgoing data is legitimate. 

If you're interested in being a PC detective, you can sniff around further
for malware. By hitting Ctrl-Alt-Delete in Windows, you'll bring up the
Task Manager, which will show you the various processes your system is
running. Most, if not all, are legit, but if you see a file name that looks
suspicious, type it into a search engine and find out what it is.

Want another place to look? In Windows XP, click Start, Run, type
"services.msc" in the box, and press Enter. You'll see detailed
descriptions of the services Windows is running. Something look weird?
Check with your search engine.

Finally, you can do more detective work by selecting Start, Run, and typing
"msconfig" in the box. With this tool you not only see the services
running, but also the programs that your system is launching at startup.
Again, check for anything weird.

If any of these tools won't run--or if your security software won't run--
that in itself is a good sign your computer is infected. Some viruses
intentionally disable such programs as a way to protect themselves.

What to Do Next:

Once you're fairly sure your system is infected, don't panic. There are
steps you can take to assess the damage, depending on your current level of

* If you don't have any antivirus software on your system, or if the
software has stopped working, stay online and go for a free scan at one of
several Web sites. There's McAfee FreeScan, Symantec Security Check, and
Trend Micro's HouseCall. If one doesn't find anything, try two.
 In fact, running a free online virus scan is a good way to double-check the work of
your own local antivirus program. When you're done, buy or download a real
antivirus program.

* If you have antivirus software, but it isn't active, get offline, unplug
wires-- whatever it takes to stop your computer from communicating via the
Internet. Then, promptly perform a scan with the installed software.

* If nothing seems to be working, do more research on the Web. There are
several online virus libraries where you can find out about known viruses.
These sites often provide instructions for removing viruses--if manual
removal is possible--or a free removal tool if it isn't. Check out , Eset's
Virus Descriptions, McAffee's Virus Glossary, Symantec's Virus
Encyclopedia, or Trend Micro's Virus Encyclopedia.

A Microgram of Prevention

Assuming your system is now clean, you need to make sure it stays that way.
Preventing a breach of your computer's security is far more effective than
cleaning up the mess afterwards. Start with a good security program.

Don't want to shell out any money? You can cobble together security through
free downloads, such as AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition, ZoneAlarm (a personal
firewall), and Ad-Aware SE (an antispyware tool).

Just make sure you keep all security software up to date. The bad guys
constantly try out new ways to fool security programs. Any security tool
without regular, easy (if not automatic) updates isn't worth your money or
your time.

Speaking of updating, the same goes for Windows. Use Windows Update (it's
right there on your Start Menu) to make sure you're getting all of the high
priority updates. You can check by right-clicking on 'My Computer'

Here are a few more pointers for a virus-free life:

* Be careful with e-mail. Set your e-mail software security settings to
high. Don't open messages with generic-sounding subjects that don't apply
specifically to you from people you don't know. Don't open an attachment
unless you're expecting it.

* If you have broadband Internet access, such as DSL or cable, get a
router, even if you only have one PC. A router adds an extra layer of
protection because your PC is not connecting directly with the Internet.

* Check your Internet ports. These are doorways between your computer and
the Internet can be open, in which case your PC is very vulnerable; closed,
but still somewhat vulnerable; or stealthed (or hidden), which is safest.

Visit Gibson Research's Web site and run the free ShieldsUP test to see
your ports' status. If some ports show up as closed--or worse yet, open--
check your router's documentation to find out how to hide them.

Please let us know if you found this information useful by posting a comment below.
Thank you.


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