Absolute Computers offers a Virus, malware and adware removal service.
We can typically clean your system up without reloading the operating system. We offer a free diagnostic to identify the threats and then quote you on removing them. To completely remove a virus, spyware and/or other malware, make sure you are protected as well as possible from future outbreaks, and install anti-vrius and anti-spyware programs, we charge 1 – 2 hours labor at $60/hr. How much depends on the “hands on” time it takes to remove. We do these repairs in the order received. To get your system cleaned just drop it off during our normal business hours and we will take care of the rest.
What is Malware?
- Malware is any malicious software that you do not want on your computer. It can be something that installs without your permission, a virus, trojan, adware, spyware, scareware, worm, keylogger, toolbar, rootkit, etc.
- Viruses are made by people who want to be destructive, or by people who just want to make a famous virus, or who just want to play a prank.
- Trojans may want your machine to be a bot used in an army. The army can then attack target websites at the attacker’s command. Other trojans install back doors on your machine for other hacking purposes. Other trojans are out to steal your passwords, or worse, bank account information.
- Adware is made by people who wish to profit by having you fill out surveys, watch ads, see pop ups, direct you to websites, force advertisements on you, etc.
- Spyware self installs on your computer and gathers information about your Internet use, steals passwords and spies on you.
- Scareware is basically scam software. It pretends your computer has a problem or is infected with spyware or adware and hopes to trick you into purchasing the product that will “rescue” you. This is also referred to as “ransomware” and typically tries to get $40 or $50 out of you. Paying this will not help get unwanted software off of your machine. If you did pay this fee please dispute the charges with your credit card company. They have heard this before.
- Worms are self-replicating programs that typically spread without any human intervention.
Removal takes time. Depending on the speed of your machine and the amount of data on it, scanning, removing, updating, etc can easily take 24hrs. We do not have a magic program that just removes them. Removing malware can take 4 or 5 different programs and sometimes registry edits still need to be made, file associations repaired, user permissions restored, etc once the repairs are complete. A handful of people like researching their infection and repairing their machines themselves. This is possible. The advantage of bringing your machine here for service is that we remove malware all day, every day. Also, certain “outbreaks” seem to happen, so when you bring your unit in, there is a very good chance we already have a lot of experience with whatever is on your machine. Some of this malware can “respawn” days after it is removed and we try to remove ALL of it from your machine.
How malware gets on your computer:
- Third party applications like Java. You probably have Java on your computer. It is needed to visit certain websites and play online games, chat, view images in 3D, etc. You can get the latest version here: www.java.com. Java is a good program, you just need to make sure you have an updated version installed.
- You installed something like a toolbar or a screensaver, or downloaded something you shouldn’t have and it was infected because the malware was attached to it or embedded in it.
- Often once adware is on your machine, it will automatically download and install more malware.
- Advertisements on a website that appear to be a pop up window may say something like “Your computer is infected, click here…” As soon as you click on a link like that, you are going to be infected.
- Some websites exist just to infect your computer. If you browse around long enough you will encounter these sites without doing anything “wrong” other than just visiting the website.
- Out of date virus scanners miss new threats. Some virus scanners only search for “viruses” and not all malware. When your machine is in for service we will install and update the latest prevention tools and get rid of any you were using that are not up to par.
Preventing future outbreaks:
- Using these best practices you can eliminate most threats, but please be aware that there is no way to be 100% secure. It does not matter what type of computer you have or which operating system you are running. The people that make malware are always ahead of the curve. Virus scanners can only scan for existing threats.
- Install all of the latest updates to your machine.
- We currently recommend Microsoft Security Essentials. It is free, can update itself regularly and does a great job. It runs quietly in the background and helps defend your computer against spyware, viruses, worms, Trojans, and other malicious software. You can get a copy of it here: www.microsoft.com/security/pc-security/mse.aspx
- We also recommend you have the latest version of Malwarebytes installed.
- Do not click on links if you do not know where they are taking you. Do not open email from people you do not know, and even if you know them, do not open any links if they have suddenly emailed you a “cool new link” to check out. Sometimes they are infected and do not even know about it and the malware hijakcs their email. Do not open email attachments unless you are expecting them.
- Never click “Agree” or “OK” to close a pop up window. Instead, click the red “x” in the top right corner of the window or press Alt + F4 to close the window.