Monday, August 26, 2013

Getting Rid of Malware

Like the Islamists coming to our country with the intention of overthrowing the government, malware is still getting into our computers and making a nuisance of itself.

At least with the immigrant enemies, we know what their agenda is because they keep telling us. With malware however, there is an overt impact and a covert impact. Some writers say the covert impact is largely identity theft and access to passwords, bank accounts etc. I'm not sure what the motives behind these attacks are, but I do know that they are a bloody nuisance.

Despite using Zonealarm virus security and firewall, which has been excellent since I began using it many years ago, malware still sneaks in, usually because we let it. It accompanies genuine software patches and updates.

Last week I had a small pop-up (see example above) at the bottom right of my screen telling me my Adobe Flash needed updating. As a user of Adobe Flash, I clicked on the update link and sure enough an update to Adobe Flash arrived. Unfortunately, it was accompanied by a malware program called News.Net.

News.Net installs its own search engine and a pop-up banner with dozens of news stories, the weather and so on, all seemingly interesting stuff. What happens when you click on any of the links on the pop-up is anyone's guess. I certainly didn't do that.

How to Get Rid of Malware

If, like me, you are a one man band without an IT Department to handle these things, what you need do is search for "delete malware" or whatever the bug is and you'll find a cornucopia of advice about killing it off.

Some of the advice will lead to software sales that may or may not rid your computer of such annoyances. Other advice is in fora were victims tell of their experiences.

I had little luck using the remedies suggested, one of which, the most obvious, was to uninstall the software from my computer. I tried, but found that the News.Net hackers had cunningly programmed the "uninstall" button out of my Windows 7 operating system. No luck there.

After several hours of seeking a solution, I booted my computer into Safe Mode and loaded the uninstall software screen. When I right clicked on the News.Net name I saw an uninstall option. I clicked it and fortunately, it worked. I got rid of the ugly bit of malware.

After losing three hours of my time, I was a bit pissed off, but relieved that I had defeated the evil entrenched in my beloved laptop.

Immediately after, I ran a Zonealarm scan and have since bought Hitman Pro malware software which I run daily.

The Lesson?

For me, the lesson was, don't download software unless you are sure of it's source and that it is genuine. If I want an update to Adobe programs, of which I have many, I will do it from the Adobe site. Other programs I use like Zonealarm and Roboform have update links I use periodically to check for updates.

Don't download something you aren't sure about otherwise you may be caught out with ransomware, malware or adware that you can well do without.


PS: I take the extra precautions of backing up my system and also using Folder Lock to encrypt and hide my client files and my financial records.

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