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August « 2010 « ZolexPC Blog About Us - Remote Computer Support & Help | Zolex PC
23Aug/10Off

Viruses That Attack and Disable Antivirus Software

It is quite common to see infected PC's that have their antivirus software disabled by a virus.     The creators of viruses/malware are aware of many of the tools and software used to protect your PC against infections.  The creators of viruses/malware  can specifically write their virus to disable your Antivirus software and others.  Viruses can also disable programs or tools that you may use to remove the infections.     New variants and versions are released everyday on the internet thereby causing a delay as to when Antivirus software and other tools can be updated to combat the latest infections.    In some cases you may even have to do a manual removal of the infection in order to use some of your tools.

I had two customers this weekend, one was Windows 7 with Norton (updated subscription) and the other had AVG Free 9.0.    The Windows 7 machine only had a small infection but it did disable internet connectivity and kept Norton from updating.    The 2nd machine was Windows XP and had a very nasty rootkit on it.  AVG listed itself as running but no components were active or recognized.  The infection had completely disabled AVG.     Even after the infection was removed, AVG still needed to be reinstalled.   When your Antivirus software is disabled it is no longer doing it's job.   In this case once the shield is down, your computer is open and exposed to many other infections on the internet.

It is very easy for creators of viruses and malware to disable your Security Software.   The key is to try to protect yourself before the virus gets you.   What you can do is be wary of email attachments and keep your software updated (Windows, Java, Adobe Flash or other Adobe products, Antivirus & Antispyware, and other software).   These updates are released to fix bugs and exploits in the software and you need them up to date.    Be careful what sites you navigate to.  Watch out for suspicious videos or postings on Facebook and use complex passwords.  Remember if you are not sure don't Click it.

Once a virus is allowed in your system it can easily disable your protection and many other things.   This is why you should try to remove the infection as quickly as possible.  If you cannot do it on your own, then consult a professional.     The longer the infection(s) reside on your PC, the more damage they can do and the more doors they can open to other infections.    Some of these infections can be very nasty and result in data loss or data theft.

As the viruses get more and more advanced, the tools and security software will try to keep up with them but there will always be gaps.  You as the user must do your part in order to reduce your chances of becoming infected.     Viruses that can disable your Security Software can just as easily steal your passwords or other personal information.   It all depends on what the viruses goal is.    Watch for signs of infection and take care of it as quickly as possible.  If you do get an infection that you cannot remove, you can always count on ZolexPC to remove them for you.

Thanks for reading and have a great rest of the week.

Steve

www.zolexpc.com

17Aug/10Off

Compressed Air and How it can Save Your PC

Recently I had a customer who was  experiencing an overheating video card only while playing certain games on his PC.   These games used to play with no problems before but now were playing for about 10 minutes or so and then crashing the system.     The customer had updated with the latest drivers for his video card but that did not solve the problem.  I asked the customer if he had ever cleaned out his PC with a can of Compressed Air.  The answer was no.   When I got the machine I opened it up and saw lots of dust and lint.   It was all around the fans for his power supply and processor/CPU.   I removed the Video card which also had a fan on it, and it too was caked in dust and lint.

Dust clogs fans not allowing components to properly cool themselves. These fans are meant to keep your PC temperatures from getting too hot.   When your processor/CPU or video card gets too hot, it may shut itself down to prevent damage to itself.     This is common on older PC's that have never been cleaned out. Dusty areas, hair from pets, smoking will create dust and lint in your PC.  Normal use of your PC creates dust as well but these issues increase the amount by a lot.   Dust can also cause your PC to run louder as the fans will nick the dust while they are spinning making for a louder running computer.    When your computer is louder than it used to be it could be something as simple as just dirt, dust or lint.    It also could be something more serious but by cleaning it out, you can at least rule that out as a cause.

The good news to this dust and lint problem is the solution is simple and very cheap.  All you need is a can of compressed air.  You can find cans of compressed air in many stores, such as Staples or BestBuy, or Radio Shack.   The can will cost you about $10.    The can will come with a little straw as well like WD40 does.    The process for cleaning your PC with Compressed Air is quick and easy.

The first thing you want to do is unplug the computer from it's power supply.  You can disconnect the other cables but it is not necessary.  You just want to make sure you disconnect the power so you do not electrocute yourself.  Next remove the side case or open up your PC case.  This is usually on the right side and requires just your hand to unscrew.  (Some manufactures may differ on this ) Once the cover has been removed, use your compressed air with the straw attachment and blow out all around the computer.  You may want to look away or hold your breath as you do not want to get a cloud of dust in your face.  Next you will want to target any fans you see, these would be the power supply fan, PC fan, and CPU fan.  Hit them with short controlled bursts as well.     Once you are done, with that, simply put the cover back on, plug it back in and turn on your computer.

An extra step in relation to the video card issue I mentioned above would be to also remove the card to access the fan and remove any dust, dirt and lint it has as well.    The more powerful video cards built for gaming will have fans on them.   For the average home user, you will not need to remove your Video card unless you are experiencing specific issues related to it such as those I described above.   In this customer's case once all the dust and lint were removed, the video card worked fine with no more overheating problems.

Keeping your PC free of dust and lint is an excellent way to maintain the hardware's health and keep your PC running for a long time.    If you are having over heating issues with your PC and cleaning out the dirt and lint does not fix it, then you most likely have faulty hardware or some other issue that you may need a professional to diagnose for you.    It is a good idea to clean out your PC of dust and dirt every 3 months or so.

Spending $10 for a can of compressed air and about 10 minutes of your time can save you from having to buy a new PC.    Do yourself and your PC a favor today by cleaning it of dust and dirt.

Thanks for reading and have a great rest of the week.

Steve

www.zolexpc.com

9Aug/10Off

Why Do People Create Computer Viruses and Malware?

This is a question I get asked very often when cleaning a computer for a customer.    An article from Technibble explains that there are primarily 5 reasons or categories that explain why people create computer viruses and malware.

  • To take control of a computer and use it for specific tasks
  • To generate money
  • To steal sensitive information (credit card numbers, passwords, personal details, data etc.)
  • To prove a point, to prove it can be done, to prove ones skill or for revenge purposes
  • To cripple a computer or network

Read the full article here:

http://www.technibble.com/why-do-people-create-computer-viruses/

Though this article is from 2007 it still holds true in today's world.     The reasons are the same and the infections are still there, albeit just in a differing variations.    While some of these reasons are less frequent such as crippling computers or networks, others such as those for financial gain or the stealing of sensitive information are on the rise.

There are some infections that use viruses to achieve multiple objectives.  For example you can have an infection that  tries to scam you out of your money to pay for Software to fix the infection.  When you purchase the software for this supposed Fix, you end up downloading another piece of malicious software.  This in turn could be used to spread it to other machines or steal sensitive information from your PC.   Infections like this are quite common these days.   It is important for the user who has contracted an infection to keep an eye on your Credit Cards for unauthorized charges as well as your bank account.   Remember that one infection usually open doors to other infections on your PC.

Viruses are not going away anytime soon.   There will always be people who create viruses for financial gain.    There will always be people who create viruses to test their skills against Microsoft's and Antivirus software's Security.     There will always be some people with malicious intent on destroying computers and their networks.  The truth is that there is always an incentive for people to create viruses and malware.  Whether it be financial or personal satisfaction or malicious in nature, there is an incentive to continue making new viruses and malware and for that reason, we will not be seeing the end of viruses and malware for a long long time.

Have any other reasons you think people create computer viruses and malware?   Feel free to leave a comment.

Thanks for reading and have a great rest of the week.

Steve

www.zolexpc.com

3Aug/10Off

It Only Takes One Click to Infect Your PC.

Over the weekend, I had a customer who had contracted a nasty virus.  He attempted to fix it on his own by doing a clean install of Windows.  The Install failed and he contacted ZolexPC for help.   We were able to load a fresh copy of Windows for him.  In addition we installed Security Software on his PC and got all of his Windows updates.    Not more than 3 hours after the service was completed, the customer returned stating his machine was infected again.   How is this possible?

A quick investigation revealed that the customer upon starting up his machine,  connected to the internet and immediately went to a specific website.  The website happened to be an  illegitimate website that he thought contained adult content.  Unfortunately the website actually was a fake site that delivered a virus to his PC instead.  By navigating to this website, he contracted a virus that penetrated all of his Security Software.  Why does this happen you may ask?

Once you click on a malicious piece of software or navigate to a bogus website laced with malware/infections, you are installing/authorizing the infection to carry out it's mission.    This mission is to infect your PC.  Many infections are designed to disable your Antivirus software and other protections that Windows has.   Once the infection has been launched your computer's security has been compromised and your machine is infected.   It is also now vulnerable to other infections as well since most of your Security has been disabled due to the original infection.

One bogus website or one wrong click is all it takes to infect your PC, even a PC with all of it's software up to date.   In this particular customer's case we removed the new infection pretty quickly and informed him to stay away from that website in the future.    The website was malicious and designed to trick the user into purchasing Fake Antivirus software.  This is a common trick and scam that is used by the makers of viruses and malware.   Most will attempt to trick the user into purchasing Fake Infection Removal Software for a price.  It is especially common on Adult Sites for obvious reasons.   With all of the downloading of videos and pictures on Adult sites, they are a prime target for malware and other infections.

The creators of viruses and malware are getting more and more inventive in finding ways to infect people's computers.   You need to be very careful and aware of your surroundings when surfing the Internet.   Some websites may be obvious Fakes or bogus why others may be very sophisticated and be hard to distinguish from bad ones.   If the site looks suspicious then do not navigate to it or click on it.

Some of the newest methods being used to infect PC's are using Search Engine Results so that when you search for something popular in the news or a popular topic, websites that contain links or redirects to infections/viruses will show up in the results.   For example, you search Lindsay Lohan prison release and while most results will be legitimate there may be some that actually redirect you to an infected website that contains viruses or malware.  There you may get an error message telling you your PC is infected and to download some Fake Virus Scanner.    When searching the Internet using Google or Bing be sure to look at the results carefully before clicking on a link.  Does it look funny or odd or seem fake?    Is there any gibberish in the description?

One wrong click can spell the difference between safe surfing or contracting an infection on your PC.   Take the extra time to examine what websites you are clicking on and navigating to.  If you do get infected you can always count on the pros at ZolexPC to help you get rid of it.

Thanks for reading and have a great rest of the week.

Steve

www.zolexpc.com

   

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