Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
Tools, tips and techniques to prevent malware infections from reaching or impacting your machine.
An update to your popup-blocking software may be in order if you get the message 'SymRealWinOpen is undefined' on your machine.
Several anti-malware programs can cause conflicts if they are all trying to run real-time scans together.
Scanning for malware regularly is a good idea. Whether or not you are doing it too much is a matter of opinion. What matters is that you are doing it!
Blocking all email on a machine is going to be tricky. There are some other ways to do online banking securely.
If there is malware on the flash drive, it could very well be in the files from that drive that you are copying to your computer.
For a virus to infect a smart phone, it would have to be written specifically for that smart phone and poses little danger to your network system. But what kind of protection do you need for (and from) her laptop?
Compressing files for security can give you just a little bit of gain if done with proper compression software. A better strategy is to have a good security process in place.
It's extremely unlikely to get a virus by just looking at an email these days. The same applies to spyware.
Ransomware infecting an external drive is a danger if your computer itself is in danger of a malware infection.
Sophisticated viruses for smart phones are certainly predicted for the future. Do you need to worry about it yet?
Many computers come pre-configured with security suites. I'll look at why you might or might not want to keep them, and why they might not be free.
Letting your anti-malware subscription lapse is never a good idea. I'll look at why that is, and the alternative you have.
An external hard drive does run certain risks when it comes to malware, but often not the ones we think of. Avoiding malware remains the best solution.
Improving data security is best done by keeping anti-malware scans up to date, and practicing safe internet policy.
Turning off remote assistance is an incremental improvement. But it is a very small increment in a much larger puzzle.
By running a non-Windows OS within Windows using a virtual machine you can avoid some issues, but only certain types.
Anti-malware software is amazingly tuned and optimized for doing what it does. On top of that, scanning all your files might not always be needed.
An unfortunately common attack vector for malware is via malicious or hacked websites. I'll look at the signs, and the steps you need to take.
Avoiding ransomware is the same as avoiding any malware. And, you know? A full backup will save you from any problems.
Win 7 Home Security 2012 is the latest in a long line of so-called "scareware" trojans. I'll review this malware and how to stay safe.
Repeatedly getting trojans or any form of malware simply shouldn't happen. To resolve this, we need to drop back to basic security principles.
It's frustrating to go through the steps of cleaning your machine of malware only to have it return almost instantly. We'll look at possible causes.
In an ideal world, we'd prevent malicious software from ever reaching our machines and thus, we'd never need to remove malware.
When using a portable USB flash drive or disk it's important to understand the risk of infection; you may not be as safe as you think.
There are many choices when looking for solutions to protect your system. I'll review how I look for things and how I make my decisions.
It's something we take for granted, but copying files from PC to PC is one avenue for malware to spread. I'll review the best way to stay safe.
How do you safely install virus protection - when you don't yet have virus protection? A firewall is very good security. That plus one other practice should keep you safe.
Popups that appear in your internet browser are usually fixed using a good popup blocker.
While no single anti-virus program can catch all viruses, running more than one anti-virus program can cause problems. And it also might not help.
A very common scam has people supposedly from Microsoft or your ISP or other authorities calling to help you with computer problems. Don't fall for it.
Intrusion attempts are actually common - you'd be surprised at how much internet traffic is due to infected machines trying to infect other machines.
Windows tries to ensure that you have anti-malware tools installed, and warns you if it thinks you don't. Sometimes it's wrong.
Messages that indicate you have a problem and recommend a specific download as a solution are immediately suspect. There's typically a safer solution.
After following all of the recommendations to keep your machine safe and secure, it's tempting to think that you're done and you are now safe. You're not.
Microsoft Security Essentials is a basic anti-malware package that's available for free from Microsoft. I'll demonstrate how to install and configure MSE.
Autorun is an increasingly used attack vector for malware. Common techniques to turn it off are incomplete. I'll show you how to turn it off, and recommend you do so.
Scanning email downloads in real-time can interfere with a smooth download. Sometimes you need to adjust your settings.
I tend to avoid simultaneous virus scans. What's more important is to make sure your several tools are not competing as they search for various types of malware.
Mounting a disk drive on your system can expose you to various types of malware, most notably viruses. We'll look at steps to do so safely.
Websites open in different browsers, windows, or tabs should be unable to interact or see each other. Emphasis on "should".
Basic internet safety is about protecting your computer from viruses and malware. Once that is in place, it's safe to browse the internet.
Keeping the database of viruses that your anti-virus program uses up to date is critical. Here's why.
"Is my PC secure" really has only one answer: no. A more practical question is: what steps can you take to be as secure as possible?
With all the reports of sniffing and malware and hacks ... is it even possible to bank online securely? Yes. If you're careful.
Stopping real-time anti-virus scans opens you up for sudden virus attacks that you don't see coming. Sometimes, email scans are a different problem.
It's best not to click on spam links. But if you must, there are a few steps above and beyond a sandbox that can add some more protection.
Keystroke loggers can log a lot more than just keystrokes. We'll look at a couple of ideas for bypassing them, and the chances that you can.
There is a reason that virus protection developers are not offering installations for systems still running XP SP2. The upgrade to SP3 protects your system from numerous security problems.
With daily dire warnings and admonitions, it's easy to believe that the internet is dangerous. With appropriate and simple safeguards, it needn't be.
The Microsoft Security Essentials rating recently released was testing the tool in a way that ignored basic security practices. You can draw your own conclusions.
Normally, Microsoft Security Essentials should handle updating itself properly, but reinstalling might do the trick.
Your anti-virus program may claim successful virus removal, but if symptoms remain then clearly the job's not really done.
Using Linux for banking can certainly increase your online security a notch. Is it necessary? Well, that's a matter of opinion.
Clicking on an email with a Trojan can be dangerous. I explore some immediate steps to take to check your system and mark it as spam.
Antivirus 2010 and similar are malware that tries to fool you into installing viruses or spyware, and then charges you for the promise of removal.
Warez, or pirated software, while free often comes with an exceptionally high cost in the form of viruses, spyware and more.
"To help protect your computer, Windows has closed this program" is a sign that Data Execution Prevention has been invoked. I'll look at what that is.
Infected and malicious computers out on the internet are continually looking for ways to infect your machine. A firewall is an important barrier.
Using a dedicated machine is one approach to significantly improving the security of online operations. I'll examine the approach and alternatives.
Many anti-malware products offer both a "quick" and "full" scan. I'll examine the common difference, and outline what I generally suggest you do.
If you realize that an unexpected download has begun and think it might be malicious, it's good to try and stop the download right away.
It's common for machines to be overloaded with security software. Too much, however, can cause problems. I'll look at the minimum needed.
Connecting to the internet without protection in place is a very dangerous thing to do. Fortunately, this danger is very easily dealt with.
A vault is a place where programs like Windows Defender put suspected malware rather than deleting them. Typically, it's managed right in the program.
Internet connected computers are constantly probed for vulnerabilities. Many come from China, but safety steps are the same no matter where from.
It comes as no surprise that different computer protection tools operate differently. Here's a short rundown on my recommendation.
Anti-malware doesn't always stop infection - especially if it is not up-to-date. It's all about keeping yourself safe on the internet.
A firewall traditionally protects you from threats coming from the network. A technician's remote access session might well have been invited in.
You may still be getting viruses even though you run Norton because of your own computer habits. There are a few steps to take to increase security.
It's possible to get malware, even with anti-malware tools installed, for a variety of reasons. I discuss some of the reasons why this happens that I feel are the most significant.
A bank sending messages as attachments doesn't understand security. This sounds like phishing.
It's possible that even with your anti-malware tools running and everything up to date to still fall victim to malware. Unfortunately not everyone keeps their tools running on their system up to date.
In an effort to prevent malware from hijacking your browser's home page anti-spyware software may inadvertently prevent you from changing it as well.
A password tool may bypass a few keyloggers - but that's no reason to use it. You should be thinking of your overall computer and account safety.
It sounds counter-intuitive, but avoiding your keyboard will not bypass keyloggers. I'll look at why, and what you need to do instead.
Many computers are online all the time, receiving no additional threat from hackers. It's your browsing habits that matter.
Using an on screen keyboard instead of a real keyboard might stop some logging, but there's no guarantee that other techniques aren't also being used.
The best (and only) way to stop keyloggers is to prevent malware from installing itself on your computer. Malware can see everything...
Microsoft Security Essentials provides basic anti-virus and anti-spyware scanning for free. It appears to be a reasonable anti-malware tool for many.
While it seems like temporarily unplugging from the internet would block much of what malware might do, in reality it doesn't stop much.