As 2012 arrives and time marches forward, the art of removing infections from computers becomes less and less feasible as a solution. As recently as two years ago, removing an infection or Malware from a computer seemed like a worthwhile repair.
So much has happened since then.
Not only has the number of ‘hackers’ increased worldwide, but the sophistication of today’s infections are unlike anything encountered before 2011. Also the motives to break into a machine are different;
– to gain control of your machines
– skimming all user activity, logging all keystrokes
– using the machine as a roBOT for malicious behavior like sending SPAM and DDoS attacks
– research who is in PC owner’s addresses book and pinpoint attacks to specific people
While Enterprise computers have access to large corporate networks and intellectual property, personal computers at home are not managed by an IT department and require individuals to maintain and secure their own data and computers.
The best approach to ‘getting rid’ of an infection like a virus, worm, rootkits, Trojan, malware or other infiltrations is to back up everything, and reinstall the system fresh. Infections are so complex they are likely to leave all kinds of dormant and hidden files that are yet to be recognized by antivirus and Malware removal systems, yet will trigger an infection download in the future. For these reasons, and others, A complete reformat and reinstall of the operating system will assure the user these things are no longer on the computer.
A well respected forum used in IT professional is found at Major Geeks, which has posted and maintains a Malware Removal Guide. In this guide it is explained better than we can state it:
Malware has progressed to the point where some infections can be extremely difficult to fully remove. And there can be residual left over damage to many aspects of the Windows Operating System that may also be very hard to repair. As such, the act of removing malware can sometimes cause unexpected problems due to how the malware has hooked itself into your operating system. While in most cases, we do not have problems, we cannot guarantee that there will not be any. Thus it would be a very good idea for you to begin by backing up all important personal information before undertaking the act of malware removal. You can bypass this step at your own risk, but remember that we cannot guarantee what the result will be from trying to remove malware from your PC.
The time it takes to attempt to clean it is greater than backing up and reinstalling. Delivering the machine to an expert who only wants to clean the machine should be considered a costly and wasteful approach. Aside from lost money, is lost time for independent business professionals.
The best consideration for getting back up and running immediately is to have the professional back up the machine and reinstall the operating system. Preferably to the latest release of Microsoft (Windows 7 if possible).
Alternatively, if the computer is mainly used for limited purposes like accessing the Web, making basic documents and writing / reviewing email, an alternative is to upgrade the machine to FREE Linux system like OpenSuSe, Ubuntu or Mint.
All of these alternative systems are free, VERY easy to use and often do not require a machine replacement. None of these Linux varieties are going to get infected like a Microsoft Windows system. While Linux operating systems mostly expect at least 2GB of memory and about 60GB of hard drive space – there are versions like Puppy Linux and Lubuntu designed for much older machines. Additionally, the most popular Linux releases are compatible with popular and secure automatic backup software, like Backblaze, CrashPlan, Ubuntu One and Dropbox.
Contact your Menlo Technical representative today for more information on how to upgrade your system.