This is the beginning of a three part installment designed to help you avoid going through the steps in my previous article. In part one we will look at several pieces of software that will help protect you from spyware and viruses, in part two we will outline safe web browsing habits, and in part three we will address safe email habits.
Turning Your Computer Into a Fortress
No one likes getting spyware and viruses, but most people don’t have any idea how to protect themselves from these rogue programs. I’m going to outline for you several pieces of software that can help you defend yourself from marauding malware.
Step One: Deport the Troublemakers
The first thing to do is make sure you know what programs are accessing the internet from your computer. There are a few ways to do this depending on how tech savvy you are. The first way is to use Netstat. Netstat is a component of Windows that is included with Windows 98, Windows XP, Windows 2000, and Windows Vista. To use it to view all of the programs using your internet connection click on Start -> RUN and type CMD. You will get a black box with something like C:\Documents And Settings\user in it. Now type NETSTAT -A -B > NETSTAT.log. After two or three minutes the command will complete. Now type NOTEPAD NETSTAT.log and you will see something that looks like this:
Now if there are any .exe or .dll files you don’t recognize you should head over to LIUtilities and enter them in their process search. If the file is a normal windows file they will let you know and you can rest assured that it is safe and you don’t have to worry about that one. Once you’ve determined that everything currently contacting the internet is ok we can move on to step two. If any of the files come back as being malicious you will need to refer back to my previous article for help.
Step 2: Build A Wall
Now go download SunBelt Personal Firewall and install it. I recommend choosing Advanced Mode during the installation as that will give you the most control over what your computer does. Once the Personal Firewall is installed disable Windows Firewall by going to Start -> Control Panel -> Security Center -> Windows Firewall and changing it to Off. No reboot your PC and get to know your new firewall. For and in depth look at Sunbelt you can read my Sunbelt Personal Firewall Guide.
Now you have done two things, you have built a wall around your PC’s internet connection by installing Sunbelt and you have staffed it with guards via AVG Antivirus.
In Part Two of this series we’ll talk about why you should always listen to your Firewall and Antivirus and how you can avoid giving away the keys to your PC through poor surfing habits.
*UPDATED* The Free version of AVG-AntiRootkit has been discontinued, I am instead recommended Panda Anti-Rootkit.
Everyone has run into this problem at one time or another, either with a family members PC or with their own. Usually it means a nightmarish ordeal of smashing Spyware, MalWare, and Viruses for hours. Well once you’ve read this article you’ll no longer need to fear.
I’ve been cleaning Viruses and Spyware for years and over time three products have made their way to the top of my list. Two of my top three are from Grisoft, AVG Anti-Rootkit and AVG Anti-Virus. The third is SuperAntiSpyware.
Your first step is going to be to download these three tools. You may have to download them on a clean PC and install them from a flash drive or CD if the infected PC can’t get to the internet. Once you’ve got them loaded up it’s time to start the war.
The first tool you’re going to need to fire up is AVG Anti-Rootkit. The installation is very standard, just click Next until you reach the end of the installation, then reboot the PC.
Now start up AVG Anti-Rootkit.
I recommend using the In-Depth Search to get the best results. The Anti-Rootkit will run for about 45 minutes before it completes, so go watch some TV, read a book, Write in your blog, or
Now that the Anti-Rootkit is done scanning tell it to clean anything it found. Now, reboot into Safe Mode. To get into Safe Mode just reboot and tap F8 on your keyboard every second or so until you see a menu. Choose Safe Mode and viola.Now that you’re in Safe mode install SuperAntiSpyware. Again the installation is very simple, just click next until you hit the end of the install.
Run SuperAntiSpyware and click Check for Updates. Once the updates are done click Scan your Computer. Choose the C:\ drive and select Complete Scan, now click Next. Again, this will take about an hour so go for a jog, fix some dinner. Anything you feel like doing. Once SuperAntiSpyware completes its scan click next and allow it to clean your system.Now the final step, Reboot into normal mode. Install AVG Anti-Virus. As usual the installation process consists of clicking next as many times as possible.
Now run AVG and click Scan Computer. Go take another hour long break while AVG works. When you return click OK and allow AVG to clean the system of anything it finds. There is a good chance that AVG Anti-Virus will find nothing at this point which means your system is squeaky clean. If AVG finds anything that it can’t remove you’ll be in for a bumpy ride since whatever is left will require special removal tools and advanced knowledge.
With these three tools you’ll be able to clean 99.9% of all spyware and viruses you run into with no trouble.
Pro Tip: As a shortcut you can actually run AVG Antivirus and SuperAntiSpyware at the same time which will cut your run time in half, but this will sometimes result in error messages when one cleans an item before the other gets to it.