Viruses & Worms
Yes, you can get a "malware infection" even if you do have current antivirus
software running on your machine. How can that be? Well the short answer
is only with your help. Willingly or un-willingly, (usually the latter) you
put that malware on your machine. What is worse is that since this infection
is "under the radar" your antivirus will not be able to find it.
So how do you get rid of this malware? None of the antivirus software, free
or paid for, will work since the malware is protected by the operating system.
For a Windows system you will have to start and run the machine in safe mode.
That is not a simple process for your average user. It makes your computer
a very primitive machine without the normal video, audio or even Wi-Fi features
but it removes the environment that the malware needs to live and breed in.
Now the antivirus software can find it and kill it. It usually takes several
antivirus programs to get all of it. Two of my favorites are Malwarebytes
and HitMan Pro. You may have to restore some files from a backup if they
were deleted buy the antivirus scan. If the infection was a system file you
may need to repair or re-install the operating system. That can be a monumental
How does this work?
Your antivirus is prevented from finding and fixing this by the operating
system. When you first start your computer it is very primitive. The "chip"
has enough "smarts" to check for a clock, memory and is there a boot sector
on the hard drive. Even the boot sector is too small to hold all the information
to bring up your computer but it does have instructions on how to find the
rest of the startup stuff. The operating system, (Windows in most cases but
other operating systems have the same problem) has not even started yet.
After the startup has loaded all the devices like your sound card, video
card, USB devices and so on we start the Windows operating system and hand
over this whole package of devices that are ready to run to Windows. Windows
will prevent the antivirus from scanning anything in this group because it
thinks this is protected and that you want these programs to be running.
Of course this is where the malware is hiding. It is "under the radar" so
How did it get in here?
The short answer is, you put it there. Willingly or un-willingly, usually
the later, it took some action on your part. When people have a problem with
their computer they call me. I can direct them to a link on my website where
they click the link and I have access to their machine. In my case there
is a window that opens and alerts the user that I have access to their machine
and they can terminate that at any time. It is considered benign because
the user has to initiate the contact. They are informed that I have access
and they can terminate it from their end with the click of a mouse.
But what if there was no alert window to tell you that someone else had access
to your machine? No clue is visible from the user's side that anything has
happened. The malware is loaded in seconds and you're compromised. Often
the malware's first act is to contact other sites and bring in even more
The virus seldom comes from the e-mail but rather the link in the e-mail
that you clicked on. And these people stay up late trying to create a link
that entices you to click it.
Websites that cater to gambling and pornography sites tend to be malware
central. Free downloads frequently include other software bundled up with
the one you wanted. Sometimes one of those is the one that got you.
Available antivirus programs will protect you from the "simple" malware and
there is a lot of that out there. I prefer Microsoft Security Essentials
for Windows 7 and Windows Defender for Windows 8 but there are other AV programs
available. I recommend the free ones because the paid ones don't seem to
offer any better protection. Don't waste a bunch of money on them.
If you think you are immune to this because you have an Apple think again.
In fact if you have been thinking this way you are probably infected by now.
There has been something of an "Urban Myth" that Apple computers don't get
viruses. That is not even close to true. And UNIX, in its many forms, is
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