Please remember to backup your files!

Another “malware” (spyware, adware, etc) infection this week. My friend had a really bad situation. His Windows 98 machine was infected with 113 malware programs. As soon as a clean-up was finished, I would relaunch Adaware and they were all back!

I then tried to update his virus software’s definitions so that I could run a virus scan. It turns out the virus software was an older OEM version which update availability had expired. So I found a good free (and up-to-date) virus scanner, installed it, and booted into safe mode (holding ctrl while booting). Then ran a full virus scan and 54 viruses and trojans were discovered! The virus scanner got most of them but had trouble removing a few.

So then I looked those specific ones up through Google, and found a free tool from Trend. I ran that and it seemed to do the trick cleaning off the stragglers.

Now, to prevent future occurrences…

I set the virus scanner up to protect the system and get frequent updates automatically.

Then installed a free personal firewall, and configured to allow the common applications (web, mail, streaming video).

Then I made sure all of the windows critical updates were completed (especially the IE patches).

Then I enabled all protection through Spywareblaster (which modifies browser settings) so that the common hooks that spyware authors use were disabled.

The machine is all healthy now! I was thinking that it was a good ting the viruses and Trojans were “only” installing spyware and not deleting files and other malicious things. Please remember to backup your files!

Here are the free tools I used, I hope they can help others:

Free virus protection from Grisoft:

http://www.grisoft.com/us/us_dwnl_free.php

Free malware cleaner from TrendMicro:

Part 1: http://www.trendmicro.com/ftp/products/tsc/sysclean.com

Part 2: http://www.trendmicro.com/download/pattern.asp

Free malware cleaner from Lavasoft:

http://www.lavasoftusa.com/support/download/#free

Free personal firewall from Sygate:

http://smb.sygate.com/products/spf_standard.htm

Microsoft Windows Security Updates:

http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com/

Free prevention through browser settings from JavaCool Software:

http://www.javacoolsoftware.com/spywareblaster.html

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