I just fixed your computer.

Hello.

I just spent about six hours fixing your computer. It was infected with several viruses, about two dozen bits of malware, and more than one thousand individual malicious registry keys, cookies, and Internet Explorer add-ons.  No, I’m not exaggerating.

As a part of this process, I did the following things:

1. I ran no fewer than five different virus and malware scanners. Each one found different infections.

2. I installed WinPatrol, SuperAntiSpyware, and Microsoft Security Essentials, each of which will monitor your PC and help to prevent future infections.

3. I installed a HOSTS file, to prevent any malicious connections.

4. I installed Google Chrome and made it the default browser. I also set the homepage to this blog entry, so you could see what I did.

Now, to prevent this from ever happening again, I have some advice to offer:

1. Stop downloading stuff.

If a program pops up offering to fix your PC, never ever click “Yes”. You had at least two of these installed. Often as not, these are themselves viruses by definition, and they’re hard as hell to get rid of. If you didn’t specifically go looking for it, do not install it!

If you see an offer for software that will make your internet experience better, don’t install it. It’s lying.

If you see a new toolbar, don’t install it. It won’t help you.

See a new search utility? Don’t install it. It’s just running google in the background anyway.

Seeing a pattern? Stop downloading stuff.

2. Use Google Chrome to browse the web. Stop using Internet Explorer right now. Here’s why.

3. Never play games or accept app invitations on Facebook. At least two of the infections on your PC were related to a Facebook app. No kidding, Facebook is not your friend. You’ve got better things to be doing with your time anyway.

Summary

Viruses and malware don’t just happen. They’re like vampires: you have to invite them in. Every virus I cleaned today was the result of a browser helper, toolbar, search utility, web helper, or Facebook app that you installed by downloading something.

Stop downloading stuff. Really.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Business, How-To

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