Sunday, April 15, 2007

Virus world

I've not usually had much problems with viruses. I keep the kids away from my PC's as much as I can, and the number of sites I visit myself is quite small with the majority of them being return visits to sites I trust.

My mother-in-law on the other hand... Last week I dropped over to fix a problem she was having with some pop up ads. After a couple of hours I still had not fixed the problem and had to leave. Last night I returned to fix her machine while she is away over east. I spent about 5 hours trying to find a tool to remove the virus(es) that had infected her machine. The first visit I had upgraded IE to IE7 in the hope that it would prevent the popups. It didn't. I had installed AVG antivirus when I originally set it up for her and that didn't stop them. I tried spy-bot search and destroy, which found a number of cookies and virus entries in the registry. It happily removed them, but next time you ran a scan they were back. It might have been a false positive, except the ads were still poping up in new windows. Frustrating.

I then tried Avast which didn't seem to find any issues. Pop ups still occuring. My recent purchase of a new laptop (Dell) included a three year subscription to McAfee (Security Center) so I thought i'd give that a try. It removed 20 threats (most of them cookies) and since then two different applications that looked suspicious were blocked giving me the option to remove them. Finally, the ads seemed to have stopped.

This has altered my view of McAfee another step towards the positive. I used to hate the thing, but granted this opinion was based on an old version (some years ago) which would chew up huge chunks of CPU processing, slowing down normal activities. Doing a compile with McAfee running would increase the compile time considerably. I've not done any recent benchmarking but I wonder if now, with dual core CPU's if this is finally less of an issue.

I'm still stunned that IE7 along with several different Anti-spyware tools (I tried 2 blockers, 1 scanner and 3 antivirus programs) that none of them stopped this virus. One of them was WinFixer which I've read about having infected several big name web sites (including Microsoft and AOL I think)

I think i'll recommend my mother-in-law gets the McAfee subscription especially if it keeps her machine clean.

1 comment:

ManiacD said...

Have you tried running Ad-Aware I use that when cleaning up friends and family computers. I find that it's one of the best out there for removing spyware.