What you should know about viruses and virus removal

Viruses, spyware, and Trojan Horses are malicious software that can infect a computer. Once installed, these programs can intercept web browsing, steal passwords, supply pop-up advertising and even use the infected computer to send out spam e-mails or attack other computers. These programs are very difficult to remove. They may appear to be removed by anti-virus software but then come back again because they are often secretly stored redundantly and have hidden re-installation scripts. Even when the malicious code is destroyed, it may leave residual damage to the operating system which can be rather complex to repair and increase the risk of other infections.

Read more about malware in this article about viruses and virus removal.

How to remove rogue anti-virus programs

Virus and Trojan Horse removal can be quite complex and difficult to perform on the infected computer. Once a computer is suspected to have a security breach or virus installed everything becomes suspect. The system can not be trusted after it's integrity has been compromised. It may be necessary to remove the infected hard disk drive and clean it on another computer. Another approach is to boot the infected machine from a CD with operating system and virus removal tools installed.

After neutralizing the source of the problem restoring normal operation may require additional work. Anti-virus programs can be crippled by infections and may require re-installation. In some cases, registry keys are altered to prevent the user from reloading anti-virus programs, updating those programs, or performing operating system updates. Certain advance system configuration tools may no longer operate. Malware may leave the user unable to re-configure Internet connection settings. Correcting these problems requires rather advanced skills.

Removal of an infection and recovering from the damage it caused can be an extremely frustrating process. It is not an uncommon complaint to hear that a user has paid $150 or more for virus removal only to find that the problem comes back because remnants of the original infection or the damage it caused allow weaknesses to be exploited in the future.

One lacking the specialized skills and experience of an expert is usually better served by turning off the computer and seeking professional help. Repeat attempts to hack away at an infected system may exasperate problem. In many cases each time the afflicted computer is re-booted more malicious code is activated. Sometimes this results in the need to completely wipe out and restore the operating system and all software. If the system becomes so severely entangled it may be more cost effective to
rescue the user data and rebuild the entire system.

Blacklist: Spammers & Hackers

Operators of blogs and other web sites which allow visitors to enter comments may find this regularly updated blacklist useful. Some of our client's web sites have been attacked by robot hackers and spammers. Robots are programs running on servers that search the Internet for vunerable systems and use sophisticated algorithms to gain access to websites. Even if a robot does not get into a system, it can degrade its target's performance by flooding the server under attack by brute force.

This black list may be used to help identify and remove comment spam from blogs. There is also a blacklist of IP addresses from which attacks have been launched recently. System administrators are advised to block these IPs in their routers to stop hackers from tying up server resouces by fighting off attacks.

Increasingly, websites running the WordPress platform are a favorite target of hackers. They attempt to gain acccess and then often will use the victim as a host for sending spam email. The target website is usually left operational and the site owner may have no idea that their system has been exploited. iNetPlanet, LLC suggests using very complex passwords on WordPress sites. It is also a good practice to change the administrator username to something unique and never show that username on any publicly visible page on the website.

iNetPlanet's Blacklist
Click link above to see a report of hackers and other bad actors.

updated 04/29/2024
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