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Adware, Malware, Spyware & Viruses

Technicians spend most of their days addressing complaints of computers running slow and not performing correctly or up to their owner's standards or expectations. Unlike mechanics who can blame customers for not changing their oil or coming in for regular service, computer problems can either lay dormant for a while or occur all at once with little warning or notice. Our job is not to blame the client, but rather to educate our client as to what has occurred, locate, isolate and remove visible problems and clean areas of potential danger. A technician who only removes problems is not doing the customer justice: it is imperative that we put in place measures to protect the client from future damage or harm.

In order to tell if your computer has been infected you should refer to the list of symptoms below rather than relying on your current computer protection. Common Sense is a much better guide! The symptoms listed below may be the result of Adware, Malware, Spyware a Virus or can be indications of problems with your computer's operating system or hardware.

Microsoft Corporation Carefully Details Symptoms of a computer virus below:

  • The computer runs slower than usual.
  • The computer stops responding, or it locks up frequently.
  • The computer crashes, and then it restarts every few minutes.
  • The computer restarts on its own. Additionally, the computer does not run as usual.
  • Applications on the computer do not work correctly.
  • Disks or disk drives are inaccessible.
  • You cannot print items correctly.
  • You see unusual error messages.
  • You see distorted menus and dialog boxes.
  • There is a double extension on an attachment that you recently opened, such as a .jpg, .vbs, .gif, or .exe. extension.
  • An antivirus program is disabled for no reason. Additionally, the antivirus program cannot be restarted.
  • An antivirus program cannot be installed on the computer, or the antivirus program will not run.
  • New icons appear on the desktop that you did not put there, or the icons are not associated with any recently installed programs.
  • Strange sounds or music plays from the speakers unexpectedly.
  • A program disappears from the computer even though you did not intentionally remove the program.
  • False Sense of Security

    Many people try to do the right thing and purchase Anti-Virus Software or even Internet Security Suites in hopes of preventing problems on their computer. These people are told over and over again by sales professionals and technicians that this is the proper course of action and understandably they are upset, shocked and angered when they find their computers infected with Adware,Spyware,Malware or Viruses.

    The problem is two-fold in nature: only half solved by placing these security measures on your machine the other part of the equation that nobody speak about is how to change your computing and internet surfing behaviors to minimize and reduce the opportunity for infection.

    Think of software protection as investing in a nice alarm system for your house and having a family member forget to set the alarm and lock the door. Just because you have a system in place does not mean that you will use it properly. Anti-Virus and Internet Security Suites act as alarm systems alerting users of dangers to their system. In some cases, these warnings are seen as nuisances and are ignored. In other cases people forget to keep their computers running at night and miss the daily or weekly scans. We also find times where customers do not update the software or renew the subscriptions. These are obvious cases where the customer could have lessened the chance of problems.

    People fail to realize two very important points when it comes to protecting their computer: one product will not detect and fix all problems and more importantly, people must change their computing habits to keep safe. A wonderful article was written by the Dort Federal Credit Union (link listed below) that explains how to lessen the likelihood of becoming infected with spyware.

    Despite popular belief, not all spyware and viruses are the result of browsed or downloaded music and pornography. This is not to say that they do not cause problems, because they too often have hidden embedded programs that can cause great harm. What I am saying is that people too often overlook and dismiss smiley faces and icons as innocent and only concentrate on the most obvious. Fun Web Products is a term given to web optimizers, search enhancers, toolbars, screen savers, icons and other desktop and or web tools and utilities. These programs seem child-like, innocent and harmless but cause tremendous problems for computer users and should be avoided and removed.

    If you believe your computer has been infected, please stop by our office or schedule an appointment.

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