Weekend 14 November 2004

Tips & Hints

Posted 16 November, 2004

The November 702 Weekend spot looked at protecting computers from storms and Internet scams. With summer approaching, we can expect plenty of storms and damaged computers. Another thing we can expect to see are many more spyware and virus problems, which is what most of our callers asked about.

Trojan Horses

We had calls from John, Margaret, Catherine and another John about spyware programs. Spyware is currently the worse problem affecting Windows users. Many are very difficult to remove and may require the assistance of a technician.

Margaret had one of the more difficult Trojans. It makes them very difficult to remove. The following steps will get rid of most of them, but some will require a visit from a technician.

  1. Install and update Spybot Search and Destroy
  2. Install and update Adaware
  3. Install BHODemon
  4. Install CWS Shredder
  5. Install About:Buster
  6. Install and update AVG Anti-Virus (note the free version will expire on 31 December 2004)

The first step is to uninstall any programs that may be causing problems. Go to the Add/Remove Programs in the Control Panel. Given the people behind these programs are less than reputable, you cannot fully trust any uninstall routines, but go through the motions anyway.

Next, scan your system with AVG. Just because you have an anti-virus, it does not mean you do not have a tojan. Quarantine anything that is found, but be prepared for some problem files to resist removal.

Next, boot into Safe Mode. Run Spybot, Adaware, About Buster and CWS Shredder. Remove any files they find.

Run BHODemon, note that it will find legitimate toolbars such as Acrobat, Norton and Spybot. If you disable a toolbar with BHO Demon you can undo it, so don't worry about losing useful toolbars.

Finally, reboot and re-scan with all the programs. If there are still problems, it’s time to call a technician.

To avoid these problems, we recommend using Firefox as a web browser. Our Protection Kit website has details on how to protect your system from these nasties.

The next spot is scheduled for Sunday, 19 December at 10.00am. We’ll be talking about preparing your home and business computers for the holidays. If you’d like to be kept up with changes, subscribe to our monthly newsletter.

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