Any computer which is connected to the internet will be susceptable to viruses or malware which come in all shapes and sizes. There are many security programs on the market that offer a degree of virus or malware protection although due to to speed and frequency by which virus and malware writers work no program will ever be 100% effective. If your computer does get infected by a virus or malware then you can either take it to someone who will “flatten it” and re-install the operating system in many cases losing all your precious personal data such as pictures and documents etc or, You can bring it to a Dealer such as ourselves with many years of experience and we can remove the malware or viruses for you leaving all your data, programs and operating system intact. There are a few rare occasions when a complete re-install of the operating system is unavoidable but these are an exception rather than the rule. If an operating system installation is required we will endeavour to save all your personal data and replace your data after re-installation.
There are 2 methods for removing viruses,spyware and other malicious software from a computer or network. The first is to format the computer and re-install the operating system, usually losing all customers data such as email, documents, pictures etc. The second is to manually or automatically, using a suite of programs remove all the malicious software leaving the operating system and customer data intact. We use the second method. Occasionally a computer is so badly infected that a re-install is the only option available although we will save as much of the customers data as possible. Virus removal can be a very long process. As we can perform other work while virus/malware scans are running we find this the most cost effective method. We can of course also provide this service completely onsite although this is usually the more expensive option. As part of the virus removal we also complete a full computer service at no extra cost. This includes Disc cleanup, defragmentation and registry cleanup and repair if needed.
Types of malicious programs
Viruses – A Virus is a program which is designed to change the way a computer operates. A virus usually hides itself in other programs and a true virus has two purposes which are to execute(run) and replicate itself. Viruses usually fall into one of 5 distinct types. These are File, Boot sector, Multipartite, Macro, Network and Email Viruses. Viruses should be removed as soon as possible as when they infect a computer they usually allow other viruses and malicious software to be installed.
Spyware – Spyware or adware is usually bundled with ‘free’ programs in order for the software writer to obtain some kind of payment for their work. It’s function is usually to report back to a third party your computer activity. Some spyware is useful but a vast majority is used for malicious purposes. It will also have a detrimental effect on your computer operation, often slowing it down considerably and using your internet connection to send information,(often personal) to the author. It is commonly included with ‘free’ screen savers and add-ons for popular messaging clients. Several spyware vendors have recently been hit with large fines for their dubious practices. One of the most high profile cases was sony corporation who installed root kits on users computers without their knowledge. Further information with regards to the sony case can be found here (opens in a new window)
Webbots -These are dynamic web page controls which are commonly used to add functionality to a web page There are however a number of malicious webbots which have privacy concerns.
trojan(Horses) – trojans are malicious programs often masquerading as useful utilities or embedded into other programs. They mostly differ from viruses in the fact that they must be run in order to infect a computer. They are also commonly found on file sharing networks. More information can be found on the trojan horse page
Timebombs – These are programs which run on a certain date or a certain time and infect a computer with either spyware or viruses, and perform other malicious actions such as deleting files.
Browser hijacks – These are programs which take over your internet browser and can change your home/search pages and re-direct you to malicious or other web sites.
Dialers – These are programs which make a computer dial out to often a premium rate number and run up very large phone bills. These are very uncommon now as most people now use broadband for internet connection. A few years ago we had 30 or so customers from a certain isp(internet service provider) who had all received phone bills of over £500 in a month due to a dialer program. The isp obviously denied that the dialer was on their internal network.