Proactively protect yourself from malware

Did you know that you could get malware on your computer that cannot be detected by any antivirus software? I’m not talking about those simple viruses that just slow down your computer, and that antivirus software removes. Such “viruses” can actually be removed easily without the use of any antivirus software – just load up WhatInStartup , disable the offending entries, and the virus is gone (you should back up and then format your whole computer soon after anyway, just in case there’s something more to the virus – no matter what “clean” results the antivirus software gives you).

If the malware is really effective, you will have no idea you have the malware. After removing the virus, even with antivirus software you may have no idea that it is still there. If it’s really nasty, there’s something called a rootkit included. A rootkit will implant itself generally as a system driver, and will spy on you without your knowledge. It may be detected, but if you were one of the first systems infected, if you have been selectively targeted by a hacker with malware made just for you and a small group of other people, or if for some other reason the security database has not identified the signature yet – your software will not detect it and you are in danger of even having your identity stolen.

Do not rely on any antivirus software. if antivirus software ever says you aren’t clean, do not ever touch your computer again for any banking or internet access until you have done a clean install of your entire system, even after removing the virus.

You must proactively protect yourself from malware, and not ever get any. Remember that every time you open an executable file, you may not even be aware that you have been infected, and that you are being spied on the very moment after you opened it. The process cannot be reversed until you do a clean install of your whole computer.

Malware is getting more and more sophisticated. For example, a security researcher developed a rootkit called Blue Pill . If you open an executable with Blue Pill in it, you have no idea that your computer has suddenly become a virtual machine. Ever heard of software like VirtualBox? A hacker makes your computer run in their choice of software, even VirtualBox if they want, and that software with your OS in it is under their complete control –  if you ever connect to the internet, they see your whole computer! Your whole operating system is under the hacker’s control and supervision. Your identity can be stolen whenever your internet connection is enabled. 

Now Blue Pill was 1) not made with the intent to be used for malware, and 2) is not really 100% undetectable since other interested researchers have jumped fast to address this – but even now, any rootkits similar to Blue Pill, or any variants that malware authors can come up with, are so sophisticated that you have to follow special procedures to detect them that you would never ever think about in the course of normally using your computer.

HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF:

  • Do not ever open any executable files – ever – unless you are sure they come from a trusted source that screens submissions – such as if you downloaded it from CNet, Softpedia or if you bought the software physically from a store.
  • Never, ever, ever, ever, open executables that were enclosed in e-mails or instant messages on your own computer – unless you are required to open it for business reasons, on a business computer (or in the worst case, load it up in a virtual machine like VirtualBox that you’ve set up for situations like this).
  • If any program just “did something really weird” or “did nothing”, or if your computer shows symptoms of slowdown, or if reliable antivirus software such as Kaspersky or McAfee detects an infection  – just be happy that the presence of infection showed itself, and didn’t just act normally while being infected. Just stop, back up what you need, and do a clean install of your computer. Period.
  •  Never rely on fake antivirus websites with popups that say you have a million infections -those websites are themselves viruses to force you to download so called “antivirus software” than itself IS A VIRUS! Use Kaspersky or McAfee or other software that you are likely to see in an actual store, and make sure you are only purchasing or using them from a store or from their official website. Only use free “scanners” or other antivirus tools that are provided directly from the reliable vendors’ official websites.

I hope this trick has been helpful and informative to you.

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About tricksoflife

My name is Robert Florescu and I'll be posting random observations about interesting "tricks" I've found in general.
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