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HOW TO

Is Your Computer Sick?
By: Developer Shed
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    2004-09-22

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    Is Your Computer Sick?
    by Jim Edwards

    Viruses and spyware usually show up on your computer one of
    two ways.

    Either they invade your system with a frontal assault like
    the Huns attacking the Romans, or they sneak in a back door
    like a cat burglar.

    Either way, once a virus or piece of spyware gets on your
    system, getting it off can rate harder than curing a severe
    case of trench foot!

    Viruses, malicious programs designed to disrupt normal
    computing, and spyware, programs intended to literally "spy"
    on your activities, can enter your computer a number of
    ways.

    Most commonly they enter your system through an email
    attachment, by sharing files with an infected computer by
    disk, as a "ride along" with a 3rd party program you
    install, or through a "back door" port in your computer.

    Regardless of how they get on your system, once in place,
    they cause no end of headaches and frustration.

    The following represent typical signs you may suffer from
    infection by a virus or piece of spyware.

    Your computer starts acting oddly by doing things it never
    did previously.

    Your modem starts trying to dial out to the Internet without
    you initiating a surfing session.

    You notice that files start disappearing, the system stalls,
    runs slowly, or even crashes frequently.

    Your computer takes progressively longer to boot up every
    time you start it or you notice that your available hard
    drive space has disappeared. Strange popup windows appear,
    even when you're not surfing the web, or you delete a
    program and it "magically" reappears next time you boot the
    system.

    If you suspect you a virus or a piece of spyware has invaded
    your computer, follow these steps to first identify and then
    delete the offending code:

    Step 1 - Back up your important files, but remember to scan
    these files for viruses before reinstalling to avoid
    accidentally re-infecting your system.

    Step 2 - Update your anti-virus definitions and perform a
    scan of your hard drive.

    If you don't carry virus protection, or you suspect your
    anti-virus software got corrupted somehow, then log on to
    www.pandasoftware.com and use the free Panda Active Scan
    service to check your hard drive for viruses.

    Follow the instructions for quarantining and removing the
    offending files.

    Step 3 - Scan your hard drive with an adware, scumware, or
    spyware detection and removal tool like Adaware
    www.lavasoft.de/support/download/ or Spybot
    http://spybot.safer-networking.de/.

    Step 4 - In many cases, when the virus or spyware program
    gets installed with a free utility or game you download from
    the Web, you must usually uninstall the utility or game to
    finally get rid of the problem once and for all.

    Step 5 - Avoid re-infection by keeping your anti-virus and
    firewall up-to-date at all times.

    As a last resort, if you run into a program you simply can't
    get rid of, but can figure out the offending file's name, do
    a search for the file name on Google.com. Often you will
    find you're not the first victim and may get valuable advice
    for cleaning up your system.

    However, be very careful of the information you find and
    think twice before modifying any system files.

    --
    Jim Edwards is a syndicated newspaper columnist and the
    co-author of an amazing new ebook that will teach you how
    to use fr^e articles to quickly drive thousands of targeted
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    DISCLAIMER: The content provided in this article is not warranted or guaranteed by Developer Shed, Inc. The content provided is intended for entertainment and/or educational purposes in order to introduce to the reader key ideas, concepts, and/or product reviews. As such it is incumbent upon the reader to employ real-world tactics for security and implementation of best practices. We are not liable for any negative consequences that may result from implementing any information covered in our articles or tutorials. If this is a hardware review, it is not recommended to open and/or modify your hardware.

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