Virus & Malware Removal
- Is your computer running slowly ?
- Are you seeing strange pop-up screens ?
- Has your browser's home page suddenly changed ?
- Are you seeing more ads than usual ?
If you are seeing any of the above or other strange behaviour on your computer system, there is a high chance that it has been infected with a Virus or other kind of Malware.
Don't Panic: We can help
If your machine is part of a local area network i.e. you have a number of computers connected together using either a Wi-Fi network or Ethernet cabling, the first thing that you should do is to disconnect your machine from the network - either physically unplug the network cable or switch off the Wi-Fi connection. This is to stop any virus or Trojans infecting other machines on the network. Some viruses also use sentinel programs to monitor their presence. These are complicated viruses that are made up of a number of separate programs and if the Sentinel detects one of the parts of the virus has been removed it can automatically download files from the Internet and cause re-infection.
For anti-virus scanning to be effective the machine should be started in Safe Mode when the virus scan is ran or better still, remove the hard drive and run the scan from a clean system.
This is because Rootkits can deeply infect a system and take over the normal running of the operating system so that virus detection can be avoided.
We use a number of different anti-virus products and can take all of the necessary steps to ensure that any Malware is detected and removed.
Prices range from £30 - £50 depending upon the time taken to eliminate any Malware from your system. This will depend upon a number of factors such as the size of your hard drive and the type of Malware that has infected your system.
We provide an express service that will remove over 90% of viruses within an hour, but for full peace of mind, we suggest that the machine is taken away for comprehensive scanning to remove all Malware.
I have Anti-Virus Software Installed - How did I get infected ?
This is a common question that we hear. New viruses are created at an alarming rate and no anti-virus product can provide 100% protection. Many anti-virus products rely on signature files to detect the characteristics of a known virus. If a new virus starts spreading rapidly, it takes a finite time for anti-virus vendors to write a new signature file for the virus.
For the best protection, you should ensure that the anti-virus product that you are using uses heuristic analysis. This looks at the behaviour of programs and can detect suspicious activity such as a large number of e-mails being sent from your system or attempted access to protected parts of the operating system. You should also ensure that you keep your anti-virus product up-to-date with the latest signature files, keep up-to-date with operating system patches and run the latest version of common programs such as Adobe Acrobat Reader etc. New vulnerabilities are detected all of the time and software vendors will release patches or new version of their software to address such vulnerabilities.
User Access Control (UAC) is part of modern operating system such as Windows 7 and above (it was actually introduced with Windows Vista but this version did not work very well). This ensures most programs run with reduced privileges (even if you are logged onto the system as an administrator). If a process needs to complete a task that requires elevated privileges, you will see a pop-up requiring your permission. You should pay attention to such pop-ups and not click Yes unless you are certain that the program requesting this is safe.
Viruses writers are no longer just cyber vandals who get a kick out of causing annoyance and inconvenience by effecting the normal use of computer systems - viruses are now often written as a way for criminals to make money. This may be by installing Trojans designed to capture credit card details or as is becoming more, and more common, through Ransomware attacks.
What is Ransomware ?
Ransomware is a Trojan that covertly encrypts files on your computer system. When sufficient files have been corrupted a message is displayed stating you need to pay a ransom to regain access to your files. WannaCry was a recent example that was very prevalent which displayed a screen similar to this one:
The virus writer will demand that a ransom is paid to unencrypt your files. This is normally paid by bitcoin or some other type of on-line currency making traceability more difficult.
We would NOT recommend paying the ransom as there are no guarantees that your files will be recovered and malicious software is likely to remain on your system even after you have paid a ransom making you vulnerable to future attacks.
However, without the encryption key there is no easy way to get your files back.
We can re-install your operating system in such circumstances so that you have a working computer again, but your files would need to be restored from back-up - another reason why it is important to take regular back-ups.
How to keep your systems safe
- Ensure you are using a reputable anti-virus product
- Keep your ant-virus product up-to-date (both signatures and versions of the program)
- Ensure you are using heuristic analysis
- Keep up-to-date with patches from the Operating System vendor (usually takes place automatically)
- Many patches will require a re-boot - Do so as soon as possible after installing
- Ensure you use the latest versions and apply patches to any other software that you use
- Pay close attention to UAC prompts
- Take regular back-ups
- We would recommend backing up regularly to removable storage and disconnecting it from your computer as soon as the back-up has completed. (This ensures that your back-up files cannot get infected).