Every couple months, our computer club in Baton Rouge has a PC Tune-up Day for our members. This is a fund-raiser as well as a service to our members.
A few computers arrive in good shape and give us only options to optimize how they run.
Many arrive with one or more adware programs, downloader programs, viruses, or other nasties installed.
What’s a Downloader program? It’s one of the worst forms of malware. It’s not destructive in itself, but it exists to download and install other programs. For example, the guy who wants to infect you with his dialer simply pays he downloader’s owner to install his dialer program on your computer.
Fortunately, almost everyone today understands that they need to run an antivirus program all the time. When they get hit with a virus, it’s usually because they were unlucky enough to receive it in an email BEFORE they got their automatic antivirus signature update that contained the identifying signature for that virus.
Even then, their next antivirus scan typically finds and removes it easily because they never did anything that activated the virus (in effect, they received a virus egg, but didn’t crack and open the egg).
On the other end of the spectrum, too many people do not understand that they need to run an anti-spyware/anti-adware program — especially that they need to run one that protects them by an always-running component.
Unlike viruses that are spread by email, adware is often spread via ActiveX controls. These are programs that automatically download from web sites into Internet Explorer — and immediately run.
That’s the big difference! The virus shows up and you have to activate it. The ActiveX program runs immediately.
Disinfecting your system, after you’ve gotten infected, is always more difficult than preventing the infection in the first place.
There are a lot of anti-spyware programs available. Which one you use is your choice. I recommend that you use one that protects you all the time — not just one that scans periodically to try to disinfect you.
My choice for my computers and my family’s computers is VIPRE Antivirus Premium, which includes antivirus, antispyware and firewall.