Virus Clean and Malware Removal
Compuboost removes all kinds of virus and malware from your PC, desktop, laptop Apple imac and macbook. We offer fast service, expert analysis, data confidentiality and warranty that even if you get infected again, and it is your fault, we will clean your system again within the warranty period. We do a 40 point cleanup, and include tuning up the computer as well so that your system is returned to tip-top shape.
Founded in 1991, we have serviced well over 250,000 computers, and have thousands of local satisfied customers. It doesn’t matter if your computer cannot boot up, or locks up, or is intermittent, we will fix your computer for you.
What is a virus versus Malware?.
Virus in the computer world are programs or codes that a malicious user tries to load (hack) onto a victims computer. Malware is a more recent development. It is perfectly running code, that has been changed to do something unexpected or undesired by the victim. For example, a famous old virus was the ILoveYou virus, which when activated, began overwriting the victims files, one by one. The removal of the virus is known as virus clean.
Malware is something different. Usually not intended to destroy the system, it tries to get the user to do something. For example, an early malware was derived from the familiar “Welcome, you have mail” message that AOL uses whenever someone logs into their system. By simply changing the message to something else, like: “Please call this number” or “Click here to speed up your computer”, where of course when you click on it something else happens, that is Malware. It is ironic that many malware is derived from actual, legitimate clever tricks by the major software companies in building their websites and systems. Malware removal techniques are employed to remove this nuisance.
How Virus and virus clean began, sort of:
In the early days, many virus were destructive, and evil people (or young high schoolers with nothing better to do) got pleasure out of destroying other peoples data. It became something of a contest between hackers and the subcommunity of defenders (anti-virus writers) to stop them. At first there was no real monetary gain for the hackers, it was purely misogynistic mischief.
This was the world of 20 yrs ago, where the Norton, Symantecs McAfee arose and every PC needed an antivirus to stop these threats. These threats orginally came from file transfers using floppy discs, then as the internet propogated, came from downloading files. Three developments made the spread of virus easy.
First, music, then video could be downloaded. At first legally, then as artists realized they were losing money, they sued the offending companies, like Napster, and music downloads went underground. This was perfect for virus writers, who created download sites and attached their various virus to them and infecting anyone so foolish or greedy to try to get free, illegitimate content.
Second, pornography exploded on the internet. Unlike music, this industry has always been shady, and hackers quickly pounced on the opportunity to infect millions of curious or prurient users that ventured into viewing naked girls and sexual acts.
Third, email exploded into the mainstream. Rather than infect each persons email directly, which is rather difficult to do, hackers found that users would forward jokes, photos, and other little tidbits to each other as they found them on the web. This created a chain reaction that allowed virus to spread remarkably fast. If each user forwards the infected email joke to ten others, and each of those then forwards to ten more, you have a geometric explosion of infection.
Viruses were quickly developed that would not only mail to the people forwarded, but email to everyone on that persons address book. The subsequent explosion in propagation allowed the worst of these virus to spread in hours to millions upon millions of users.
Thus the three MAXIMS OF OLD of keeping clean of virus became: Don’t download free music or video, Stay away from Pornography, Don’t read or pass on Email you don’t know, became a general rule of thumb.
The Virus Threat Evolves to Malware
As antivirus software became prevalent, and simple virus no longer could penetrate computers because anti virus software became better at identifying modified programs (infected files), and can spot them on the fly. This caused a performance hit because every file has to be scanned before use.
With the success of the antivirus, hackers had to evolve. Simple virus became harder and harder to inject into users computers. The hackers changed too, whereas originally there were many smart, but amateur people doing the hacking. professionals soon took over.
The spread of advertising on the web, primarily sparked by Google and other search engines, meant there was now money, big amounts of money, in steering people to websites. As advertisers like Google charged their customer based on the click through, clever 3rd party advertisers now realised if they can steer someone to a website, they can get paid as well.
With big money the professional programmers entered the scene. Well versed in computer code, many with advanced degrees, all with immense technical experience, these new “hackers” have developed wholesale new schemes to affect the average user. The goal is to steer you to websites, where the owner of the website pays someone to get him or her the views.
Webowners can pay Google or some other legitimate outfit, but they are expensive, sometimes as much as $20 for EACH click through. Webowners then work through third party advertisers who charge much less, say $5 per click through.
Well, these third party advertisers rely on a web of barely moral schemes to entice you to click to a site, and some actually go over the line of legality, just to get paid. For example, a common malware is Phishing, where at a website or email, a message will pop up claiming something and ask you to react.
For example, during Christmas season, a malware can mask themselves as UPS, the delivery company, and provide a pop-up that says ‘UPS cannot deliver your package. Please click here for more info” where of course when you click it you are redirected somewhere else, not UPS at all. This pop up may look just like a UPS pop up (anything on the web can be copied with little effort), it may even have UPS-Help-line in the address (address can also be copied or slightly changed with little effort). If you follow their instructions, then their “Phishing” expedition is successful, and you have been caught.
These third party advertisers rely on a web of barely moral schemes to entice you to click to a site, and some actually go over the line of legality, just to get paid. For example, a common malware is Phishing, where at a website or email, a message will pop up claiming something and ask you to react. For example, during Christmas season, a malware can mask themselves as UPS, the delivery company, and provide a pop-up that says ‘UPS cannot deliver your package. Please click here for more info” where of course when you click it you are redirected somewhere else, not UPS at all.
This pop up may look just like a UPS pop up (anything on the web can be copied with little effort), it may even have UPS-Help-line in the address (address can also be copied or slightly changed with little effort). If you follow their instructions, then their “Phishing” expedition is successful, and you have been caught.
A common scheme the the fake browser. Babylon was a common malware, that when loaded, looks somewhat like the Google search page. However, any attempt to search for anything will bring up Babylons customers first, then the actual Google search listing. So if the user searches for Soap, he may get several listing totally unrelated to soap, maybe toys or something like that, then after scrolling down a few lines, the actual soap listings found by Google will appear. More sophisted malware search engines will bring up Soap listings, but from their customers first, upsetting the normal Google listing order.
Another common scheme is the portal, where a useful free tool (like a video player) is bundled with undesireable software (aka Malware), and during installation of the useful free tool, the malware is installed as well. It is important to remember that malware is not a virus. It is not a modified file. It is actually a program does something useful to a few people, but a nuisance to most. A full virus clean and malware removal may eliminate an actually desired program here and there, but it is better to remove a malware portal and find and alternative.
Most malware today involves redirecting websites to advertising. Many throw up fake messages that a person is infected, and download a cleaner to fix it. Of course the cleaner is laced with more malware, creating more web redirection and even more offers for this that and the other thing.
Effects of Malware and Virus
Virus Clean & Malware Removal when System Boots
Most malware allows the system to boot up. After all, if the user’s system is dead, it does no good to try to redirect his internet searches if he can’t get his computer to power up. Fortunate this is the majority of infections today. What does happen is the system is very slow, the internet searches do not work, the email has problems sending or receiving. After virus clean and malware removal the computer will run fine again.
Sometimes the system does not boot. This is usually not the intention of the Malware, but what happens is third party malware software, like Norton and such, are able to detect the malware, but do an incomplete removal, either because it is a variation of a malware, or the malware was incompletely installed in the first place.
Since the malware may have infected system files, but then Norton goes in and blasts those files, now you have a Mexican Standoff (neither side wins), and the result is the system does not boot. Virus clean and malware removal consist of doing two things. First the system must be made bootable, then the malware is removed. Hence it costs more to remove malware when a system does not boot. After virus clean and malware removal the computer will boot normally and run fine again.
Virus Clean, Virus Removal and Malware removal
Virus clean and malware removal are relatively difficult today. Since they are written mostly by professionals, and not high school hackers anymore, they usually have several entry points, many backup attacks, and are extremely well disguised. Because they are actual programs or derived from actual programs, and may actually do something useful to a few people (perhaps there is someone that want car ads every 30 minutes), they are difficult to distiguish to remove.
Just running tools by anti virus and malware writers are usually not enough. We use manual intervention, looking for things or items slightly out of place, to ferret out malware and their hidden triggers. These items may be on the desktop, in user files, hidden system files, even oddities like slight color difference or names. Many malware looks and acts just like the real thing (for example Chromium versus Chrome) so it takes an experienced eye to find them all. After malware removal the computer will run fine again.
Encryption and Ransomware Virus
Recently, a new and even more insidious virus and malware has appeared. Using Malware techniques, it penetrates your computer, but lies low. In the meantime, over a period of several days, depending on how many files you have, it begins to encrypt your files.
Encryption means scrambling the contents of the file so that it cannot be read without a decrypting key. Every computer has the capability of doing encryption–it is built into the Operating system, such as Windows and Mac. Some professions require it, like lawyers, medical industry, research center at large companies and universities. However, for the average user, that capability is never turned on because it is not needed. It slows up the computer because of the need to encrypt and decrypt each time during reading and writing. The encryption algorithm is so good that loss of the key means the data is unusable, with no possibility of recovery.
So the malware takes advantage of the builtin encryption capability of every computer. It encrypts every or every key file in the background. The user is unaware encryption is going on, because he can still read and write files (the computer automatically loads the decrypt key during reads and writes at this time). The only thing he may notice is that the hard drive activity is furious and non-stop.
Finally, when all files are encrypted, the virus then pops up the extortion message: “You have 48 hours to Pay XXX to me to get the decrypt key. Otherwise the key will be destroyed and your data is loss). Usually XXX is some sort of untraceable money, like Bitcoin, Gift cards, International MO (Money Orders) etc. If infected by an Extortion virus, there is usually no remedy. One must pay, or else reconstruct his drive from backups. The sad part is even after paying, the subsequent key may not be obtainable or work, so you can lose your data and your money.
Even after virus removal the files remain encrypted, so this is the worst type of virus.
We offer other types of services as well:
- New PC: Low cost or high end computers and workstations
- Data Recovery: Recover data from standard drives, SSDs, Flash
- Virus Clean and Malware removal; Fix PC and Macs
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