Responding to a Malware Infection!

Malware ResponseMalware (bad software) infections are one of the biggest threats that computer users have to deal with today.  Most people do not respond properly to a suspected virus or malware infection, and their response often leads to more downtime and more headaches.  Here are some steps you should follow in responding to a possible malware infection:

5 Steps to Follow

  1. Isolate the Computer – This is probably the most important step.  Any computer that you think may be infected needs to be isolated from the rest of the network by unplugging it from the router or modem.  The easiest way to do this is to unplug the cable from the NIC card or to turn off the wireless card in the computer.
  2. Place the Computer in Safe Mode – Before using anti-virus or anti-spyware software on your computer, you should update the definitions.  To accomplish this in the safest manner possible, you should reboot the computer using safe mode (Press F8 when starting the computer for Windows OS).  It is less likely that the malware will run in safe mode and also reduces the chance that other computers on your network will get infected when you connect back to the network to update definitions.  Another option is to use a live CD disk such as the AVG Rescue CD.
  3. Back Up All Important Information – While you are on the infected computer in safe mode, use this time to back up all the important information on your computer.  Use a flash drive or an external hard drive to do this.
  4. Scan the Computer – Using the malware detection software you have on the computer or have downloaded and installed on the computer, scan the whole hard drive for any infections.  If possible, it is a good idea to use more than one anti-malware or anti-virus software when scanning your computer to make sure all infections have been identified.  It is also a good idea to scan more than once.  Reboot the computer between each scan to make sure everything is working properly on the computer.
  5. Reboot the System – After rebooting, test all devices and look at the computer system to see if everything is working properly.  If you are still having issues, the infection may be more widespread than you first thought which may require manually removing one or more infections.  At this point, I would recommend calling a professional tech service person to handle the infected computer.  It is easy to end up with a computer that will not boot and needs repaired or an operating system which needs reinstalled after such a malware infection.  If you don’t feel comfortable with doing this, it may be a good idea to call someone else.

If you do not feel comfortable responding to a possible malware infection, isolate the computer from the network/internet and call someone for assistance.

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