How To Safely Scan Your PC For Malware

safely scan your PC for malware

Look out for malware

Is your PC running at a snail’s pace? Are you experiencing frequent pop-ups and weird goings on?

If so, it’s more than likely that your system has been infected by a virus, spyware or other nasty.

But I have antivirus; I hear you cry. OK, but that doesn’t mean your PC is entirely immune to the ‘bad guys’. It could be playing up because you have a hardware issue.

Either way, the following steps will help you discover if the cause is something more sinister.

Enter safe mode

First up, disconnect your PC from the internet.

Then boot into safe mode.

In most versions of Windows this is relatively straightforward, but if you’re using Windows 10, select you’re going to need a bit of help.

  1. Click the Start button, select the Power button but don’t click anything
  2. Hold down the Shift key and click Reboot
  3. When the full-screen menu appears chooseTroubleshooting, then Advanced Options, then Start-up Settings
  4. On the next window click Restart and wait for the next screen to appear
  5. Next, you will see a menu with numbered start-up options, select number 4 which is safe mode

If your PC runs faster in safe mode is could be a sign your system has a malware infection, or that you have a lot of legitimate programs that start up with Windows.

Get rid of temporary files

Once in safe mode, and before running a virus scan, delete your temporary files using the Disk Cleanup utility.

Download malware scanners

If you have an active antivirus program on your computer, use a different scanner for this malware check.

Remember, no antivirus program can detect 100% of malware.

If you think your PC is infected, use an on-demand scanner (e.g. BitDefender Free Edition, Malwarebytes, Microsoft’s Malicious Software Removal Tool etc.,) first and then follow up with a full scan by your real-time antivirus program.

Reconnect to the internet to download the on-demand scanner, but make sure your disconnect again before you start the scanning.

Run the setup file and follow the wizard to install the program. Once it has run, you’ll get a report on the start of your PC. If anything shows up, follow the program’s removal process. Then run a full scan with your real-time antivirus program to make sure it’s gone.

How Quickly Will A Virus Infect Your Computer?

How long does it take a virus to infect your computer

According to BullGuard, the quick answer to ‘how long does it take for a virus to infect a computer?’ depends on what the virus is and what it is programmed to do:

  • Ransomware starts encrypting files within seconds of downloading onto your computer
  • Some viruses can be timed to begin infecting your machine several days after being downloaded
  • Other viruses can download in segments to try and avoid antivirus software. Only when the last piece downloads will its dubious deeds, commence
  • A virus can also download via an email attachment, and it may start working immediately shutting down your computer

Viruses with consistent behaviour

Of course, not everything follows the same patterns and some types of viruses or malware are consistent in their behaviour, generally starting to act as soon as they download.

Examples of these are:

  • Trojan horses don’t self-replicate, unlike traditional viruses. They act as a sneaky means for a hacker to gain access to someone’s computer to steal passwords and banking information. If you don’t run antivirus software, you might never know you are infected with a Trojan
  • Spyware monitors a computer user’s activity, such as the websites they visit, without the user knowing anything about it

There’s always something new on the horizon

Computer viruses have been around for ages, and they’re continually evolving. Technological advances have not only helped create better security, but they’ve also helped virus creators develop newer strains using even more ingenious methods of infecting computers. It’s a continuous cat and mouse cycle.

It’s for that reason that it’s imperative you keep your systems protected. Of course, we’re not just talking PCs. You also have to consider laptops, tablets and your smartphone.

 

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages

Mac Users Watch Out For Fruitfly – The First Mac Malware of 2017

Apple malware fruitfly

 

As a Mac user, you’re probably shaking your head in disbelief at this news. Despite thinking Macs were completely free of malware, Malwarebytes have recently found the first piece of MacOS malware of 2017.

The old code that was discovered is simple but ingenious. It is made of only two files and yet capable of communicating with a remote command and control server, and of taking and sending screenshots.

Regardless of whether the malware is old or just appears to be, it’s relatively easy to discover and eradicate. Malwarebytes’ software will do the job, detecting it as OSX.Backdoor.Quimitchin. As the company summarises:

“Ironically, despite the age and sophistication of this malware, it uses the same old unsophisticated technique for persistence that so many other pieces of Mac malware do: a hidden file and a launch agent. This makes it easy to spot, given any reason to look at the infected machine closely (such as unusual network traffic). It also makes it easy to detect and easy to remove.”

Apple itself is aware of the malware, calling it “Fruitfly,” and has since released an update to protect against future infections.

So you see, if you think your Mac is less of a target than Windows 10, think again.

It would be wise to run some malware software on your Mac and scan it periodically with an application like Malwarebytes to make sure you’re not infected.
MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

Source: Digital Trends 

Protect Your PC Against Ransomware for Free

Ransomware

 

Ransomware is a nasty type of malware that encrypts your business or personal files on your hard drive and then demands money. Once the user pays the ransom, the malware usually assists with the decryption process.

The effects can be devastating both for you personally and your business, which is why we wanted to draw your attention to a free piece of software that could bring the protection against ransomware you’ve been looking for.

Cybereason’s RansomFree is a free desktop program for Windows 7 and up. It uses behavioural analysis instead of regularly updates malware definitions to protect your machine. By analysing all the ransomware it could find, Cybereason identified common characteristics for which its program monitors your system.

If it spots any, that program is flagged for review and the program suspends any activity it thinks is suspicious.

The program is easy to download (from Cybereason’s website – follow the link above) and will alert you that the program has placed some specially constructed files on your system that help RansomFree do its job. It then sits quietly in the background until it is needed.

How to protect yourself from ransomware

Other than using software such as RansomFree, you should also:

  • Regularly back up your files and make sure they can be restored
  • Keep your operating system and programs up-to-date
  • Disable Java and Flash when possible
  • Avoid downloading programs or files from dodgy websites
  • Never open an attachment from suspicious emails

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

10 Antivirus Solutions The Pros Say You Should Use

Antivirus

 

Why should you invest in antivirus software? Because there’s always someone out to get you.

Granted, it’s not a cure-all that will guarantee your online safety, but it will go a long way to helping you fend off any external threats that come knocking on your door.

The problem is, with so many on the market how do you find the one that’s right for you?

Well, the IT pros in the Spiceworks Community have put their heads together and come up with a list of their top 10 antivirus products.

This is what they came up with.

1. Malwarebytes

Since the beginning of 2016, the Spiceworks Community has reviewed Malwarebytes’ antivirus software and the verdict is clear: it’s a favourite among IT pros. It removes malware, blocks pop-ups and redirects, shields browsers and add-ons, offers ransomware protection, helps defend against zero-day exploits, and offers full end-point monitoring. It also offers a free version of its anti-malware software for Mac and PC.

2. Sophos Endpoint Antivirus

This offers web filtering, application control, and data-loss prevention tools. It is available as a cloud-based service and as an on-premises management platform. Sophos offers free trials of its antivirus solution; prices are available via quote.

3. Avast Free Antivirus

Avast Free Antivirus features malware detection, real-time analysis of unknown files, browser protection from unwanted extensions, and password management. It also offers paid antivirus solutions — Pro Antivirus, Internet Security, and Premier — that extend upon the core functionalities of its free package.

However, Avast Free Antivirus can only be used on personal, non-commercial computers. If you’re looking for a business alternative, you’ll want to look at Avast’s business offerings.

4. Webroot SecureAnywhere Business

Currently available on a free 30-day trial, this one features real-time protection, behavioural monitoring, cloud-based management, a rollback system, and real-time forensic logs. Its central dashboard is easy to navigate and policy creation is a breeze. It also offers a suite of other products for small-to-medium-sized businesses, enterprises, Internet of Things, and real-time threat intelligence.

5. AVG Free Antivirus

AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition provides all the necessities, including a tool for scanning your hard drive and e-mail, as well as a real-time shield to prevent infections. By default, the application is set to search for new virus definitions daily, but you can also use the scheduling tool to change this.

AVG also offers AVG File Server Edition, AVG Antivirus Business Edition, and AVG Internet Security Business Edition. However, AVG Free Antivirus can only be used on personal, non-commercial computers. If you’re looking for an alternative, you’ll want to look at AVG’s business offerings.

6. Windows Defender

Built into the Windows operating system, Windows Defender is Microsoft’s free antivirus program. Recently updated in the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, it brings limited periodic scanning to PCs. According to Microsoft, Windows Defender helps “protect your computer against pop-ups, slow performance, and security threats… [with] Real-Time Protection, a monitoring system that recommends actions against spyware when it’s detected.”

7. Bitdefender

With a simple interface and clean design, Bitdefender offers a free 30-day trial. It features zero-day threat protection, easy integration with other third-party security solutions, and combined antivirus and anti-malware protection.

8. AVG Antivirus Business Edition

Available with a free trial, AVG Antivirus Business Edition offers free support for mobile devices, remote management, a file shredder to securely delete files, a firewall, identity protection, a link scanner, ransomware protection, and more.

9. VIPRE Antivirus Business by ThreatTrack Security

This one includes integrated patch management to automatically update vulnerable software programs on your PCs; integrated Mobile Device Management to secure Android devices, iPads and iPhones; antivirus for PCs and Macs; a firewall; bad website blocker; anti-phishing and more.

10. Kaspersky Endpoint Security for Business

With free trials available, Kaspersky Endpoint Security for Business features a unified management dashboard, anti-malware services tailored to file servers, mobile device management tools, encryption, security for email, and more.

 

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

Source: Spiceworks

How Protected is Your Company?

keep data safe

 

One of the biggest headaches you face is keeping your business data safe from prying eyes.

You might think that because you’re not one of the big global players no one would bother about hacking into your systems, but cyberattacks on small businesses are becoming more common.

Data is big business and your clients rely on you to take every possible precaution to keep their personal information safe, so you owe it to them to make sure you’re covered.

Chinks in Your Armour

If you’re reading this thinking, “this doesn’t apply to me, I’ve got it covered,” think again.

Did you know that 25% of tablets and 35% of smartphones used in businesses are not equipped with security software?

Can you in all honesty say you’ve got 100% coverage?

This gap is leaving businesses vulnerable to all sorts of infections and attacks because they can come from anywhere at any time:

  • 39% come from accessing unsecured websites
  • 23% from downloading programs from the internet
  • 19% of malware comes via email

Those are some pretty scary statistics.

So what can you do to protect your business from such attacks?

Small Business Protection

You can protect your business without it costing the earth.

After scouring the marketplace, we recommend that our clients use Panda Security’s Small Business Protection.

It doesn’t cost the earth and offers lightweight, powerful antivirus protection for both new and older PCs. You can download it and enjoy complete protection without having to ask for technical assistance.

They’ve even produced this infographic to help illustrate the benefits of the product. We hope you find it useful.

Panda Security Small Business Protection

For more information about the product, get in touch and we’ll tell you everything you need to know.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

Why We Recommend BullGuard Internet Security

BullGuard Internet Security

 

We always recommend BullGuard Internet Security to our clients, which inevitably means they ask why.

That’s why we decided to write this post so we could give you the low down on why we think it’s the best product on the market.

For starters, in January this year UK consumer champion Which? endorsed BullGuard Internet Security 2016 with a Which? ‘Best Buy’.

BullGuard Security

On top of that, it also offers you all of this:

It’s simple to install and easy to use.

BullGuard installs in minutes. Its intuitive layout makes it simple for you to run a quick scan, adjust protection levels, back up your files, customise your settings and more. Everything is just one click from the main BullGuard home screen.

Malware and Spyware Protection

The latest version of Antivirus includes Behavioural Detection, which spots new viruses by how they act on your computer. Together with Signature-based Detection, which deals with known malware, they make up a multi-layered defence system for PC that’s virtually impenetrable.

Safe Browsing

Some websites have malicious code hidden in them. Or they are used to launch phishing attacks. The BullGuard protection software checks the websites that come up in your searches and lets you know which ones are safe.

Stop unwanted applications take control

Some programmes contain adware, they install toolbars and modify your system settings. They’re not malicious like trojans or worms but they can change your browser settings, alter your home page and direct you to another search engine by default. BullGuard’s unwanted app tool flags up these programmes and stops them from changing your settings.

Advanced Backup

There is a whopping 5GB of FREE online storage included so you can keep your important data, photos, music and more safe. You can choose what you want to back up and how often, or just set the feature to auto backup. You can even back up content directly from folders with one click. Plus your back-up data is easily accessible whenever you want to view it or restore it to another computer or even your smart phone.

Firewall

This is your first line of defence against unwanted hackers and identity thieves. The firewall protects you against network attacks and prevents cyber crooks from entering your system.

Spam filter

BullGuard Spamfilter keeps out junk mail and email scams, like phishing attempts, virus spreading and foreign language spam. You can also customize filters to block emails you don’t want to receive.

PC Tune Up

You’ll never have to wait again to get your computer up and running. BullGuard’s PC Tune Up removes unnecessary files and frees up memory so your computer runs faster

Vulnerability Scanner

Checks your computer for out-dated software that hackers and viruses can exploit to gain access to your system, damage it or steal personal information. Once this software is flagged up it can then be removed.

Free 24/7 support

The BullGuard support team is there for you 24/7, providing expert advice and quick answers to your questions.

 

As you can see, it’s a pretty comprehensive internet security package. If you want to learn more give us a call. 

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

Source: BullGuard

Cybercriminal Attacks on Apple Devices Set to Increase in 2016

iOS cyber criminals

 

Up ’til now, users have thought of their Apple products as safe as houses.

Unlike Microsoft, that’s been a target for cybercriminals for years, the Apple family has always been thought of relatively risk free – but according to a recent report by the BBC, this may no longer be true.

With their products (and market share) growing in popularity, Apple malware is on the increase. In fact, last year on average between 10,000 and 70,000 Mac computers were infected with malware.

Granted, that’s still small fry when you compare it with Windows desktops, but it’s a worrying trend.

A significant amount of this growth in attacks is accounted for by so-called greyware – applications that may not have malware attached, but can still be annoying to users, by serving up unwanted ads or tracking their web-browsing habits.

Symantec also found seven new threats aimed at Apple’s mobile iOS platform, with jailbroken devices – those that have been unlocked – being particularly vulnerable.

Plus, hackers are also increasingly targeting corporations, where Mac use is now more prevalent.

A corporate espionage group known as Butterfly which attacked multi-billion dollar companies in 2015 developed malware tools that attacked both Windows and Apple computers.

What does the future hold for Mac users?

It has always been the case that iOS has been seen as a more secure platform than Android because of the more closed community that Apple runs for its apps, but that is changing.

According to the security firm, FireEye, although the vast majority – 96% – of mobile malware is targeted at Android devices, iOS is no longer immune.

It also discovered that XcodeGhost, iOS malware that Apple acted quickly to remove from its app store, had found its way into the networks of 210 US businesses. It was thought to be the first large-scale attack on Apple’s app store.

It’s thought the introduction of new payment systems, such as Apple Pay, will add a financial incentives for hackers.

On the whole, Apple is still a safer option than Windows, but it’s worth keeping vigilant to make sure nothing untoward makes it way onto your machine.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

Source: BBC

 

Which Free Antivirus Software is Right For You?

Virus protection

 

Antivirus (AV) software is a must for every PC owner.

You’d be daft to use one without it.

But with so many to choose from, how can you be sure you find the right one for you?

Plus, should you be paying for it, or is one of the free ones just as good?

Like you, we love to get something for nothing and so were pleased to stumble across a post in alpha.com that looks at the best free AV available right now.

Here are their 4 top AV packages.

1. Avast

Avast anti virus

 

 

 

 

 

Simple to use, Avast delivers an effective virus protection in a lightweight, but well-equipped package.

2. AVG

AVG Anti virus

 

 

 

 

 

AVG offers loads of features. It also has protection scores that are pretty damn close to those boasted by Avast. In our eyes, this one is a better bet than the next one on our list – Microsoft Security Essentials.

3. Microsoft Security Essentials 2015

Microsoft security essentials

 

 

 

 

 

This one only covers the basics of malware protection. Although it has improved in its internet protection ratings, it still lets through a significantly higher percentage of attacks than third party security software.

4. Panda Free Antivirus

Panda Free Antivirus

 

 

 

 

This is a slight improvement on Microsoft’s offering, but it can’t match the performance of either Avast or AVG. Panda’s malware protection score is a respectable 90%, but it’s closest rival, AVG, performs better.

To sum up, if you want safety and security for your PC, go for either Avast or AVG.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.