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Are computer viruses just a protection racket?

Posted on 04/29/2008 5:24:58 AM PDT by reaganator

I have persistant, official looking pop ups in a yellow box (system alert) that are now telling me my computer is infected with viruses.

This eventually leads to the cure, me paying them 49.95

Seems like an old time protection racket to me. Odd that as soon as my computer acquires these viruses the prompting of the anti-virus companies begin.

Any thoughts on this?


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Computers/Internet
KEYWORDS:

1 posted on 04/29/2008 5:24:58 AM PDT by reaganator
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To: reaganator

It’s a scam by the antivirus company. Go to a site you know and download a fix for free.


2 posted on 04/29/2008 5:27:16 AM PDT by Soliton
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To: reaganator

Never, ever give your money to Symantec.


3 posted on 04/29/2008 5:28:50 AM PDT by Fresh Wind (Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.)
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To: reaganator

Those popups are not from legit antivirus developers- their “solutions” are usually conduits for more spyware. Get an AV program from a reputable publisher to remove them. Even the commercial ones like Norton offer a free trial version that will remove an infection.


4 posted on 04/29/2008 5:29:52 AM PDT by Squawk 8888 (TSA and DHS are jobs programs for people who are not smart enough to flip burgers)
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To: reaganator

Actually, it means you have spyware.

My advice, go to www.kaspersky.com and use their free online scan tool.

I actually never get these warning, then again I never download anything that looks sketchy.

Just keep you AV up to date, it’s not so much a protection scam though, that pop up is caused by spyware, and the program they tell you to download is even more spyware that won’t get rid of any virus, it will actually give you more.


5 posted on 04/29/2008 5:31:33 AM PDT by gjones77
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To: Squawk 8888

I have a anti-virus program through my ISP, I had trouble removing my Norton 2005 so I don’t know how well it’s working.


6 posted on 04/29/2008 5:32:38 AM PDT by reaganator
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To: reaganator

Download AVG, which is free for personal use. It is excellent, and updates its tables pretty much every night.

(And yes, I do believe that the Anti-Virus Industry is a protection racket, and I have often suspected that viruses “appear” for no better reason than to require antivirus upgrades. Only mugs believe that the Anti-Virus industry wants computer viruses to go away.)


7 posted on 04/29/2008 5:33:16 AM PDT by DieHard the Hunter (Is mise an ceann-cinnidh. Cha ghéill mi do dhuine. Fàg am bealach.)
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To: reaganator
The alert and pop-up are the virus, (or at least one of them.) The $49.95 "fix" may or may not be a legitimate anti-virus program. More likely, it's more trouble, gaining access to whatever parts of your computer aren't easily accessible from the outside. Stay out of those Czech porn sites!
8 posted on 04/29/2008 5:33:43 AM PDT by ER Doc
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To: gjones77

Thank you!


9 posted on 04/29/2008 5:33:56 AM PDT by reaganator
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To: reaganator

Spybot Search and Destroy (free) does a decent job of whacking this kind of thing. Download it... install it... update definitions.... reboot.... tap the f8 key... select safe mode.... run it.... and pray.

http://www.safer-networking.org/en/index.html

also, www.hijackthis.de is helpful in whacking this type of crapware. Use the direct download link on the top right of the page. Paste the log into the page, and click on nasties to remove them.

Good luck.


10 posted on 04/29/2008 5:37:55 AM PDT by LesbianThespianGymnasticMidget (Si Hoc Legere Scis Nimium Eruditionis Habes)
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To: reaganator
As a computer security expert who has to deal with all kinds of malware every day, I will tell you that viruses do exist and they will mess you up.

That being said, and even though we use Symantec at work, I would recommend that you NOT use Symantec or any of the big name products on your home PCs. They're expensive and they slow your system down especially if you install the full "security suite" or whatever they're calling it.

On my Windows systems at home I use:
Antivirus: AVG Free (http://free.grisoft.com)
Antispyware: Microsoft Windows Defender (http://www.microsoft.com/athome/security/spyware/software/default.mspx)
Web Filtering: Blue Coat K9 Web Protection (http://www1.k9webprotection.com)

All of these products work well and they are FREE. I've been using these products for years and I highly recommend them.

Those are on the systems my wife and kids use. My personal notebook is running Ubuntu Linux 8.04 and I don't need any of that stuff. It is dual-boot, so on the rare occasion that I do have to boot into Windows, I've got all of that running.

Never again give Symantec or McAfee a bunch of money to slow down your computer and lock you into a subscription.

11 posted on 04/29/2008 5:38:38 AM PDT by Spiff (http://jesuschrist.lds.org)
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To: gjones77
Actually, it means you have spyware.

Yes and No. It may mean you have spyware or it may mean that you simply went to a website that is less than reputable and are looking at a generic popup that everyone gets no matter what. Either way, whatever you do, dont click on anything except the x in the upper right hand corner (better yet, right click on the window on your task bar and close it from there without touching the window itself at all). If you dont have a spyware tool, you should get one from somewhere reputable. McAfee, Symantec, or Microsoft are the big legitimate players in that market. Free tools such as AdAware and Spybot are excellent tools.
12 posted on 04/29/2008 5:38:41 AM PDT by contemplator (Capitalism gets no Rock Concerts)
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To: DieHard the Hunter

I love AVG


13 posted on 04/29/2008 5:38:44 AM PDT by marbren
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To: reaganator

Those are keyed, usually, by your mouse pointer moving over a sensitive area of a web page, causing the pop up.

Some websites are worse about them.

Usually, you can ignore it or click on the ‘close’ or ‘back’ button.

==

Use a good virus program, however. It will catch most of the real culprits. AVG and AVAST are two that are free for home use.


14 posted on 04/29/2008 5:40:20 AM PDT by TomGuy
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To: reaganator

yes!


15 posted on 04/29/2008 5:40:53 AM PDT by G Larry (HILLARY CARE = DYING IN LINE!)
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To: reaganator

I got Smitfraud into my system and it was a nightmare. I ended up wiping the HD and reloading Windows. All the “fixes”, both free and paid for were of no use.


16 posted on 04/29/2008 5:45:18 AM PDT by blackdog
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To: DieHard the Hunter
(And yes, I do believe that the Anti-Virus Industry is a protection racket, and I have often suspected that viruses “appear” for no better reason than to require antivirus upgrades. Only mugs believe that the Anti-Virus industry wants computer viruses to go away.)

True.

I tried Norton/Symantec on Win98. It always caused conflicts.

I dropped it for McAfee. McAfee grew and grew. I tried their firewall. Never could get rid of it, even after uninstall. Every month, a McAfee 'try our firewall again' would pop up. I deleted everything McAfee I could find on my computer, including McAfee items in a scan of the registry. Still, the pop-up continued. I finally did a reformat. That got rid of the bugger. I will never have anything McAfee on my computer again.

Next, I tried a version of Trend Micro. It, too, grew and grew, until the pc got so sluggish it would hardly run. TM became little more than glutware.

I dropped it and went with the free home version of AVG. Other than it causing some sluggishness when it does the mail check and daily scan, I am completely happy with it. I have been using it for about 3 years now.
17 posted on 04/29/2008 5:50:34 AM PDT by TomGuy
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To: reaganator

I’m with you on this one...

I once put a VERY old disk in my computer and I got a pop-up warnign that I needed a new virus software update (for a fee, of course)

The only problem is that the disk could not POSSIBLY have had the virus it claimed because it had not been written yet when I last used that disk.

I wish i could repeat that test


18 posted on 04/29/2008 5:54:23 AM PDT by Mr. K (Some days even my lucky rocketship underpants don't help)
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To: TomGuy

What is AVG?


19 posted on 04/29/2008 5:54:35 AM PDT by reaganator
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To: Spiff
what do you think of AVAST ? www.avast.com

also free (home edition) and I like it a bunch

20 posted on 04/29/2008 5:57:58 AM PDT by Mr. K (Some days even my lucky rocketship underpants don't help)
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To: Mr. K

“what do you think of AVAST ? www.avast.com

also free (home edition) and I like it a bunch “


While I currently have AVG on the kitchen PC, I’ve used Avast! in the past, and think it’s first-rate.


21 posted on 04/29/2008 6:00:23 AM PDT by backhoe (-30-)
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To: reaganator

AVG is a free-for-home-use anti-virus program

http://free.grisoft.com/


22 posted on 04/29/2008 6:01:06 AM PDT by TomGuy
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To: reaganator

Never EVER click on a popup.


23 posted on 04/29/2008 6:02:39 AM PDT by NonValueAdded (Who Would Montgomery Brewster Choose?)
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To: NonValueAdded

I have to click on it to make it go away. Keeps coming back.


24 posted on 04/29/2008 6:06:01 AM PDT by reaganator
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To: reaganator

I continually back up my data on DVD’s and run a cleaner at least every week. I reformat when there’s even a suspicion of a problem.

After dealing with Norton AntiVirus (real crap) I won’t own another spyware program.


25 posted on 04/29/2008 6:14:02 AM PDT by Loud Mime (Obama and Hillary: Not one bit of constitutional reference in their debates)
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To: TomGuy; Spiff

I have had a question I have wanted to ask someone with some knowledge of AVG and AVAST. Is one really better than the other?
Do they work as well in detecting and clearing viruses as the big companies? I really don’t like how Symantec and the others have created their internet suites that clog up your system and would like a solution with a smaller footprint on my computer.

Thanks


26 posted on 04/29/2008 6:16:38 AM PDT by Sarevok
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To: Soliton
AVG is a pretty good Antivirus Program.
On other systems I have used:
Windows Defender, Ad-Aware & Spybot all at the same time.
The each found things the others didn't.
I have since found Super Anti Spyware at www.superantispyware.com. They have 2 versions, 1 free and another with advanced features.

I recently had the same issue with the fake anti-virus pop ups. Super Anti Spyware fixed that issue.

Good Luck

27 posted on 04/29/2008 6:19:57 AM PDT by FAB (Just an IT bump in the road.)
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To: reaganator

You’re welcome!


28 posted on 04/29/2008 6:21:23 AM PDT by gjones77
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To: TomGuy

I had used Trend Micro for a couple of years and been really happy with it. It seemed to slow my computer down much less so than Symantec and McAfee. That all changed with the last version of the program. It almost brought my computer to a complete stand still. I assume it was some kind of software conflict, and ended up having to remove the program.


29 posted on 04/29/2008 6:27:04 AM PDT by LanPB01
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To: Spiff

I notice you didn’t list a firewall. Was that an omission or do you rely on a hardware firewall?


30 posted on 04/29/2008 6:27:23 AM PDT by bcsco (To heck with a third party. We need a second one....)
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To: reaganator

IMHO, AVGFree is the best anti-virus application out there. But before installation, be sure to completely remove your existing anti-virus application. A Google search on AVG Free Edition will get you to the website and download area.


31 posted on 04/29/2008 6:31:20 AM PDT by bcsco (To heck with a third party. We need a second one....)
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To: reaganator
I had trouble removing my Norton 2005 so I don’t know how well it’s working.

Early versions of Norton could be uninstalled & reinstalled, giving the user another year of free virus definitions. Symantecs' response was to make Norton AV very difficult to un-install. To completely remove Norton, you need their Norton Removal Tool. Even after using Symantecs' own tool to help people un-install Norton, I've had to manually remove Norton/Symantec registry entries, to completely rid systems of Norton. For that, I recommend RegCleaner.

What you have sounds more like Adware or Spyware, than a virus. With that being said, here's my table of free security software. You should have not problem finding (free) applications to clean your system, and help keep it clean in the future.

PC security-related links.   All software listed is freeware or open source.

Last Update: February 01, 2008  List maintained by holymoly.
Anti-Virus:

avast! Home Edition  Thumbs up
Anti-virus, anti-spyware, anti-rootkit.
Windows 95/98/ME, 2000/XP

AVG Anti-Virus
2000/XP

BitDefender Free Edition
Windows 98/ME, 2000/XP
On-demand anti-virus program.

ClamWin
Windows 98/ME, 2000/XP
On-demand virus scanner. Detects, doesn't clean.

Dr. Web CureIT!
Windows 95 OSR2/98/ME, 2000/XP
On-demand, anti-malware (anti-virus/spyware). Detects and cleans. No installation required.

McAfee Stinger
On-demand anti-virus/trojan. No installation required. Fits on a 3.5" floppy.
Alternatives to MSIE, Outlook & Outlook Express:

Mozilla.org  Thumbs up
Firefox browser, Thunderbird E-mail client, Mozilla Suite.

Opera  Thumbs up
Supports tabbed browsing, etc. Easier on resources than Firefox, Mozilla/Seamonkey.

Off By One
The world's smallest and fastest web browser. No installation required.

Popcorn E-Mail
Small, no-frills e-mail client.

Seamonkey
The successor to the Mozilla Suite.  Web-browser, e-mail/usenet client, IRC client, HTML editing, all in one application.

Xnews
Usenet client.
Anti-Adware/Spyware/Trojan:

a-squared Free
Windows 98/ME, 2000/XP, 2003 Server & Vista
On-demand anti-trojan/rootkit, etc.

Comodo BOClean
Windows for Workgroups 3.11 , 95/98/ME, NT4 SP2+, 2000/XP & Vista.
Full/real-time protection against trojans, rootkits, etc.

SpywareBlaster  Thumbs up
Windows 95/98/ME, 2000/XP
Prevent the installation of spyware and other potentially unwanted software!

Spybot - Search and Destroy  Thumbs up
Windows 98/ME, 2000/XP
Offers both on-demand scanning and full/real-time protection.

Spware Doctor
Windows 98, Me, 2000 and XP
Detects, removes and blocks all types of Spyware.

SUPERAntiSpyware  Thumbs up
Windows 98/ME, 2000/XP
Remove spyware, adware, trojans, keyloggers, home page hijackers and other malware threats.
Firewall:

How to Install a Firewall

Kerio Personal Firewall 2.1.5
Windows 98/ME, 2000/XP
(Last freeware version)

Tiny Personal Firewall 2.0.15A
Windows 95/98/ME, 2000/XP

Tiny Personal Firewall 2.0.9  Thumbs up
Windows 98/ME, 2000/XP
(Last freeware version)

ZoneAlarm Free Download

Zonealarm at Oldversion.com
For those who need a version compatible with Windows 9x/ME
Miscellaneous:

CCleaner
Windows 95/98/ME, NT4/2000/XP/2003/Vista
A freeware system optimization and privacy tool. Over 65 million downloads!

Dr. Web anti-virus link checker  Thumbs up
OS Independent
This plugin/extension allows you to check any file you are about to download, or any web page, with Dr. Web anti-virus. Firefox users may download the extension at Addons.Mozilla.Org

MVPS HOSTS File  Thumbs up
Windows: All
Block known malicious websites & servers.

Ping Plotter
Windows: All
Internet diagnostic tool.

Proxomitron
Windows 95/98/ME, 2000/XP
A free, highly flexible, user-configurable, small, but very powerful, local HTTP web-filtering proxy.

WinPatrol
A security monitor.  WinPatrol will alert you to hijackings, malware attacks and critical changes made to your computer without your permission.
New and/or Untested:

Lavasoft Ad-Aware 2007 Free
Windows 2000/XP/Vista
(On-demand?) Anti-adware/spyware.

Microsoft Windows Defender
Windows XP SP2 or later.
Anti-spyware.
Zeroday Emergency Response Team (ZERT)

"The nonprofit Zeroday Emergency Response Team is offering VML security patches for out-of-support Windows OS versions.

The volunteer group, which is made up of well-respected security professionals, has released updates for Windows 98, Windows 98 SE, Windows ME, Windows 2000 and Windows 2000 SP3."

Above quote from:
ZERT Patches Out-of-Support Windows OS

32 posted on 04/29/2008 6:34:55 AM PDT by holymoly
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To: Sarevok

I’ve run both, though Avast was in the past. IMO, I like AVG. It seems to do a cleaner update than Avast did when I had it. Don’t know if that’s changed, but why bother to check. AVG does it and does it very well.

But that’s when I’m on XP. I have a dual boot laptop with Ubuntu 7.10 on it as well, and that’s where I spend the majority of my time. The only time I run Windows is when I have something that I need a Windows application for, and it won’t run well in Ubuntu.


33 posted on 04/29/2008 6:35:04 AM PDT by bcsco (To heck with a third party. We need a second one....)
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To: Sarevok

AVG-free is the home user version of the commercial AVG.

The commercial version does have a suite that contains other elements — spam, spyware, etc.

The free version is updated once-per-day. The commercial version is updated periodically, throughout the day.


34 posted on 04/29/2008 6:38:25 AM PDT by TomGuy
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To: reaganator

It Happened to me last week. Popped up as Windows XP anti-virus alert. It said I had 164 viruses. It asked me if I wanted to quarentine the viruses. Obviously I clicked continue, and it prompted me for my credit card number. I took it to my IT guys who said there was no such thing as Windows XP anti-virus. They checked my laptop for viruses and found none.


35 posted on 04/29/2008 6:41:54 AM PDT by hiramknight (Freedom isn't free. Ask a marine, soldier, airmen or sailor.)
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To: TomGuy

I had an interesting conversation with a Dell online support guy a few years ago. I was having trouble with the CD-ROM drive on my Dell PC while still under warranty. They replaced the drive, but during our conversation we got into the software I had on my PC. When I mentioned AVG Free Edition, he stated “That’s what we use here on our Dell PC’s”.

I don’t recall whether Dell at the time (2001) provided Norton or McAfee on their PC’s at time of sale, but this particular service group used AVG for their in-house machines. And this guy wasn’t off-shore.

That Dell is still being used for music purposes. Old, but reliable.


36 posted on 04/29/2008 6:45:57 AM PDT by bcsco (To heck with a third party. We need a second one....)
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To: holymoly

I have been using the Comodo (free for home use) firewall.

It absolutely shields a computer from any outside detection, based on GRC.com’s Shield’s Up.


37 posted on 04/29/2008 6:47:03 AM PDT by TomGuy
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To: reaganator

“I have persistant, official looking pop ups in a yellow box (system alert) that are now telling me my computer is infected with viruses.
This eventually leads to the cure, me paying them 49.95
Any thoughts on this?”

Yep.

Buy a Mac, and forget about having to pay.

I’ve been a Mac user since 1987 - more than twenty years.
In that time, I’ve NEVER had a “virus” on the computer.
NEVER had a Trojan.
NEVER had adware.
NEVER had spyware.

Yes, it may cost a little more ‘up front”. Once paid, though, those “yellow box warnings” will become a memory of your past....

- John


38 posted on 04/29/2008 6:51:41 AM PDT by Fishrrman
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To: TomGuy
I have been using the Comodo (free for home use) firewall.

It absolutely shields a computer from any outside detection, based on GRC.com’s Shield’s Up.

I've been meaning to add the Comodo firewall to the list.

39 posted on 04/29/2008 7:00:35 AM PDT by holymoly
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To: reaganator

Hey, gimme $50 for protection or I’ll break your legs. I’ll protect you from ME!


40 posted on 04/29/2008 7:02:13 AM PDT by Southerngl
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To: Spiff

Ping for later download.

Thanks!


41 posted on 04/29/2008 7:03:18 AM PDT by Southerngl
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To: reaganator

symantec has a program to remove the reg entries for their programs so you can reinstall. Its a free download, “norton_removal_tool.exe”


42 posted on 04/29/2008 7:33:01 AM PDT by waynesa98
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To: blackdog
I got Smitfraud into my system and it was a nightmare. I ended up wiping the HD and reloading Windows. All the “fixes”, both free and paid for were of no use.

I would strongly recommend never paying to remove viruses/spyware. A fairly easy to follow procedure for removing SmitFraud is here.

I know it's too late now, but that site has many, many other removal tuitorials, should you ever become infected again in the future.

43 posted on 04/29/2008 7:36:27 AM PDT by SIDEWALKING
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To: Fishrrman
My Dell got infected, and it's worthless. Can't be sure that all of the spyware (especially keyloggers) have been removed.

Got the new 3.06GHz iMac 24 incher yesterday - SWEET!

44 posted on 04/29/2008 7:59:41 AM PDT by frankenMonkey (101st Airborne Army Dad)
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To: holymoly
Good list, but it seems LavaSoft AdAware now requires you buy something, or at least pass your email/ID on to other sites. Guess I won't be using it anymore. :^(
45 posted on 04/29/2008 9:34:18 AM PDT by brityank (The more I learn about the Constitution, the more I realise this Government is UNconstitutional !!)
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To: Fishrrman

The “yeah, but” here is that there isn’t much bang for the virus/hack/trojan whatever for MACs and MAC networks for the bad guys. However, a few weekends ago a whole bunch of MAC networks experienced an intrusion. As MAC gets more of the market, they too, will experience more of these issues. We can hope Apple has done a better job of construction on their OS, so there are fewer holes for hackers and the like. In truth, only time will tell.

MAC is a great home computer, not so great in business because there are always issues of compatibility, because the business world is so overwhelmingly Microsoft.


46 posted on 04/29/2008 9:51:46 AM PDT by Roses0508
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To: reaganator

Sounds like “Virus Heat” to me.

http://www.pchubs.com/blogs/virus-heat-removal-process-remove-virus-heat


47 posted on 04/29/2008 12:43:21 PM PDT by JoJo Gunn (Help control the Thread Police. Have them spayed or neutered. ©)
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To: frankenMonkey
My Dell got infected, and it's worthless. Can't be sure that all of the spyware (especially keyloggers) have been removed.

The only way to be absolutely sure is to wipe the drive (do NOT just do a reinstall - Some malware can protect itself in certain areas of the disk that can't be "formatted clean") and do a fresh install. By wiping the drive, I mean using a debug script or something like killdisk.

Mark

48 posted on 04/29/2008 9:45:28 PM PDT by MarkL
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To: gopheraj

to read later


49 posted on 04/29/2008 9:50:31 PM PDT by gopheraj
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