I’ve written before about using the hosts file to block domains that are hosting malware. The idea is pretty simple. There’s a known list of domains that are either hosting or controlling malware, so by blocking your computer from accessing those domains, you make it much harder to get infected in the first place, and in the event that you do get infected, at least you block access to the command and control servers.
The problem is that Windows doesn’t make this easy. Well, I found an easy way: Hostsman. You can have it up and running in minutes.
Microsoft has released an antivirus/antispyware live CD that runs in the Windows PE environment called Microsoft Standalone System Sweeper. I wouldn’t use it as a full replacement for a Linux-based live CD from an antivirus vendor such as Bit Defender, which I’ve written about before. It is, however, a good supplement–a second opinion. Nothing catches everything, after all.
The idea behind all of these is to boot into a sterile environment to scan a dormant hard drive for things that evade or disable your normal antivirus software. The need for this grows just about every day, as there’s a lot of really nasty stuff out there these days. It’s not a substitute for normal antivirus software–it’s what you call on if and when normal antivirus software fails and a malware infestation prevents normal use of the computer.
Windows XP Repair is a fake system optimization and repair tool. It takes over the computer almost completely, and it’s a pain to remove. Worse yet, there’s at least one version floating around right now that standard no antivirus/antimalware tool I threw at it recognized.
Here’s how I removed it for someone.
This isn’t exactly news, as word has been going around for a couple of weeks, but if you haven’t heard about it elsewhere, there are some fake defragmenters going around.
I heard mention of it today, and it reminded me that I saw one last week when I was working on my mother in law’s computer. This was especially obnoxious, considering that at the time, I was running Firefox and I was visiting a mainstream site.
So there are a couple of things you need to keep in mind.