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Am I infected? How do I check?


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7 replies to this topic

#1 kerryboy

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Posted 07 March 2009 - 04:22 AM

Hi Everyone,

I recently downloaded some bittorent music files on a different computer. When I went to transfer them to my home computer my antivirus (Avast free home edition) identified some spyware/malware and stopped some files transfering over. I think it got all off them and I havent noticed any difference in the performance of my computer but I am afraid that some malicious files might have slipped through unknown. I have ran scans with Avast which have come up clean but I am just wondering if anyone can recommend other scans I could carry out to double check that my computer is still clean (malwarebytes, etc.). I am probably being over cautions but any advice or guidance would be really appreciated.

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#2 Elise

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Posted 07 March 2009 - 05:55 AM

Well first of all, when you use p2p clients like bittorrent you-re always at risk, so be careful. To doublecheck your pc, you can use online scanners (they not always desinfect, but can give you a good second opinion) or free antimalware tools (not all give realtime protection, if you like that, I for myself never enable realtime protection, the annoyance is greater than the benefit, however thats for me, not for others).
Good online scanners are Panda active scan (www.pandasecurity.com/activescan), kaspersky online scanner (www.kaspersky.com/kos/eng/partner/default/kavwebscan.html)
Good free scanners are malwarebytes antimalware and superantispyware (sorry, have to go, so have no time to give you the links).

Note that the online scanners in general require internet explorer.

If all this reveals nothing interesting and your PC behaves normal you can reasonably assume your PC is clean.

regards, Elise


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#3 quietman7

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Posted 07 March 2009 - 08:38 AM

Please download Malwarebytes Anti-Malware (v1.34) and save it to your desktop.
alternate download link 1
alternate download link 2
If you have a previous version of MBAM, remove it via Add/Remove Programs and download a fresh copy.
  • Make sure you are connected to the Internet.
  • Double-click on mbam-setup.exe to install the application.
  • When the installation begins, follow the prompts and do not make any changes to default settings.
  • When installation has finished, make sure you leave both of these checked:
    • Update Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware
    • Launch Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware
  • Then click Finish.
MBAM will automatically start and you will be asked to update the program before performing a scan.
  • If an update is found, the program will automatically update itself.
  • Press the OK button to close that box and continue.
  • If you encounter any problems while downloading the updates, manually download them from here and just double-click on mbam-rules.exe to install. Alternatively, you can update through MBAM's interface from a clean computer, copy the definitions (rules.ref) located in C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Malwarebytes\Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware from that system to a usb stick or CD and then copy it to the infected machine.
On the Scanner tab:
  • Make sure the "Perform Quick Scan" option is selected.
  • Then click on the Scan button.
  • If asked to select the drives to scan, leave all the drives selected and click on the Start Scan button.
  • The scan will begin and "Scan in progress" will show at the top. It may take some time to complete so please be patient.
  • When the scan is finished, a message box will say "The scan completed successfully. Click 'Show Results' to display all objects found".
  • Click OK to close the message box and continue with the removal process.
Back at the main Scanner screen:
  • Click on the Show Results button to see a list of any malware that was found.
  • Make sure that everything is checked, and click Remove Selected.
  • When removal is completed, a log report will open in Notepad.
  • The log is automatically saved and can be viewed by clicking the Logs tab in MBAM.
  • Copy and paste the contents of that report in your next reply. Be sure to post the complete log to include the top portion which shows MBAM's database version and your operating system.
  • Exit MBAM when done.
Note: If MBAM encounters a file that is difficult to remove, you may be asked to reboot your computer so it can proceed with disinfection. Regardless if prompted to restart the computer or not, please do so immediately. Failure to reboot normally (not into safe mode) will prevent MBAM from removing all the malware. MBAM may "make changes to your registry" as part of its disinfection routine. If using other security programs that detect registry changes (ie Spybot's Teatimer), they may interfere or alert you after scanning with MBAM. Temporarily disable such programs or permit them to allow the changes. Click this link to see a list of programs that should be disabled.

Using any peer-to-peer (P2P) or file sharing program is a security risk which can make your system susceptible to a smörgåsbord of malware infections, remote attacks, and exposure of personal information.

The reason for this is that file sharing relies on its members giving and gaining unfettered access to computers across the P2P network. This practice can make you vulnerable to data and identity theft, system infection and remote access exploit by attackers who can take control of your computer without your knowledge. Even if you change the risky default settings to a safer configuration, downloading files from an anonymous source increases your exposure to infection because the files you are downloading may actually contain a disguised threat. Many malicious worms and Trojans, such as the Storm Worm, target and spread across P2P files sharing networks because of their known vulnerabilities. In some instances the infection may cause so much damage to your system that recovery is not possible and a Repair Install will NOT help!. In those cases, the only option is to wipe your drive, reformat and reinstall the OS.

Even the safest P2P file sharing programs that do not contain bundled spyware, still expose you to risks because of the very nature of the P2P file sharing process. By default, most P2P file sharing programs are configured to automatically launch at startup. They are also configured to allow other P2P users on the same network open access to a shared directory on your computer. The best way to eliminate these risks is to avoid using P2P applications. Read P2P Software User Advisories, Risks of File-Sharing Technology and P2P file sharing: Anticipate the risks....
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#4 kerryboy

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Posted 09 March 2009 - 11:56 PM

Thanks for the help guys, one last question will the likes of malwarebytes/panda or other online scanners find any or all antivirus/spyware/malware that might be on my system or is there a possibility that some of them might not be detected by the scanner. I suppose all I am looking for really (and probably being way overcautious) is something that I can run every so often that will give me peace of mind that my computer is clean and nothing has slipped through my antivirus.

#5 Elise

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Posted 10 March 2009 - 02:37 AM

No scanner detects everything. I have Malwarebytes Antimalware, Super antispyware and A-squared free on my PC and run all three of them once a week. If anything turns up, I do an online scan to get a second opinion. There is no product, paid or free that makes you 100% safe.
But consider this, if your computer behaves normal and three scans come up with no infections, you can assume it (mostly) clean. If however you have any strange behaviour, you can check further with online scanners (Panda, Kaspersky, ESET, etc) to decide whether the problem is caused by an infection or a software-item (check eventviewer from time to time).

regards, Elise


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#6 quietman7

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Posted 10 March 2009 - 08:23 AM

elise025 is correct.

No single product is 100% foolproof and can detect and remove all threats at any given time. The security community is in a constant state of change as new infections appear. Each vendor has its own definition of what constitutes malware and scanning your computer using different criteria will yield different results. The fact that each program has its own definition files means that some malware may be picked up by one that could be missed by another. Thus, a multi-layered defense using several anti-spyware products (including an effective firewall) to supplement your anti-virus combined with common sense and safe surfing habits provides the most complete protection.

If there are no more problems or signs of infection, you should Create a New Restore Point to prevent possible reinfection from an old one. Some of the malware you picked up could have been saved in System Restore. Since this is a protected directory your tools cannot access to delete these files, they sometimes can reinfect your system if you accidentally use an old restore point. Setting a new restore point AFTER cleaning your system will help prevent this and enable your computer to "roll-back" to a clean working state.

The easiest and safest way to do this is:
  • Go to Start > Programs > Accessories > System Tools and click "System Restore".
  • Choose the radio button marked "Create a Restore Point" on the first screen then click "Next". Give the R.P. a name, then click "Create". The new point will be stamped with the current date and time. Keep a log of this so you can find it easily should you need to use System Restore.
  • Then use Disk Cleanup to remove all but the most recently created Restore Point.
  • Go to Start > Run and type: Cleanmgr
  • Click "Ok". Disk Cleanup will scan your files for several minutes, then open.
  • Click the "More Options" tab, then click the "Clean up" button under System Restore.
  • Click Ok. You will be prompted with "Are you sure you want to delete all but the most recent restore point?"
  • Click Yes, then click Ok.
  • Click Yes again when prompted with "Are you sure you want to perform these actions?"
  • Disk Cleanup will remove the files and close automatically.
Vista Users can refer to these links: Create a New Restore Point and Disk Cleanup.

Tips to protect yourself against malware and reduce the potential for re-infection:Avoid gaming sites, pirated software, cracking tools, keygens, and peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing programs. They are a security risk which can make your computer susceptible to a smörgåsbord of malware infections, remote attacks, exposure of personal information, and identity theft. Many malicious worms and Trojans spread across P2P file sharing networks, gaming and underground sites. Users visiting such pages may see innocuous-looking banner ads containing code which can trigger pop-up ads and malicious Flash ads that install viruses, Trojans and spyware. Ads are a target for hackers because they offer a stealthy way to distribute malware to a wide range of Internet users. The best way to reduce the risk of infection is to avoid these types of web sites and not use any P2P applications. Read P2P Software User Advisories and Risks of File-Sharing Technology.

Keeping Autorun enabled on USB and other removable drives has become a significant security risk due to the increasing number of malware variants that can infect them and transfer the infection to your computer. To learn more about this risk, please read:
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#7 kerryboy

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Posted 10 March 2009 - 11:30 PM

Thanks for all the help guys

#8 quietman7

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Posted 11 March 2009 - 07:53 AM

You're welcome on behalf of the Bleeping Computer community.
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