If you are considering backing up data and reformatting due to malware infection, keep in mind, with file infectors
, there is always a chance of backed up data reinfecting your system. If the data is that important to you, then you can try to salvage some of it but there is no guarantee
so be forewarned that you may have to start over again afterwards if reinfected by attempting to recover your data. Only back up your important documents, personal data files, photos to a CD or DVD drive, not a flash drive or external hard drive as they may become compromised in the process. The safest practice is not to backup
any executable files (*.exe), screensavers (*.scr), dynamic link library (*.dll), autorun (*.ini) or script files (.php, .asp, .htm, .html, .xml) files because they may be infected by malware. Avoid backing up compressed files (.zip, .cab, .rar) that have executables inside them as some types of malware can penetrate compressed files and infect the .exe files within them. Other types of malware may even disguise itself by hiding a file extension
or adding to the existing extension as shown here
(click Figure 1 to enlarge
) so be sure you look closely at the full file name. If you cannot see the file extension, you may need to reconfigure Windows to show file name extensions
. Then make sure you scan the backed up data with your anti-virus prior to
to copying it back to your hard drive.
If your CD/DVD drive is unusable, another word of caution if you are considering backing up to an external usb hard drive as your only alternative. External drives are more susceptible to infection and can become compromised in the process of backing up data
. I'm not saying you should not try using such devices but I want to make you aware of all your options and associated risks so you can make an informed decision if its worth that risk.
Again, do not back up any files with the following file extensions: exe, .scr, .dll, .ini, .htm, .html, .php, .asp, .xml, .zip, .rar, .cab as they may be infected.
No single product is 100% foolproof
is there a better anti virus software out there that would have blocked this instead of just alerting me
and can prevent, detect and remove all threats at any given time. Just because one anti-virus detected threats that another missed, does not mean its more effective. 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
, safe computing
and safe surfing habits
provides the most complete protection.