Thursday, March 19, 2009

Preventing Antivirus XP Infections

I've been talking alot about this and how aggressive and nasty it is.  Antivirus software is not effective, since it mutates constantly to sneak by — and once it's installed, it prevents any antivirus updates that might detect it.

There is one thing in your favor:  this malware is a trojan.  It cannot install itself on your computer; you need to install it yourself.  That's one reason why the warnings are so urgent — to make you take the one step required to get infected.

The problem is that when Antivirus XP 2009 pops up, it can be difficult to shut it down.  If you try to ignore the alert or close it, it will usually come back again and make it impossible for you to browse away from the infected page.

If this happens, the fix is simple:

  • Press Ctrl-Alt-Delete (i.e., all three keys at once)
  • A window will pop up.  Select "Task Manager."
  • The Task Manager will display.  Make sure the "Applications" tab is selected.
  • Look for Internet Explorer (or whatever web browser you're using).  They may be identified by the web page instead of the program name.  Identify it by the browser icon (the blue E for Internet Explorer, for instance).
  • Click on it.
  • Click on "End Task."
  • Look for other instances of your web browser, select, and click on "End Task" until they are all gone.
  • Close the Task Manager.

Your web browser is closed and the popup should be gone.

It's a good idea to use this method as soon as the Antivirus XP popup displays.

Were you infected?  It's certainly possible.  Luckily, you'll know pretty quickly if the malware was installed:  it will start nagging you to clean the computer, and you'll see virus warning you've never seen before.  If you don't notice anything different about your computer, you're probably OK.