Monthly Archives: February 2015

Computer advice for the reluctant but able

This is perhaps the only time I’ll write on this subject – computers. We have to use them, whether we enjoy them or have an aptitude. I’ve found that advice is for the very scared (coaxing those older technophobes into being users) or the whizzers. There’s little for those inbetween, and neither of those are written in a fun, human way.

I’ve had reason to try out lots of antimalware, and I’ve learned more than I care to about computers recently. I’ve also learned about patronising male IT professionals – one of whom sat in this chair and made me feel small and uncomfy. I’m not even sure this person, who has a tacky doctor icon on his Yellow Pages slot advertising free health checks, is not a scam. As predicted, he told me lots was wrong with this machine and it would cost me – but don’t go elsewhere, they’ll charge just to look! The issue that I’d contacted him about was ignored until he suddenly leaned back and said, “Oh yes I see that in your logs”. Rubbish. I wish I’d shown him the door more forcibly.

I was thinking – where’s something about malware  inbetween technical geekdom and easy peasy patronising… and decided I’d write it.

Here’s some of the programmes I tried:

The best name for the antimalware I tried was EEK! – Emisoft Emergency Kit which has a colourful autorun analyser as well as one of the best scanners – it found more nasties than anyone else. But it’s heavy to load and greedy to update its vast library of nasties

Malwarebytes kept me safe and faithful though it’s very annoying when it wants to be updated. It was less complicated to use than some others, and has a transformer style robot to comfort its customers.

Comodo is good but heavy on your CPU, which means that it sucks your computer’s resources and makes it go slowly. It can be a bit oversensitive and block what you do want, and it’s not straightforward to work out how to tell it to leave your trusted friends alone. It has some cool gadgets with it, like its own autorun analyser, a process killing/viewing programme, and endpoint cleaner. But it’s big to download, – beware if your net allowance is limited. The Geek buddies were not such true friends; they want remote access and $100 before they explain very much.

Unhack Me looked suspiciously amateur with poor graphics and strange syntax, as if it were translated. You often had to keep clicking round to see what else it had found. I liked the colour coded leaves to help explain processes, but it had few really helpful insights – it just seemed to pluck a few phrases out of its programming. I didn’t catch much that way.

Microsoft Security Essentials isn’t very powerful, though it did recognise malware and get it – just not all of it! It’s also light on the system with no flouncy custom pages (unlike the likes of Norton and Comodo).

I found no-ne had it all and they often each found something different.

I also learned to manually remove Trojans. If you have multiple DLLHOST.exes running that surge up and multiply, it’s likely you are being attacked, so check your temp folder and delete any droppings it might be leaving – and kill the processes in task manager or a similar programme. (You can find task manager by typing it in the start menu search box, or doing Control-Alt-Delete and clicking on it from the options presented). Also look for odd named files such as idosivabdi.dat and things that end in nyugel.exe, and check long processes and file names as malware can hide at the end of them. The malware seemed to enter through a legitimate program, asking permission continuously and then taking control. I found a folder which appeared at the time of an attack called “Microsoft anti-malware” in my C: drive – it the main one on most PCs. There is no such folder – it’s a Trojan!

Also be wary of your desktop gadgets as this is another chimney malware tries to slither down.

I reported all the malware I found and now have large iron doors with big fists and sharp eyes, should it ever try again.

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