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Clean an Infected Computer - Knowledgebase / Security / Antivirus and Malware - OIT Service Center

Clean an Infected Computer

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Some Ways a Computer Gets Infected

  • Responding to a phishing email
  • Failing to keep your anti-malware definitions current
  • Clicking on a seemingly innocuous web site for a free widget while a malicious script runs in the background
  • Using an anonymous thumb drive you found in the airport and installing its keylogger software
  • Opening an attachment from a long lost uncle you didn't know you had (and actually don't)
  • Not disabling your web browser's function to automatically run scripts (check its security configuration and set to "high")

Signs a Computer is Infected

  • It begins to run slowly
  • Task manager indicates 100% utilization
  • Firewall is asking permission to allow unknown programs access to the Internet
  • There are unknown processes and programs at start up
  • Policy changes were made without your knowledge
  • There are visible configuration changes
  • Some programs no longer work
  • You begin to get pop-ups

Tools for Your Toolbox

Steps to Disinfect

  1. Remove the machine from the network
  2. Turn off the system restore
  3. Clean out the temporary files using Disk Clean-up
  4. Run the following apps: Ad-Aware, Spybot S&D, SpyWare Blaster and HijackThis
  5. Run your system's antivirus tool plus a non-resident antivirus tool
  6. Reconnect to the network
  7. Run Belarc Advisor and then run MS-Baseline Analyzer
  8. Take actions as needed, including turn on system restore
  9. Afterwards, change all passwords and monitor online banking, credit cards, etc.


The best defense is sometimes your best offense as well:

  • If you use a firewall, keep it on
  • Keep all your system tools up-to-date
  • Consider using automatic updates
  • Read everything that comes from ISG
  • Use common sense!
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