Weekend Open Forum: Have you been infected by malware recently?

By Lee Kaelin on August 24, 2012, 6:30 PM

Whether on our own computers or those of our friends and family, we've all witnessed the damaging effects of malware. While variants such as the Stuxnet worm and its recent spinoff Gauss have helped propel media coverage of malware to new heights, such specialized attacks pose little risk to the average computer user.

However, there are many real world threats, as demonstrated by the continual influx of threads seeking assistance from our in-house malware experts. This week, we want to know if you've suffered at the hands of malware in the past year. If so, how did you resolve it? If not, what do you use to keep your system safe?

Malware image from Shutterstock




User Comments: 41

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Darkshadoe Darkshadoe said:

Nope. Next question.

Trillionsin Trillionsin said:

Would I be ignorant if I were to say that the two posters before me are ignorant?

GACrabill said:

I fix PCs every week for friends, family, neighbors, etc.

My favorite tools are : TDSSKiller, CCleaner, MalwareBytes, and SuperAntiSpyware.

Guest said:

Ignorant? Maybe.

It seems to me they are simply answering the question.

To add to the discussion, I haven't either.

Guest said:

Ever since switching to malwarebytes PRO 4 years ago, never been infected since (blocked yes, but not infected)...

Guest said:

Since I got malware pro and microsoft security essentails I have never had a problem since and I dl/stream all kinds of stuff.

Staff
Julio Franco Julio Franco, TechSpot Editor, said:

As long as you keep within the boundaries of known sites and software, I'd say it's hard to catch malware that easily these days. Built-in Windows protection has got considerably better in the past few years (from zero to something, admittedly) and free programs like Malwarebytes Antimalware and Spybot are quite popular and good.

But then again, also in the past few years I've had to clean install a number of family machines after getting infected somehow (still a mystery to me: screensavers, toolbars, you name it?). There's also a huge amount of malware help requests in the TS forum, so evidently we are not there yet and there's still a lot of vulnerable users.

Camikazi said:

Would I be ignorant if I were to say that the two posters before me are ignorant?

It's not ignorant to answer the question and yes it is possible to have had no malware on your system. I haven't had malware on my system in years, ever since I started reading and noticing the signs of what a bad site is like. Now if I have to fix my system it is usually cause I am playing around and broke stuff myself and not cause of viruses or malware :P

Guest said:

Nope, but I did have my Origin account hacked a few weeks back (by some Russian dude). Now I've decided to finally start using a password manager and randomized passwords. Unfortunately it seems that my Origin account is still able to be logged on by the hacker (hasn't happened in a while though) and after talking to a couple of the EA live chat people it seems there is nothing I can do about it (which is pretty rubbish). Short story shorter, use random passwords and a password manager.

venomblade said:

Nope. Just takes a little common sense and the right tools to be safe.

Ranger12 Ranger12 said:

I haven't recently. I use Avast antivirus on my system. However, from working on friends and family's computer I've come to believe that the most effective way to prevent malware is to just learn how to spot fishy search results, links, emails, attachments, etc.

EEatGDL said:

Not in about 5 years, even I'm developing a personal use tool to help me clean and repair USB memories quicker than AVs, but it's still on BETA :P I can only improve it when others borrow me their memories.So far it deals with the "system hidden folders", popular viruses in USBs, autorun-based malware, and the .lnk/.exe "folders" with the same names of the legit "system hidden folders". It started like a little project this summer for when you just want to open/print a single file from a borrowed memory and the AV may take up to 10 minutes analyzing it; cleaning manually to do it quickly becomes tiring, so I programmed my routines and heuristic criteria.

Guest said:

The article says "we've all experienced..." but I'm happy to say I have only ever got a virus on a usb thumb drive that made it unrecognisable, but it was child's play to workaround and then remove.

I wonder how much of the "problem" is really about scare tactics by software co, and people who use their machines for illegal activities.

Guest said:

With all the new anti-malware choices out there, there is really no reason to get caught with you pants down. If you want to stay malware and virus clean, then you have to put at least some effort into staying that way. Stay up to date and know your system and watch for system changes. Catch crap before it does get in and if you do get something, do your homework on how to get rid of it or fix the issue. I really haven't had any serious issues in 5 years. Good luck, we all need it with what is creeping around out there.

Jawshh Jawshh said:

Last time I encountered malware was in late 2009. Note that I use Windows.

Darkshadoe Darkshadoe said:

Would I be ignorant if I were to say that the two posters before me are ignorant?

I don't know if you would be ignorant or not. Troll maybe. Trying to start drama..definitely. A question was asked and answered, simple as that. The question was "Have you been infected by malware recently?" and I answered "Nope. Next question" If you had wanted me to elaborate on that answer, I would have been more than happy to oblige by asking me to do so in a respectable manner. You could have even not said anything and just answered the question yourself. As I write this, I see you did not answer the question yourself which if my previous post added nothing to the discussion, yours added even less.

Darkshadoe Darkshadoe said:

"As long as you keep within the boundaries of known sites and software, I'd say it's hard to catch malware that easily these days."

That is the key Julio. Being mindful of what you are downloading (software, web pages, etc.) makes a big difference. It also helps now that browsers are more advanced and catching stuff before you get the chance to download something nasty.

hitech0101 said:

Not recently but was infected a few years ago had to format the PC and do a clean install.Since then not a single virus/malware infection atleast not that I know of.

penn919 said:

I haven't experienced an infection since I owned my first PC (2006). I run Avast AV & Windows Defender for realtime protection and I have Spybot scheduled to run once every week on early Saturday Mornings. That's all I pretty much need. I don't even use third party firewalls. I just use the one built into Windows 7.

yowanvista yowanvista said:

Haven't got any for years

j05hh j05hh said:

Nope, I don't even run AV

Zoltan Head said:

I don't recall ever having a malware issue personally, I've cleaned lots of PCs for other people (part of my job!), in recent times mainly either "SecurityTools" type scamware, trojans from kids sites (smiley rubbish etc.), or sirefef variants.

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Last time I got any sort of infection was back in 1992 (incidentally it was caused by another 'careless' user). So I may be extremely lucky, or cautious, whichever way one may take this. But the fact is, I never use any sort of toolbars + or software from unknown sites or which I wouldn't be using.

Mr Zea Mr Zea said:

Once, when my wife thought it was a good idea to click on a flashy banner ad! I put this down (like virtually all other computer problems) to "user error"! :)

Cota Cota said:

Had been years coming to think of it, but yet again I work fixing peep's PC's

Trillionsin Trillionsin said:

Would I be ignorant if I were to say that the two posters before me are ignorant?

I don't know if you would be ignorant or not. Troll maybe. Trying to start drama..definitely. A question was asked and answered, simple as that. The question was "Have you been infected by malware recently?" and I answered "Nope. Next question" If you had wanted me to elaborate on that answer, I would have been more than happy to oblige by asking me to do so in a respectable manner. You could have even not said anything and just answered the question yourself. As I write this, I see you did not answer the question yourself which if my previous post added nothing to the discussion, yours added even less.

I work on lots of PCs too, and I've had a number of people tell me they have never had any malware or viruses, but when I install or scan their computer with antivirus software there is almost always SOMETHING, whether how minimal or sever it is.

My point here is that EVERYONE has experienced some type of malware and didnt know. Now I thought I was being fair with my statement... and with everyone else replying, yours is the only one I felt like replying to because of your subtle attitude that I read your post with, whether it was intended or not.

Everyone's had to deal with some type of malware.... if you run Windows, you have whether you know it or now.

Guest said:

I use a Mac so I am 100% protected so the answer is no:) , suxs to be Windows users installing loads of security programs just to even check a email for browse the web.(n)

Camikazi said:

Would I be ignorant if I were to say that the two posters before me are ignorant?

I don't know if you would be ignorant or not. Troll maybe. Trying to start drama..definitely. A question was asked and answered, simple as that. The question was "Have you been infected by malware recently?" and I answered "Nope. Next question" If you had wanted me to elaborate on that answer, I would have been more than happy to oblige by asking me to do so in a respectable manner. You could have even not said anything and just answered the question yourself. As I write this, I see you did not answer the question yourself which if my previous post added nothing to the discussion, yours added even less.

I work on lots of PCs too, and I've had a number of people tell me they have never had any malware or viruses, but when I install or scan their computer with antivirus software there is almost always SOMETHING, whether how minimal or sever it is.

My point here is that EVERYONE has experienced some type of malware and didnt know. Now I thought I was being fair with my statement... and with everyone else replying, yours is the only one I felt like replying to because of your subtle attitude that I read your post with, whether it was intended or not.

Everyone's had to deal with some type of malware.... if you run Windows, you have whether you know it or now.

Actually that is not true, it is not hard at all to avoid malware if you know what to look for, it is very possible to have had a Windows machine for years and not had any malware or viruses. Remember the question is not whether you have EVER had malware just whether you have had any recently, the answers to the 2 questions can be complete opposites. I scan my machines weekly and have anti malware running and have not had any malware or viruses in the last 5 years (at least) but I did get viruses when I first got a computer and had almost no knowledge of things.

Darkshadoe Darkshadoe said:

I use a Mac so I am 100% protected so the answer is no , suxs to be Windows users installing loads of security programs just to even check a email for browse the web.(n)

[link]

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Mac has gotten popular.

Guest said:

None in the past year. I use MSE, Google Chrome and common sense. I don't think I've had an infection since Vista SP1.

ROBO731 ROBO731 said:

I got a rootkit on my laptop, but I don't have a lot of important stuff on it so I haven't removed it. I don't notice it doing anything and if I ever feel like it, I could just install a clean OS.

Ubwarcher07 said:

Pretty sure I'm always infected with something, even with my layers of security. Nothing particularly major worth noting as of recent though.

Guest said:

I was given a michine at my workplace. The previous user had turned off UAC and a couple of weeks ago, 6 months into the job I was attacked by a serious trojan which redirected my browser, caused search engines to want to open a file rather than redirect to the results and more worryingly it turned off Intune Endpoint Protection and my Firewall.

Wound back the PC and got another week out of it before it all started again so had to reinstall.

Strangely I suspect there was a dormant item on the machine and the trigger was visiting a web site with 3rd party adverts ("Cracked" as it happens).

This needs dealing with on a wider level. Adverts and java script  should not be causeing these issues.

Guest said:

Actually I have seen 3 cases of malware this past week and another case a few weeks back. In 2 of the cases a user downloaded and installed programs that contained malware. In those cases I had to follow longer malware removal processes but I did remove the malware. One case the malware got partialy installed but anti-virus stopped a full blown attack; that was fairly easy to remove. The last case, the malware was limited to one user's profile, we just deleted and recreated the profile to resolve it. The clients were Windows Vista, 7 and 2008 R2. 4 malware attacks and 4 clean computers.

wiyosaya said:

Nope. Not even any notification of detection of any malware. As others have noted, it is pretty easy to protect against malware these days.

kbit13 said:

Yes. I use avast and I run boot time scans. A lot of these malware are very good at hiding and from my experience a fair number of computers are infected and people always tell me " Oh, I run this and that and my computer is clean! " Yet I always seem to find their computers infected with viruses and malware! So I;m glad so many of you seem to think you are protected or I wouldn;t have so many computers to fix!

Guest said:

I did found something hidden in my USB flash drive..

One is a folder name 'xavx' and the other two were 'dan3606' & 'dan3608'..Both contain an executable files. I can only see them upon running Linux Os...

TorturedChaos, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I haven't got anything in quite a while that I'm aware off. I may have a few minor ones floating around on my computer but between Avast!, Spybot S&D, and Comodo firewall I feel pretty safe.

And I don't have very good browser habits. I visit all sorts of questionable sites :P.

Surprisingly neither has my parents computer that my two youngest siblings use.

It was Ubuntu for a while - so that's kind hard to screw up w/o having any root access. But my dad got tired and got a copy of Win7 and security wise it seems to be much more stable than xp. Also harder to screw up :P.

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