Certain adware, viruses and rootkits can really take considerable time to remove from a system, so use the tricks outlined in this tip (courtesy of SearchWindowsSecurity.com) to respond to an infection on your customer's network.
It seems that one of the biggest problems plaguing Windows users -- both at work and at home -- is recovering from a malware infection. In fact, it's the most common problem posed to me in my SearchWindowsSecurity.com Ask the Expert forum. Whether or not they do any damage, certain adware, viruses, and (heaven-forbid) rootkits can really take considerable time to remove from a system.
I've come across various tricks over the years to remove virtually anything and at the same time keep your cleanup efforts -- and the ensuing stress -- to a minimum. Make sure you consider each of the following steps when the time comes to respond to an infection.
Remove malware step-by-step
Step 1: Use several tools
Step 2: Try free tools
Step 3: Check obvious places
Step 4: Dig deeper
Step 5: Unload infected software
Step 6: Disable system restore, reboot in safe mode
Step 7: Check for software corruption or hardware problem
Step 8: Don't rely solely on a search engine
Step 9: Check for vendor-specific removal tools
Step 10: Hash suspect files
Step 11: When in doubt, reload
Step 12: Create a formal security incident response plan
About the author
Kevin Beaver is an independent information security consultant, author, and speaker with Atlanta-based Principle Logic, LLC. He has more than 18 years of experience in IT and specializes in performing information security assessments. Kevin has written five books including Hacking For Dummies (Wiley), Hacking Wireless Networks For Dummies, and The Practical Guide to HIPAA Privacy and Security Compliance (Auerbach). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This was first published in February 2007