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Virus Removal and System Tuning.

Popup messages, slow performance, strange things happening? These are signs of that your system may be compromised by a virus, scammer or hacker. We clean your system of viruses and typically increase your system performance at the same time.

Golden Rules.

  • Backup. Always have 2 copies of anything important on 2 different devices.
  • Check your backups. Try restoring a recent file, don't assume it's working.
  • Run virus scans. On a regular basis, don't assume it's working.
  • Never Pay For Anything. Except us.😃
  • If it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is.
  • Don't trust anyone unless you start the conversation. Popups, Emails, Phone calls, your Front Door or on the street. Politely say NO and contact the company directly if interested.
  • Don't trust phone numbers found with Google or any other search engine. Make sure you go directly to the companies website, use the phone book or Canada411.ca.
  • Don't open attachments or click on links unless you are expecting them.
  • Hover over links to see where it points before clicking it (usually shows in bottom left of the window). Example:


Our standard Virus/malware removal includes:

Virus Scan.

One of the first things we do is kick off a Virus/Malware scan using Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free.
  • Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free..
  • Run the Virus Scanner at least once a month or if the machine does anything strange.
  • Stick to the free version. It doesn't run in the background and interfere with performance or other programs. Click "I don't need real time protection" and "ok" when it asks.
  • Works on Windows and Mac computers as well as newer Phone and Tablet devices. Does not work on some older Macs, phones and tablets.
  • Deactivate Free Trial. Stay with the Free version. I do encourage purchasing a license too support the company, but don't install it. We have seen many machines slowed down by the paid version. Never Pay For Anything. Except us.😃
While it is running, we start a manual Tune-up.

In our experience, no one Anti-Virus catches everything. By running a seperate scanner, it forces your regular anti-virus to scan the files at the same time. Thereby catching a lot more viruses than an Anti-Virus program alone.

Startup and Performance Tuning.

We diagnose and correct slow performance, hangs, freezes and update problems.

Windows.
We currently use AnVir Task Manager Free
Anvir Task Manager Free. Startup Monitor. Can be used to block changes to startup, but with Windows 10 - 1903, I am not using this as much. You can now disable startup items in task manager.
and CCleaner.
CCleaner. Cleanup tool. Uninstall programs, Clear caches and temporary files, System configuration utility.
to assist with this.
  • Registry.

    Machine and User Runs, Shells, CurrentControlSet, CurrentVersions, Login, Strange entries in general.
  • Services and Scheduled Tasks.

    Disable all but system and your required tasks (i.e. backups).
  • Context Menus.

    Those menus that pop up when you right click something. If it takes a long time for it to come up, there is likely an invalid "Context Menu" item.
Mac.
Use Finder to check:
/Library and ~/Library
  • Applications
  • Application Support
  • Launch*
  • Start*
  • Preferences
  • Remove plist files only if required. Resets application settings to default.
/etc/crontab and /System/Library/LaunchDaemons for scheduled tasks.
Also check iCal/Calendar for scheduled tasks.
iPhone/iPad, Android, Media Box
  • Restart device. Always first step with these devices.😀
  • Remove unused and unknown apps.
  • Clear cache.
    • iPhone/iPad: Settings > Storage.
    • Android: Settings > Application Manager. You can also clear cache in recovery mode to correct some problems.
  • Ensure proper/safe browser is being used. Recommend Google Chrome (cross platform sync). Safari is fine as well. If privacy is a concern, then Firefox is always an option, but you will likely still need to use Chrome/Safari on some sites.
Check for:
  • Drive errors. Symptoms: hangs, slow, not starting.
  • Over heating. Symptoms: Slows down when system busy.
  • Errors logged in Windows Event Viewer or Mac Console.
  • Startup programs. Ensure only required programs are running. Remove factory installed trial software and bloatware.
  • Home Page and Search Engine changes. Reset to defaults or user choice.
  • Browser Extensions. One of the more popular ways of infecting computers is with internet browser extensions. Those little icons at the top of your window. Unless actively used, we disable all browser extensions and setup Adblock Plus and Bitdefender Trafficlight.
When it comes to tuning up a computer or cleaning it of viruses, we have 1 basic rule. If we don't recognize it, we treat it like a virus. We will check with you to see if you recognize the program (😀I guess we haven't seen everything). If you don't recognize it, we disable
We only delete known viruses/malware. Anything else we don't recognize, we disable so it can be restored if it causes an issue.
it from starting.

Ad blockers - 1st line of defence.

Ad Blockers have been said to deprive sites of revenue. Without advertising, a lot of "free" content would not be available on the internet.

However, advertisments are annoying, spread viruses, slow down and otherwise interfere with your internet.

  • Malvertising. Malicious actors can use advertising to spread viruses on otherwise legitimate sites. Do a simple search for companies "spread malware" and you will find many examples of this. Google, Sony, Forbes, MSN, just to name a few...
  • Pop up advertising that covers content such as employed on Youtube are especially annoying.
  • Targeting Children and Behavioural Advertising are also a concern. Advertising quite often has no way of opting out and it can track you or your childrens browsing habits to display questionable "personalized" advertising.
  • Metadata collection can provide an uncomfortably deep insight into your personal life.
  • Fake News. Is more or less just more advertising.

We recommend Adblock Plus or Ublock Origin. Both work quickly to block advertising and known malicious sites.

Caution: Ad blockers can interfere with some websites. When on that site, click the adblocker (usually top right) and disable it for that site. If a site demands I disable the blocker, I find an alternative site if possible.

Phone and tablet ad blockers typically require a different browser or VPN system to block app advertising. Generally if you start seeing advertising on your device, remove any apps you recently installed and find alternatives.

Phishing Filters.

Phishing is when sites appear to be something they are not (ie. Bogus emails from banks, shippers, paypal, etc.). Phishing filters protect you on the internet, but they can also slow you down (they examine each website). Most internet browsers and Ad blockers now block malicious sites. As such I only use a phishing filter when people have a habit of going to questionable sites.😀 The one I currently recommend is Bitdefender Trafficlight.

Anti-Virus.

AntiVirus programs protect you by constantly monitoring your device. As such you gain security at the sacrifice of performance. We recommend using the Anti-Virus program that comes into your computer or device. They tend to have the least impact on performance and fewer issues than paid or other programs.

  • Windows 10 includes "Windows Security" (formerly Windows Defender, Microsoft Security Essentials). Windows 7 and 8.x can still use Avast, but should take advantage of the Free Windows 10 upgrade. The security in Windows 10 1803 or later is far superior to any others i've seen (on Windows machines). If you really need to keep Windows 7 or lower, don't use it for searching the internet, email or social media (facebook, etc).
  • Mac OSX/macOS: Gatekeeper has proven to be a solid Anti-Virus. The operating system is hardened against attack and the App Store also contribute to iMac, MacBook security. That plus the fact that they have never been as big of an attack vector as Windows.
  • *Android: Google Play Protect.
  • *iPhone/iPad (iOS): Actively blocks Anti-virus programs.

* - Due to their design of keeping the core secure and by default only allowing apps to be installed from the store, Phones and Tablets are typically more secure against viruses than their Windows (and to some extent Mac) counterparts. Of course since you carry your phone with you, there are other risks and malicious apps have been known to sneak into the store on both Apple and Android devices. Also, if you jailbreak your device, all bets are off.😀

Firewall.

By default, you are typically protected by 2 firewalls. One is built into your Internet Router. The other is part of your operating system. Most firewalls protect you by blocking traffic originating from the internet and allowing traffic originating from your Windows or Mac computer. iPhone, iPad and Android
Uses the linux IPTABLES firewall which blocks incoming connections by default. You can use AFWall+ from the app store to configure. Recommend leaving it alone.😊
devices are generally not considered to need an additional firewall.

If you're having problems getting programs through the firewall, we can help.