8 Reasons Your Virus Protection Isn’t Perfect

Just over two weeks ago, I was visiting a friend who suffered a virus attack on her laptop. Annoyed and perplexed, she told me the only thing she could think of was that she had received a Facebook wall post from a friend inviting her to see the people that had viewed her profile. Being less technically aware than I, she clicked on the link hoping to see a list of those who were curious enough about her to view her profile page and photos. Needless to say, she had fallen for what seemed like the oldest trick in the book, at least to an Internet geek like me.

I use the term “geek” loosely because I have worked in the online market for about a decade but a true IT geek I am not. I would say I’m more technically-savvy than a big chunk of the population – I started using the Internet in 1993, I can set up a wireless router, hook up your Internet cable modem, and I even know little tricks like doing a system restore and looking at the source code of a web page to unmask links.


What had infected my friend’s computer looked like a legitimate OS-branded antivirus program to the naked eye but it had all the telltale signs of malware:

  • It kept popping up a warning message that would not go away when she closed the pop up, over and over and over again.
  • The warning message stated that her computer was infected, that she needed to purchase protection and when she clicked “yes” to their offer of protection she was redirected to a website where she could purchase “their” protection product. Clearly, you cannot trust a virus “solution” coming from a program that is annoying you in the first place.
  • Of course when clicking “no” to the protection offer, the warning message would not allow her to access her Internet browser.
  • The infection would not allow us to access the System Restore feature to “turn back the clock” to a point before the infection took place.

The kicker: My friend already had brand-name virus protection but it didn’t detect or prevent her from accessing the malicious website that attacked her PC. This incident ended up costing her a week’s worth of PC usage and over $200 in fixes by the local Geek Squad.

This incident reminded me of something that happened several months ago. Even I, with my knowledge of “what NOT to do” in order to avoid virus intrusions, suffered a very similar attack of malware posing as antispyware software.

I had a different but more prominent brand name antivirus solution than my friend yet mine didn’t protect me either – even though I am careful not to enter suspicious websites, never download anything from P2P or any other websites, and never open email from people I don’t know or click on email links even in emails that appear to be sent from legitimate merchants. I was doing everything right. So why was my computer infected?

Even if you do everything right, you can still be infected. But why pay for something that is not going to do the job? We’ve all had antivirus software that fails us in some way. At the top of people’s lists of what they hate about antivirus software:

  1. Causes more aggravation with false positives (no, antivirus, Microsoft Excel is not a suspicious program, but thanks for the heightened security…)
  2. Doesn’t actually detect real viruses – and you get infected (see above)
  3. Annoying daily “reminders” telling you it’s time to scan for the millionth time (the worst offender usually comes pre-installed on your PC – you all know who I’m talking about…)
  4. Slows down your computer (waiting for the scan to complete…)

This is why I personally was so impressed with PerfectAntivirus once we launched it. I have never felt so reassured of my computer’s security ever. I tested it on my work PC and I was immediately impressed for just a few reasons:

  1. It’s what you don’t notice about PerfectAntivirus that impresses me the most. Totally nag-free. It does its job and that’s that. I don’t need to do anything to operate it – no configuring, no scanning, no nothing – it’s pre-set to run while your system is idle so it doesn’t hog your system’s resources.
  2. The Facebook, Twitter & Search Advisor. You’ll see what I like to call the “green lights” that tell you it’s ok to enter a website. Every link posted on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ – you name it – they all show a big green dot next to them (unless of course the website is unsafe – in that case, it’s a big red dot or “red light” warning you not to proceed). Even greater are the few times that I almost entered a malicious website by accident and PerfectAntivirus literally stopped me from doing so and took me back to the prior page. Whew, close one!
  3. We really do have the best prices on the market. Just look around. No legitimate antivirus software out there can beat our base price for 1 user. Just try to find someone with a better multi-user discount. Oh and with our free technical support. There is no way you’re going to find it. None.
  4. You all know and love PerfectDisk. And now you get an extra copy for free just by purchasing PerfectAntivirus. Buy any PerfectAntivirus or AntivirusPlus product (which has all the features of PerfectAntivirus plus antispam, a 2-way firewall and parental controls) and get a 1-user license of PerfectDisk Home Premium for free! Make your hard drive run even faster and more efficiently with PerfectDisk.

Sure, I’m a little biased but I felt so strongly about PerfectAntivirus when I tested it that I had to share!

Category: PC PerformancePC ProtectionPerfectDisk

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4 comments

  1. Hi,

    The following quote from the above blog post is not at all true:

    “Even if you do everything right, you can still be infected”.

    I have extensive knowledge of malware, how to prevent it and how to remove it from computers (from MBR infections to driver infections (think TDL 3 etc.), fake AV and fake optimization software, browser hijacks and browser redirects).

    I have not been infected since Dec 2004 when I first became aware of the threat of malware. I learnt a valuable lesson and have not been infected since. The world of malware has changed hugely since then and is now far more dangerous, yet I remain free from infection? How you might ask?

    The author of this articles advice is a good start:

    “I am careful not to enter suspicious websites, never download anything from P2P or any other websites, and never open email from people I don’t know or click on email links even in emails that appear to be sent from legitimate merchants”.

    It is funny that the author never mentions how they got infected. From my experience of removing malware as a career (I do not work for the Geek Squad (they are amateurs, I have had to clean up what they left behind too many times)) it is usually a combination of un-patched software and some human error (like clicking on a bad link or even just visiting a legitimate website).

    Even a legitimate website is a threat if it has been silently compromised and you visit the site with a slightly out of date web browser/browser plugin, suddenly your computer is infected.

    My advice for staying malware free is the following:

    Use an up to date internet security program with an excellent and proven reputation. The program should include:
    Antivirus
    Bi directional firewall
    Intrusion prevention
    Browser vulnerability protection, phishing protection and malicious URL detection
    Behavioural protection to detect new threats before virus signatures are available

    Keep your operating system (Windows, Mac OS X and variants of Linux) up to date.

    For Windows, turn on automatic updating and install the updates when asked, don’t keep ignoring the messaging to restart in order to install them. Ask yourself which is more inconvenient, to reboot your computer so that it can more protected against internet threats or having it infected?

    Keep your web browser up to date, always use the newest version (this applies to users of all browsers, not just Internet Explorer).

    If you don’t use Internet Explorer with Windows but use another browser (e.g. Firefox or Google Chrome), continue to install the updates for Internet Explorer when offered by Windows Update (for Windows XP and Windows Vista, Internet Explorer is highly integrated into Windows and is used for functions other than web browsing). For Windows 7, Internet Explorer can be uninstalled if not in use)

    Keep all browser plug ins up to date especially Adobe Flash, Adobe AIR, Adobe Shockwave Player, Adobe Reader (PDF) RealPlayer, Microsoft Silverlight

    Turn on automatic updates for as much software that you own as possible, most of the plugins above incorporate automatic updating.

    Don’t browse the internet logged into a computer with an administrative Windows account, use a standard account instead (that way even if you do make a mistake and click something you shouldn’t the infection will have to ask for your account password to infect your computer, don’t enter the password for your Windows account if you receive a prompt to do so unexpectedly)

    Don’t download content from peer to peer or torrent sites, this is taking a huge risk with your computer security

    Use complex passwords that are made of upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters (e.g. @, ? , !). Change passwords often. Never use the same password for multiple internet accounts of any kind

    Use password management software so that you don’t have to remember all of your complex passwords. Any keyloggers that are already present on your computer will not be able to read these passwords since you won’t be typing them any longer

    Always think before click a URL especially a shortened URL (e.g. bit.ly or tinyurl). If the URL came from a friend in an email or IM conversation, verify that your friend actually sent the email/IM and that their email/IM account has not been compromised and being used to send emails containing malicious links. For shortened URLs, use a preview service to view their actual destination e.g. http://unshort.me/ or http://www.longurl.org/

    I realize that the above may seem like a long list but most of all use common sense and don’t expect your computer to defend itself from threats unless you keep your security software, operating system (e.g. Windows), your browser (e.g. Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Apple Safari, Opera and Internet Explorer) and your browser plugins (mentioned above) up to date.

    I hope the above advice is of some assistance. Even if you choose to follow only some of it, it will help protect from online threats and malware.

    I will endeavour to respond to any follow up comments in a timely manner. Thank you.

    1. That is some great information a lot of people can put to use! In fact, I do not know how my computer was infected…hence my statement that I use the term “geek” loosely….this was long before Raxco launched PerfectAntivirus but I was fortunate enough to have a Microsoft technical support rep walk me through the removal of the virus, however I never learned exactly how it got there. I suspect it was a corrupted file on a flash drive that a friend gave to me. Again, we can still be infected by trusted sources who may not be aware their system is compromised.

  2. Jimbo,

    That is an excellent article and excellent advice.

    You questioned our writers statement about doing the right thing and still getting infected and that you haven’t been infected since 2004 … but later on you state “Even a legitimate website is a threat if it has been silently compromised and you visit the site with a slightly out of date web browser/browser plugin, suddenly your computer is infected.”

    You know that you are in the top 1% of computer users based on computer knowledge, that is obvious from your response, so to say that the average computer user will pick up on the signs of an unsafe website, banner, download, etc … is not fair. I stand by this statement from our writer “Even if you do everything right, you can still be infected” … as related to the average user. We (and you) are trying to make the average user safer from what you and I may deem “obvious threats”.

    It is a tough out there trying to remain safe online with all the various threats. The guys who come up with these threats are pretty smart (which makes you wonder how much money they would make if they went legit), so there is still risk for the average user even with the best security software solutions.

    I thank you for your response and the in depth advice you have given our readers.

    Thanks,

    Arthur Frischman
    President
    Raxco Software, Inc.

  3. Raxco Perfect Antivirus is one of the best Antivirus in the market! Always buying software from reliable companies such as Raxco Software! It will only make your digital life easier and better.
    John Mak

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