Malicious software will destroy your computer and steal your personal information if given the small amount of time needed to do so. Windows offers a free tool, aptly called the Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool, which checks computers running Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows 2000, and Windows Server 2003 for infections from spyware and viruses such as Blaster, Sasser, Mydoom, etc.
After using the Tool you can “view detailed results of the scan” to find out more about the scan. You’ll see what was checked for, and what, if any spyware or malware was detected. The MSRT checks for common viruses, but it’s worth repeating that the MSRT is not a replacement for antivirus software. Antivirus software protects the computer before the infection occurs. MSRT is designed for post-infection cleaning, and scans a large range of programs that are not all considered malware.
Malicious software outbreaks are like common cold outbreaks. Once exposed, computers can simply infect each other through e-mail attachments, CDs, flash drives, and hijacked Web pages. This is why I tell the people I work with to only use disks from trusted sources, to have an active web-browser scanner (which comes with most anti-virus software), and to scan all e-mail attachments before opening them. A simple mistake can life easy for a computer hijacker, waiting to record all of your personal information, such as bank account numbers and passwords which make identity theft a quick process.
Please take care of your family’s sensitive information. I have used the windows malicious software tool and reviewed popular anti-virus and anti-spyware software on my website, and encourage you to find the right solution before the worst scenario occurs.
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