How do I remove a Smart HDD virus from my computer?

Episode 876 (1:38:32)

Boris from Woodland Hills, CA

A site called Bleeping Computer is a great resource for cleaning malware off of your system. They have a removal guide that could help Boris get rid of that virus. However, Leo says that almost in every case, someone who has one virus also has more. So he could end up removing that one and go on computing without knowing about other viruses he could be infected with. Every security expert Leo knows has a very simple recommendation: As soon as you get infected with a virus, format the hard drive and reinstall Windows from a known good source.

The only way to be absolutely sure he isn't infected with any viruses is to format the hard drive and reinstall Windows from a known good source. This is why it's so important to have the Windows install disc when buying a computer! Microsoft is so concerned with piracy that they discourage manufacturers from providing install discs. They also have other anti-piracy mechanisms in place such as Microsoft Genuine Advantage, which generates 5% false positives. 1 in 20 users are incorrectly told that their copy of Windows isn't genuine when it is. This is appalling and is not Boris' fault at all for not having an install disc.

Boris also wanted to know why his anti-virus didn't catch this. Leo says no anti-virus is going to be perfect because the bad guys are changing their viruses rapidly, and the anti-virus software can't keep up. The antivirus is the second line of defense, the user is the first -- you should be careful what you do. Every virus requires a program to run on your system. It will not work unless the bad guy can get you to run a malicious program, or trick the operating system to run a program without the user knowing. There's so many patches to software and the operating system because there are constantly vulnerabilities found.

Here's a few tips to keep yourself secure:

  • Be careful where you get files
  • Be careful of what sites you visit
  • Turn on automatic updates in Windows
  • Don't open email attachments
  • Watch for suspicious messages from friends on social networking sites; They could have been hacked.