Kirk downloaded a Java upgrade and now all his shortcuts go to an exe file. Leo suspects that Kirk got nailed by malware.There are plenty of security flaws in Java but it may also be that Kirk was doing something at the same time and he got malware. Either way, Kirk has malware, and the only way to be sure that he's gotten rid of it, is to backup his data, format the hard drive, and reinstall Windows from a known good source.
James has a Sony Vaio with Windows 8 and wants to know if he needs antivirus software. Leo says no. Windows 8 has its own security and antivirus, called Microsoft Defender (or Security Essentials for older Windows programs) that works really well. He can turn up the security in Internet Explorer, but Leo recommends using Google Chrome which is far more secure. Leo also recommends turning on automatic updates. James should also be using a router rather than directly connecting to the modem. But all the security in the world cannot protect the user from their own behavior.
Zack has an old Windows Vista machine. He uses ESET's Nod32 and wants to know if he can remove it from one computer and put it onto another. Leo says that can be tricky because AntiVirus software is designed not to be uninstalled, otherwise malware would do that. So he may need to spend some time over at ESET's support page to learn how to correctly do that.
Jim is buying a new Dell computer and wants to know what antivirus software he should get? Leo says first, an antivirus can't protect him against yourself. It should just be used as a backstop. He will be the first line of defense.
Windows actually has a good antivirus solution built into Windows 8 called Windows Defender. That'll work just fine as long as he keeps it up to date. He should also make sure he runs as a standard user, not an administrator. And don't click on links in emails.
Mark wants to know what anti virus software to use, and is wondering if Avast is any good. Leo says that Avast is "freemium," which means he can use it for free or pay for more functions. Leo doesn't recommend it. For free, he recommends Microsoft Security Essentials. If he doesn't mind laying out a few bucks, Eset's Nod32 is the best.
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Mark says that Norton anti virus on Windows 8 allowed a web search toolbar (called SearchUS.com) to get on Internet Explorer and it's been a pain in the neck to get rid of. Leo says that while it did happen, it's not really Microsoft's fault. They control 95% of the market and that makes it a huge target. Since it could have come with something else he installed, Mark may have accidentally installed it. Viruses can't get installed unless the user runs some sort of program to trigger them. Just having data can't really do it. It may be a security flaw in IE 10 that allowed it, though.
Jennifer updated her subscription to Avast and now her computer is all screwed up and they want her to pay for a certified technician. So, she went to Eset and they helped her by giving her an uninstall tool. Now she can't install Nod32 because it can't connect to the Internet. Leo says that is likely something left over from Avast that is causing the issue. Check out Avast.com's Uninstall Utility.