Clusters of Infected Machines Indicate a Systemic Problem

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2012-07-07 Print this article Print


But suppose you didn€™t get the green light saying that your computer is OK. If that happens, the DCWG offers a list of places where you can access malware removers that will clean the malware out of your system. Most security vendors, including Symantec, McAfee, Kaspersky and Microsoft, have free software that will clean your system. 

Note that the same page also provides a list of resources for making sure your computer is really free of malware and stays that way. Resources for PC and Macintosh computers are included in these lists. 

Once you€™ve finished the initial tests and fixed the malware infection or its after-effects, it€™s time to review your security posture. While an infected computer or two inside a large organization may not indicate a systemic problem, seeing more than a few will. Likewise, seeing malware infections in clusters within an office will indicate a problem. It may be that a specific remote office isn€™t being as careful as it should, for example, or it may mean that the anti-malware application in that location is compromised. 

If you find that your security systems are compromised, then the answer is clear, call the person in your company who is in charge of data security and ask for help. 

Now, suppose it€™s Monday morning and you just found out that one or more of your computers suddenly can€™t find the Internet when everyone else can. If you haven€™t already downloaded one or more of the free malware removal tools provided by DCWG, you should do so now, even if you have to use a computer outside the office. Save the malware removal tool on a flash drive, take it to the affected computers and before doing anything else, check the DNS settings. 

You may be able to clear up the problem just by fixing the DNS settings. If those settings don€™t stay fixed, then run the malware-removal tool doing the full-system scan. This will take a while. When it€™s finished, the malware will be gone, and you€™ll have a list of what was done. 

None of this is rocket science, but some of it is tedious. Don€™t try to take shortcuts. Instead, do the full removal job. But while you€™re waiting, you can start thinking about what you need to accomplish to make your systems as secure as they should be from now on. 

Wayne Rash Wayne Rash is a Senior Analyst for eWEEK Labs and runs the magazine's Washington Bureau. Prior to joining eWEEK as a Senior Writer on wireless technology, he was a Senior Contributing Editor and previously a Senior Analyst in the InfoWorld Test Center. He was also a reviewer for Federal Computer Week and Information Security Magazine. Previously, he ran the reviews and events departments at CMP's InternetWeek.

He is a retired naval officer, a former principal at American Management Systems and a long-time columnist for Byte Magazine. He is a regular contributor to Plane & Pilot Magazine and The Washington Post.

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