What software should I bring to attack unknown malware?
August 20, 2004 6:25 AM   Subscribe

I'm going to be visiting my in-laws this weekend, in part to treat their ailing computer, which sounds to be suffering from a myriad of malware. I want to make sure I have the complete set of tools I need. More details inside.

Aside from the normal host of problems associated with IE on XP, including popups and toolbars, their dial-up connection fails within a minute or so of connecting, everytime. As a result, I won't be able to download any software once I get there. Instead, I'm burning a disk to bring with me. So far I've got Adaware, Spybot S&D, AVG, and Firefox, along with all the relevant definition updates. Any other ideas? And any ideas what could be causing the dial-up connection to futz out? I know it's not a hardware problem.
posted by monju_bosatsu to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
Best answer: It sounds like they might have the Msblast.A worm.
posted by MegoSteve at 6:34 AM on August 20, 2004

Add Spyware Blaster. It's been previously suggested on Ask Metafilter in a related thread, and it stops spyware from getting to your computer in the first place.
posted by banished at 6:35 AM on August 20, 2004

Bring an OS install disk and be prepared to reinstall Windows. It's a last resort, but depending on how bad the situation is -- and it's usually really, really bad by the time you get the call -- it might be the only way to be sure. I can't tell you how many times I've wanted to do a reinstall for someone and they didn't have OS media on hand.
posted by majick at 6:37 AM on August 20, 2004

Best answer: I haven't used AVG, so this might not be needed, but I'd add McAfee's stinger.
posted by sohcahtoa at 6:44 AM on August 20, 2004

Best answer: This thread had a lot of good suggestions as well.
posted by FreezBoy at 6:50 AM on August 20, 2004

Bring an OS install disk

I'd add HijackThis to the list. It presents a nice list of what processes are running, among other things. When I talked a friend through this sort of thing on his XP box [he has a Compaq] he didn't have any OS install disks, it was just all on a different partition on the hard drive and could basically be installed by making a boot disk of some sort. Reinstalling the OS took much less tim ethan the endless troubleshooting we had been doing. If they use Outlook you might want to get them Thunderbird as well. Might also want to look into a firewall program if they insist on continuing to use IE.
posted by jessamyn at 7:56 AM on August 20, 2004

Response by poster: Thanks everybody for the very helpful suggestions, and especially to MegoSteve for the heads-up on msblast. Between this thread and the previous thread mentioned by FreezBoy, I should have quite the arsenal. Also, I've made sure they still have their OS install discs, so I should be good to go.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 8:51 AM on August 20, 2004

another recent thread about this stuff...

i'm going to start work on my disk o' windows clean up utilities today, but i would second the notion that most of the time, a complete reinstall ends up being easier
posted by jacobsee at 12:54 PM on August 20, 2004

Response by poster: For anyone curious that might still be digging through this thread: the in-laws had the sasser virus. It was relatively simple to turn off system restore, run the sasser removal tool from symantec, and install the appropriate security patches. After that, it was just routine malware removal. Thanks!
posted by monju_bosatsu at 10:08 AM on August 22, 2004

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