Earlier this week we had a Compaq PC in for treatment. Basically there were a lot of things wrong with the box, most of them pointing to viral infection. The box came with McAfee Antivirus, a 90-day trial version, pre-installed by Compaq. Looking a little closer showed that the program had never performed a full system scan and the virus definitions had never been updated. Little wonder then that we found 165 infected files - it was like a who's who of the top twenty viruses out there - Netsky, Bugbear, Sober, Beagle, etc., all present and correct.
So this machine had effectively been crippled by viruses and the owner had taken no precautions to prevent this happening. Sadly this is something that we see time and time again - either through lack of knowledge or through inertia, PCs are left effectively unprotected against viral threats. When it comes to spyware the situation is even worse as the majority of home users continue to be largely unaware of its existence and how to combat it ("Yeah, I installed Adaware so I'm sorted for spyware"!!!).
I read recently that there are now nearly 2000 new malware threats per month, up from around 1000 per month in 2004. If you use a computer and that computer connects to the internet then you must understand what malware is and how to prevent it, otherwise expect to bring it to your friendly pc maintenance shop in the coming months for a rebuild. Learn more about viruses and spyware here. You have been warned ... again.