PCs infected with viruses/spyware/malware are getting harder and harder to repair. Malware is getting smarter each day and hiding, embedding and defending its position harder than ever. Once your PC is infected it’s practically impossible to repair or remove the infection from within the infected operating system.

An infected PC we recently looked at had been running ZoneAlarm Internet Security – we don’t know the history of how it was infected, if ZoneAlarm was out of date or if the user had simply ignored warnings and ‘allowed’ the infection in but the PC constantly popped up fake virus warnings all directing the user to part with their credit card details to download the fake anti-virus software. Web browsing was randomly redirected to the same fake antivirus site and any attempt to download or install any genuine anti-virus or anti-malware software was intercepted and again redirected to the ‘purchase’ option.

The only solution was to boot the PC from a boot CD so the infection had no chance to load up and then we can scan the hard drive from a clean environment. In this particular case it took us a record 4 different programs to find and eventually remove the trojans and fraud malware.

The safest option probably would be to format and re-install the whole system but with a system with a lot of data, programs, user settings and configurations this was the best way of getting the PC useable quickly. The user can then back up their data, note down all their settings and then re-install should they want to.

Here’s a list of downloadable CD-ROM images available to help in the battle with malware. Most of them can be downloaded and burned directly to a CD-ROM, others need the particular program installing (on a clean PC!) then updating before it creates an ISO image to burn to CD:

Avast BART CD

Avira AntiVir Rescue System

Bit Defender Rescue CD

F-Secure Rescue CD

Kaspersky Rescue CD Download

Panda Security Rescue CD

Spybot Search and Destroy Boot CD

Trinity Rescue Kit

Ultimate Boot CD for Windows

http://devbuilds.kaspersky-labs.com/devbuilds/RescueDisk/