Re: Trojan/Malware Questions | Research Project
I'm no expert by a long shot, but I have been using the internet since the bad old days of 5.6k dialup modems, and I have downloaded a million programs that claimed to speed this or that up only to find out that they were viruses. I basically learned to format my machine and reinstall the operating system before I learned to send an email.
They usually get in via browser hijacks and downloads from sources like p2p networks imbedded in a piece of software. Long ago it was "beware of .exe files", now it doesn't matter what the file is. A simple picture file can be enough to hide something in. I remember the wave of "See naked pics of Britney Spears" links everywhere several years ago, and you can bet your bottom dollar the majority of them had malicious code of some sort in them. I was never a Britney fan myself, though had they been of Cindy Crawford I'd probably know a lot more about viruses today lol.
Why people make them is debatable, some want to steal your logins for popular sites like paypal, bank info etc. Others just make them to be malicious, maybe these people compete with each other who can have the greatest negative effect. The mindset of someone who purposefully writes these things for malice escapes me.
Firewalls are important, a simple router makes it a lot more difficult to hack a computer, though its not 100%. However a software firewall lets you secure whats going out via your connection, which is the probably the main reason for getting something in. Again its not 100%, but they will just hide you from the "easy list".
Antivirus is a very good way to remove them however some viruses are written specifically for certain antivirus products. I tend to stay away from the big name brand AV's as they are the most attacked, and probably the same for firewalls too. The more popular they get the more attacks they will receive. For this reason it always pays to update the virus and trojan definitions often, no matter the program you use, a lot of them update every hour or sooner now. Its not the only way to get rid of them, as they are usually on your running process list. Its a good idea to get to know how many processes you are using and generally what each one does. I will often pull up my task manager and give the list a quick look if something doesn't feel right.
It was a lot easier for XP as it was old and people had good info regarding the different processes. Win7 and 8 make it difficult again as there are so many processes. For example I had one before called scvhost.exe, trying to hide itself among the several svchost.exe processes.
As for recommending software, the internet if full of these lists. Personally I think there are several free options that are just as good as the paid ones. Avira, Avast, AVG etc. Firewalls are again pretty hit and miss, I have used Zone Alarm until I was made aware of a few viruses that target it, so I downloaded one to test, and it completely shut down the firewall like it wasn't even there. Comodo is a good free option and very user for novice and expert alike. I would recommend using a few for a week or so and narrowing it down for yourself, they all have their ups and downs, there really is no quick and easy answer here sorry.
I have gotten rid of a few nasty things for friends and the most useful tool I can say from personal experience is Malwarebytes, it is also free for basic use so I would say that would be top of my list, but its not a 'stand alone' kind of security, it just adds another layer of protection in conjunction with an AV and firewall.
Anyway, I try and cover the basics and stay somewhat fluid in my choice of security. Hope I helped a little.