Malware is an abbreviated term meaning “malicious software.” This is software that is specifically designed to gain access or damage a computer without the knowledge of the owner. There are various types of malware including spyware, true viruses, worms, or any type of malicious code that infiltrates a computer. Generally, software is considered malware based on the intent of the creator rather than its actual features. Malware creation is on the rise due to the sheer volume of new types created daily and the lure of money that can be made through organized internet crime.
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To disinfect a local network of a malware outbreak, follow the step-by-step instructions below:
1) Quarantine the network
Disconnect the local network from the Internet immediately as a precautionary measure against further infection from an external source. It may also prevent malware already present in the network from connecting to external sites for further mischief. If at all possible, take down the local network to prevent malware from spreading between local machines. This includes both wired and wireless connections.
Disable network file and printer sharing.
If the malware infecting the network is known, block all ports used by the malware.
2) Close all suspect ports
If taking down the local network or closing targeted ports is not possible, setting the on-access scanner to “Disinfect Automatically” on all computers in the network may be attempted as a stopgap measure, to protect clean workstations from re-infection.
3) Scan all computers
Scan all computers with F-Secure Anti-Virus, using the latest database updates (available here). If some workstations do not have the latest updates, transfer and install the updates via removable media.
Malware files usually generate a large amount of network traffic, occupy a lot of system resources, install themselves to Windows or Windows System folders and create startup keys for their files in the System Registry. These traits may provide useful pointers or clues in tracking down the malware’s executable files.
4) Install a firewall, if necessary
Install a firewall on the Internet gateway or to all workstations if a gateway firewall is not available. If a firewall is already installed, configure it to block any ports used by malicious software – except for commonly used ports such as port 80, the default port used for normal Internet communications.
5) Install security updates
Install the latest security updates, patches or service packs for the operating system and other installed programs, on all workstations. This is very important to prevent further re-infections.
6) Change passwords for shared resources
If you were hit by a malware that spreads to network shares or by a password stealing trojan, change passwords for all important applications, set strong passwords for shared network resources.
7) Reconnect local network & Internet access
After you’ve followed all the steps mentioned, connect to the local network again and enable the Internet connection. Monitor traffic for a period of time to make sure that the infection doesn’t return.