Mark says that Norton anti virus on Windows 8 allowed a web search toolbar (called SearchUS.com) to get on Internet Explorer and it's been a pain in the neck to get rid of. Leo says that while it did happen, it's not really Microsoft's fault. They control 95% of the market and that makes it a huge target. Since it could have come with something else he installed, Mark may have accidentally installed it. Viruses can't get installed unless the user runs some sort of program to trigger them. Just having data can't really do it. It may be a security flaw in IE 10 that allowed it, though.
Jennifer updated her subscription to Avast and now her computer is all screwed up and they want her to pay for a certified technician. So, she went to Eset and they helped her by giving her an uninstall tool. Now she can't install Nod32 because it can't connect to the Internet. Leo says that is likely something left over from Avast that is causing the issue. Check out Avast.com's Uninstall Utility.
Rootkit Revealer from Microsoft’s SysInternals site may also help and he can always reset his browser, clearing cache and history.
When running AOL, Mark's mouse goes crazy, but when he goes to AOL via another web browser there is no issue.
Rick says his XP machine got bit by malware, and the utility he used to fix it was also malware. Leo says that it may not be, but modern malware attaches itself to critical system files, causing the drivers to disappear and lose internet connectivity. It's likely the malware utility didn't even fix it and more malware is being installed without his knowledge.
Laurie downloaded some tax documents from DocStock.com and now she's having a variety of problems on her computer. Leo says that docstock.com is a legit site, but it's possible their website got hacked or a malformed PDF was installed onto the site. The strange tool bar in her browser is a bad sign.
Laurie could get someone to remove it (and she's tried), but it's likely there's other stuff going installed and going on as well. So the only way to really be sure is to back up the data, format the hard drive, reinstall Windows from a known, good source, and run updates.
Mike's wife was on a site a few days ago and now there's a search bar in Internet Explorer that they don't want. Leo says it's likely a piece of malware, but it may simply an issue of just removing it from add/remove programs. But it also could be something more malicious. There are things called "zero day exploits" where Microsoft announces a bug they are fixing and hackers took advantage of it the same day it was discovered. If he can't run Windows update, then it's something that needs to be removed. He won't be able to run system restore either if that's the case.
Arthur's sister got a call from Microsoft to remove a virus from a computer, which of course was a scam. Now he has to remove it from her computer and is going to format the PC and reinstall.
He's wondering how that scam may have affecter her passwords and data, however. Leo says there's no way to know. There could be a key logger on it that harvests all that information. Since she turned off the computer right away, there's a good chance they weren't able to get anything. If she had waited a few days or weeks to do anything about it, it could have logged all her activity.
Leo recommends Microsoft's Security Essentials, which is free.
Mike also noticed that his laptop has slowed down over time. Leo says that over time, Windows can suffer from "bit rot." The easiest way to fix it is to back up his data, then format the hard drive and restore the OS from the recovery disks to the way he got it when he bought it. Then he should make sure to run Windows updates.
Terry responded to a pop-up from someone who used remote access to get into his computer. Leo says that is a complete scam and it's likely that a they've infected his computer with viruses and maybe even key loggers to monitor activity on the computer. They even tried to charge him for this. Leo advises that he talk to a computer store in his area. Then have them backup his data and reinstall Windows. He can run a scanner such as the Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool by clicking Start, selecting "Run", typing MRT and hitting enter.