Not everyone knows how to restore a computer after it has been invaded by malware. Sometimes the process involves rebuilding the operating system, reinstalling applications, and (hopefully) restoring files from a backup source. Usually workplace computers have multiple safeguards in place to prevent viruses and ensure files are backed up properly, but people may be less vigilant with their home computers.
Computer recovery after a virus doesn’t have to be a grueling ordeal.
Unfortunately, learning how to restore a computer or hiring someone to do the job for you can be expensive and time-consuming. There are different approaches people can use to keep their home computers safe and avoid having to do an in-depth computer recovery. Two of the main techniques are whitelisting and use of antivirus software. Both have advantages and disadvantages.
Whitelisting: Effective but Sometimes Overly Restricting
On the one hand, whitelisting is amazingly effective at preventing malware infestations, because it forces you to explicitly list all applications that are allowed to run on a computer, with the operating system blocking everything else. Malware may try to gain entry to “the club,” but if its name isn’t on the list, it’s not getting in.
While whitelisting is a remarkably effective way to avoid having to do a computer recovery, it can be a hassle to set up. To do so, you must implement “signatures” for the applications you want to allow. If you have multiple home computers in a network, you’ll have to distribute the whitelist to all the machines. When you upgrade software, you have to create new signatures for updated applications. Whitelisting can be overkill for the home computer.
Antivirus Software and the Virus “Arms Race”
While everyone should have antivirus software and make sure that it stays up to date, it’s important to know that antivirus software is involved in a constant game of catching up. Computer hackers and antivirus software makers are engaged in something like an arms race, where hackers develop a new way to invade and infect computers and antivirus software makers develop ways to prevent it.
Antivirus software is essential and can go a long way toward protecting your home computer, but it isn’t 100% perfect. By definition it misses zero-day exploits, which are becoming more common. Miss an antivirus software update, and you could put your computer at considerable risk.
Reboot/Restore Strikes the Perfect Balance for Home Computer Users
Reboot/restore technology offers more security than antivirus protection alone.
Reboot/restore technology can be the ideal balance between the restrictions of whitelisting and the vulnerabilities of solely relying on antivirus protection. This technology has been used for a long time by organizations like libraries and those who run computers in public kiosks. What it does is create a snapshot of a known “good” image of Windows, plus all required applications, which should be patched, up-to-date, and ready for use. When you use your computer you’re operating on the snapshot image. Changes you make are erased at the end of your use session. The approved snapshot is returned for use next time you or someone else uses the computer.
With reboot/restore technology, you can still save files to network drives or designated parts of the hard disk. These designated disk areas are not erased and rewritten after every computer session. With reboot/restore technology, you don’t have to know how to restore a computer. If there is a problem, all you do is reboot to perform a perfect computer recovery.
Reboot/restore technology, like that used in SmartShield Antivirus by Centurion Technologies essentially lets you “reboot to restore,” taking the machine back to a known point where everything works. If a virus makes it past your antivirus software, you can simply reboot your computer and it’s gone. SmartShield Antivirus catches all changes to a disk, which it funnels into a virtual “container” that is emptied when a use session is over. Say you’re working on a document and save it to a designated folder on the hard drive, then go online and manage to pick up a virus. All you have to do is reboot to rid your computer of the malware and you can go right back to work on your document.
SmartShield Antivirus not only allows you to reboot to restore so you don’t have to know how to restore a computer, it also has antivirus protection, so your computer is protected in two important ways. You don’t have to resort to whitelisting to protect your computer. Reboot/restore technology makes computer recovery as simple as rebooting.