Hackers specifically target known vulnerabilities in order to gain control over a PC. To check if your computer is safe, you should perform the following security check.
Spectre Meltdown CPU Checker
Three serious security vulnerabilities in almost all CPUs shocked both users and companies. Closing these gaps completely and reliably via software updates turns out to be more difficult than expected. Although updates for Windows have been available since January 3, 2018, they only close two of the three vulnerabilities and do not work on all PCs.
A simple safety check tool for the gaps is the Ashampoo Spectre Meltdown CPU Checker. It runs without installation and indicates whether the system is still vulnerable to the Spectre and Meltdown gaps. Two vulnerabilities are grouped under the name Spectre. The Windows update from January 3 is supposed to close one of them, but the second Spectre vulnerability will probably be fixed by a bios update. However, a Windows update may be coming for this gap as well.
The on-board Windows tool “Reliability Monitoring” is only known to a few users, although it has been supplied by Microsoft since Vista. The tool logs all hardware and software problems as well as changes made to the computer. So with this check, you not only discover Windows problems but also get on the track of shaky and defective hardware.
In the reliability monitoring log, there are events that are classified as pure information and have little or no effect on the index. Other events are logged as “warnings”, for example, if the configuration of software did not work. Finally, there are “critical events”. These always influence the index negatively. The index can only improve if no negative events occur over a longer period of time.
You do not have to pay attention to entries with an “I”, they are pure information entries. More exciting are the entries with the yellow triangles (warnings). All security-related entries appear with a red dot (critical events). A click on it shows all events of the day in a list. Double-clicking on a critical event in the list provides more info about the problem.
Not all events with a red dot concern the security of the PC, but all security-related errors have a red dot. As usual with Windows logs, the info is mostly useful only for programmers or not at all. However, they can still be useful: By searching the Internet for the affected program name together with the “exception code” from the log, you should get useful hits in most cases.
Antivirus programs should be used of course. From time to time, however, it is advisable to get a second opinion on the malware situation of the system. Scanner website is very well suited for this purpose. The number of available online scanners has decreased in recent years. However, there are still enough offers to choose a scanner from a different manufacturer than the one that also made your installed antivirus program. Although the tools are called online scanners, most of them technically start via an EXE file. But at least there is no installation of firewall required.
Antivirus programs specialize in PC viruses testing. The term “PC viruses” is used here as an umbrella term for worms, Trojans, backdoors, rootkits, ransomware, and the like. The tools usually detect all of these pests very reliably. In the case of adware, however, they often have significant weaknesses. One of the reasons for this is that malicious adware is not always clearly evil, which is why antivirus software prefers to leave it alone. As a substitute, an anti-adware tool such as AdwCleaner can be used.
The software is ready to use immediately after you start it and finds unwanted adware, i.e. advertising software and modules that manipulate the browser after you click on “Scan”. You remove the found files and registry entries via “Delete”. The “Uninstall” button refers to the Adwcleaner program itself. There are a lot of websites that offer such services, just pick the one that suits you best.