Spyware, viruses, & security forum: Is it safe to use my computer again, after it was compromised?

by: Lee Koo (ADMIN) February 28, 2014 5:40 PM PST

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Is it safe to use my computer again, after it was compromised?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) ModeratorCNET staff - 2/28/14 5:40 PM

Question:

Is it safe to use my computer again, after it was compromised?

This past summer my son was using Skype to chat with people. I have never used the service and have no idea how it works. But apparently, he was in a group chat with people he didn't know and one of them hacked into our computer. My son is 13 and I really didn't understand what he was trying to explain, but from what he said this person told him they got our IP address and hacked into our computer. My kid freaked out and taped a big note to the computer that it was "infected" and for nobody to use it. When we did use it, we would get a pop-up that said unauthorized changes had been made to our computer.

The only protection I have on the laptop is Avast antivirus. So I really don't know what was going on with it. After not using the device for about a month, I ended up restoring it to factory settings and that seemed to work. Since then, we have a new router through our cable provider. I still have Avast for security. But I don't use the computer to make purchases or pay bills.

How can I tell if my laptops security is really compromised? Is it safe to "go back into the water"? If not, what must I do to make it safe to use again?

Sincerely,

Tonia D.

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