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Best  software to detect and repair malware/adware/malicious programs

Posted on 2007-11-22
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Last Modified: 2012-06-21
Please inform the best software to find and remove any malicious program/adware/malware which might have infected the computer while surfing internet or downloading any program.
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Question by:rmsiyer
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by:bsharath
ID: 20337430
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by:CaffeinatedTech
ID: 20337632
Oh Spyware is such a big problem.  Most of my job is removing spyware and viruses.

My procedure involves several tools.
* process explorer - Kill any unnecessary processes while I clean the machine, also check the thead list for winlogon and explorer to see if there are any dodgy looking dlls loaded (you get good at spotting them)
* autoruns - clean up the startup apps, IE BHOs, AppInit, things that can run when your computer starts
* Ad-Aware - Does a reasonable job, there is nothing that will clean 100% of Spyware.
* SpyBot - This one used to be brilliant, then went a bit lame for a while but is back up there again, this will find more stuff after Ad-Aware finishes.
* After that if symptoms persist I consult Spyware Doctor (this one is retail), SD will almost always find spyware traces that the other two have missed.

After all that I always install Firefox, remove the IE icons and make sure the client knows to use Firefox, and why.

This list is not definitive, sometimes I need to go deeper to get rid of stuff.  I try not to reload windows but sometimes it is just less time consuming.  Some clients don't want to pay me to sit there for an unknown time frame.

Another thing I like to do is to set IE's Internet Zone to High, that way if people do start using IE again, it is less prone to infection, it is in fact less prone to working if the client doesn't add sites to the trusted list.
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by:CaffeinatedTech
ID: 20337642
If I was asked to recommend a retail spyware app I would choose Spyware Doctor or Webroot Spysweeper.

For a free solution, a schedule of manually updating and running Ad-aware and spybot does a pretty good job.

That said, none of this is bullet proof, things can still slip in and hang on in a way that these apps alone cannot remove.
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by:IndiGenus
ID: 20338519
If something has already gotten in, which you are referring to in your question. There is no such thing as one app. that will remove everything. All of the ones mention already are good and will remove much if not most. But if you get something more serious like a bot, Vundo Trojan, Smitfraud, then it is unlikely any of these scanners will completely remove it. At that point you would need experienced help and the right special tools to remove it.

Regards,
Dave
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by:CaffeinatedTech
ID: 20338539
Yeah experience goes a long way in this area.
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by:rmsiyer
ID: 20341766
Dear Ctech,

First of all, I want to clarify that the system does not show any signs of infection.These are the precautionary steps I would like to take before some online transactions.

You have mentioned that IE has to be removed with its icons in the case of infected machines . You have also suggested firefox.

Is it a better browser than IE 7 in the context of online malware prevention?  WIN XP upgraded IE 7 recently in the place of IE6 automatically a few days back. Is it ok?

Secondly, is it advisable to instal the free version of zone alarm coupled with adaware and spy bot?
Or
Is it sufficient to instal only any two of the above three freeware? If yes, please inform the suitable programs which  enhance online  security  without  affecting  the performance.
Please advise.
Thanks for your time and advice.

F.B: Sorry for shortening  your screen name . No offence is intended.
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CaffeinatedTech earned 120 total points
ID: 20341814
Heh, its cool, I think I like CTech :P

IE7 is better but is still not as good as Firefox for preventing malware infection.

Zone Alarm isn't bad.  The popup windows for the firewall are a bit annoying and I've had to remove it from some PCs to get the network working again at all, but for a personal firewall, its ok.

That said, I don't normally install personal firewalls as most people have a router blocking incoming connections and your machine needs to become infected before the personal firewall has any use.

Adaware and Spybot are a good combination but the user has to know to update and run them periodically.  A good antivirus app is also a must.

Training the end user is the most important thing to do.  If this is for your own PC then be sure to use Firefox, run adaware and spybot every now and then and be sure to have a good antivirus app.  If you must use a free one, probably go with AVG.
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