Alistair Wiseman Spybot Ad-Aware HijackThis links 2 Remove Spyware
- Alistair Wiseman presents :
Spyware and Malware Removal Links and Helps!
-

First up : Welcome
Ok, chances are if you've found your way here you're either looking for a specific program, or just possibly looking to see it there's one that you've missed which is being recommended. Rather than run through what each program does straight away, i will provide you with  links to where these programmes  can be down loaded, and then explain for those who wish to know more why i am recommending these applications, and how come you may need them. I know that many people believe that because they have a reputable anti virus installed, they don't need any other form of protection. This simply ISN'T true. In the case of internet data and computer safety the rule of thumb is that if you can run 3/4/5/6 different ways to protect your pc at the same time.... Do it!

The Downloads

Please note for shredder select the stand alone version without SpySubtract
All of these programs i have installed and running / run regularly on my pc. They are all free, updated regularly and maintained by people who do this because they can, for the pricipal behind it, and for the benifit of all of us who use it. I have had no conflicts with any of my software, nor with any of these products running side by side.

Where possible i have tried to place the links to the official download place of each product, so that you have the opportunity to read through what the manufacturers have to say about their product, the function of it, and the spec needed on your computer. Due to the design of some of the sites like Lavasofts AdAware this means a little navigation is in order.On the AdAware page, in the left menu, you need to select SOFTWARE, then ADAWARE Personal. For some reason at the time of writing i could not open the HIJACKTHIS homepage so instead you are directed to a site where it is available for downloading.


A cautionairy word : When using Hijackthis DONT just start deleting things. The scan will display many programs, some of which may be problems, but some are critical for the pc to run. If your not sure of anything, the best thing to do is to save a logfile and then post it on many of the forums which are set up do deal with these problems. As with any application, the more you use it and learn what to look for the easier it will be to sort the good from the bad.
Also, some programs which you may have downloaded come with ads and software which fall into the types which these applications delete. Occassionally in the licence of these products is included something along the lines of "if you disable the ads, this prog may not work correctly", but then you have to ask yourself do you want to be using software that is considered by people to be a security breach?

So.. Why Bother?
You've been and paid for you anti virus, you've updated windows with all manner of addons, tweaked your browser, so why do you suddenly need these programs. Quiet simply your virus protection software isnt designed to pick out certain types of problems. There are literally thousands of types of infections out there, and they exploit gaps in your system which just dont get covered by your AV.
Think of yout system as a house. Your AV program is your bolt on the backdoor, front door, downstairs window lock and so on. Thats great, as long as the person wanting to get in only uses these entry points. Unfortunately thats not how these things operate. They are specialists, and much like a bank robber operate cunningly, using deception, covert methods, and pass undetected through the preconstructed defenses. Once inside your computer they can then unbolt the doors you locked, and if so desired, tell the world that the house is open for all and sundry.
Dont get me wrong... anti virus software is fantastic, but its just not designed to cope with certain infiltraions. So often these programs come in because they are "invited". An opened email with an attachment, a visit to a site while searching for something, the ways to become infected are endless and quite often trojans can show vampiristic tendancies! And I dont mean they only come out at night n wear evening dress either. Most people dont even realise when they've done it but like your mythological vampire, if it gets across your threshold by being invited, your in trouble!
So, thats where the programs above come in. These are designed to be your extra added protection, your cross, your garlic and your holy water. I will give a short rundown of what each program does, but the sites which you down load them from will also have info, and i'll provide links to places for help and a more indepth look at each of the applications if this is not available from the downloading hosts site.

What They Do
HIJACKTHIS : I love this utility. Be warned, as mentioned earlier, this is not for the faint hearted. This program gives you a list of what starts up when you do, in windows and in IE etc, and allows you to delete them. This is great if you know what you want to get rid of, and you know your BHO's from your HKLM 's but if you go at it like a bull in a china shop you will end up disabling programs which you really want to keep. An explanation of each type of entry within your HijackThis Log can be found HERE along with a links for what to do if you dont recognise entries, and support forums to help you analyse your log. I've used the program for some time now, and still come across the odd entry which throws me. The more programs that you have on your pc, the longer your log will likely be, and some of the entries will be self explainatory, obviously relating to programs you know about. Others may not be so obvious, but may still be vital. Some which look good, may turn out to be files which have been overwritten by viruses so as to remain within your system. The trick is to know the difference, and with anything, your knowledge will grow the more familiar you become with it. Its used mostly once you know you have an infection, and is one of the most powerful tools used to remove it, in my opinion.

ADAWARE SE: One of the best known products used today for removal of spyware and adware. It scans pretty much everything it can, Ram, registry HD's etc for any of the nasties which could have slipped past your AV software and is usually extremely effective in removing what it finds. It also clears your cookies if you wish, and generally makes your pc safer and more secure. It's reasonably easy to customise as you become more familiar with it, and again there are many sites which can walk you through these steps. It updates its database as and when you want it to, which is always handy, and all the info you could wish for on what it does is on the Lavasoft site, along with forums for any problems encountered. No system should be without this, and at over 100million DLs since July last year (04) it appears its not going to be long till this happens.

SPYBOT SEARCH & DESTROY : Along with ADAWARE this is THE piece of kit that should be on every home system. Again it works against spyware and malware similar to AdAware, but with a few extras which really make it stand out. Spybot will alert you if anything is trying to install itself into your startup progs such as a browser "helper", toolbar, changes to your selected IE startpage, and generally anything that will start up without you yourself initiating it! You get the chance to approve this (or deny), so that if it is an attempted infiltration it can be prevented before it needs to be cured! You can Immunise your system against "bad" products, so as to stop known threats getting through, and with regular updates this keeps your system protected. The scan feature is also strong, as is the removal of the objects found. The official overview site is HERE and again this is backed up with forums and support scattered all over the net. Wouldn't be without it!

STINGER : This is an anti virus tool aimed at specific threats. Created by McAfee you'd expect it to be good, and it is. Simple to use, just download and run scan. Updates need to be done manually which can be a pain if you forget, but other than that it does what's expected of it. Its updated regularly though, so don't forget to grab the latest version! Again, all the info is on the download site.

CWSHREDDER : This is THE tool for removal of Cool Web Search variants. All of the info on this is at the site of the download. The SpySubtract program which is offered with it, in my opinion, is not needed. Anyone who has been attacked by Cool Web Search will tell you that it is a real pain to your system. There are many varieties of this which switch from easy to be rid of, through to the nigh on impossible. Scroll through the Chronicles on the download site to see the extent of how this has evolved. Having been helping on support forums for a long time now CoolWebSearch is without doubt one of the commonest things which causes people to request help. Again like Stinger its a click and run application only alot quicker as it is aimed at only one specific problem!

SPYWAREBLASTER and SPYWAREGUARD : These programs are made by the same people, the later made to compliment the first. The idea behind these to stop threat programs getting in in the first place, rather than removing any that already exist. It covers IE and Firefox/Mozilla browsers and utilises Active X controls to stop spyware in its tracks, and disable them. Theres more to it than that of course, but again in depth info is available on the website and in reviews all across the net.

Am I done?
So, you've read through all these, downloaded the programs you want, and are now wanting to know will this completely and utterly secure your Pc? Ummmm... No! In truth there is no way to completely secure your pc if your going to use the internet, but there are ways of making things more secure, and ways to check that your staying secure.

First up has to be the browser. Almost all threats which come in from the net target the browser Internet Explorer and its vulnerabilities. This means in theory, if you dont use IE your narrowing the chances of infection down tremendously. I personally recommend Firefox, which can be found
HERE to be downloaded! Yes, you may have to go and grab a few plugins initially but then think how many plugins and addons windows has had over the years. I know which id prefer out of a few minutes downloading, or finding a trojan designed to infiltraite IE has got into my system and distributed my credit card information to X amount of people. By all means, keep IE as a stand by. I use it to run my Launchcast player, but thats it. As i said before, prevention is far better than a cure, and as these things go, i'd rate Firefox as one of the best forms of defense out there.

Also available these days are excellent online scanners. One of the best is Trend Micro's
HOUSECALL which i run regularly. I had Nortons AV on my system for an age, but this application picked out things which Norton let through. Trend is hugely successful at what it does, and masterful at removing trojans and spyware which others miss. Updated regularly, it takes a while to run, but the results are well worth the wait, be they giving you the all clear, or alerting you of problems. One thing i would say though, is if you suspect an infection, run it with system restore OFF and in safe mode, or you may find that you have to redo the scan in safe mode to clear the infection, which of course will take double your time.

Also available for those who dont have any antivirus software at all, there is a free version of AVG by Grisoft. Again, you can download it
HERE and it is a perfectly acceptable regularly updated antivirus program. I wont go into details here but felt it merited a mention as it is in my opinion the best free antivirus around at the moment.

I say again to the people who think that because they may have one or two applications running that it means they are covered... YOU ARE NOT! Some peoples attitudes on this border on the inexplicable. I've known several people point blank refuse to run scans and checks on their Pc for no apparant reason, just pledging blind faith in their own software, refusing to believe that they could be infiltraited. The ostrich syndrome strikes again. Yet they complain of Pc's running slowly, freezing, hanging and crashing. All of the products i've listed are free, easy to run and remove if so desired, so whats there to loose by running them. One person tried to tell me that programs that got rid of spyware on the net were spyware themselves, and they had been told by an editor of a magazine not to touch them. Such a blanket statement shows almost unforgivable ignorance. Yes, some products out there are not as they claim to be, but a little research sorts the wheat from the chaff. Ignorance isnt a crime though, and people can be genuinely mistaken, which is why people like myself take time to create sites like this, and the hundreds of thousands which are supported by people free of charge, designed to spread knowledge, to help people become more aware of the problems and solutions on todays internet, and develop an environment in which people can surf safely, freely, without fear of being watched, monitored, recorded or having their privacy breached.

Take the time if you would to forward this url to your friends. The internet is a community we all use. Lets help make it better.

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