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Virus / Spyware Cleanup & Prevention


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This thread has the information you need to fix and prevent problems with spyware and viruses. If you're new to the forums, please read through it before asking questions or (especially) posting HijackThis logs.




1) Simple steps to remove spyware and viruses.

2) Where to find the tools you need.

3) More spyware and virus information.

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Simple steps to removing spyware and viruses - Follow these steps and your PC will be fine in no time! Links to the tools mentioned here can be found in the next post, below.


1) Back up valuable data. If the virus or spyware is deeply imbedded in the system, or the cleanup does not go well, your system may need to be reformatted and reinstalled..


2) Try automated detection and cleanup. Some spyware and viruses disable scanners or prevent them from working properly, so you may be infected even if you have a spyware scanner installed. Download and run the latest versions of Ad Aware and Spybot S&D and try one or more online scans from the next post.


3) Try a special-purpose cleanup tool. There are specialized fixes such as CWShredder for removing CoolWebSearch. If a scanner reports that you have a particular spyware or virus but is unable to clean it, see whether one of the manual tools like McAfee Stinger can clean it. The download pages for these tools (see next post) list the problems they can fix.


4) Try HijackThis last. If you have tried the automated tools but still think you may have spyware or a virus, you can post a HijackThis scan (only!) in our HijackThis section. Because HJT requires special training to interpret the results and can take some time for even a knowledgable person to interpret, only post a scan after having tried the automated solutions. Be sure you have downloaded the latest version of HijackThis before running it and posting your scan.

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Where to find the tools you need - We have used and recommend these tools. If you are unsure of what has invaded your system, we advise that you run more than one cleanup tool. Take a look at the questions posted here in the forums, and don't be shy about asking for help if you need it!

Please be careful when selecting anti-spyware and anti-virus programs. Some of them can make your problems even worse! Unless otherwise indicated, the tools below are FREE or available as trial/shareware versions. If you have questions ask about it on the forums. Avoid These Products: http://www.spywarewarrior.com/rogue_anti-spyware.htm

Online Virus and Spyware Scans
Most of these require working ActiveX support--the last requires Java.
http://www.pcpitstop.com/antivirus/ - PC Pitstop antivirus
http://www.pcpitstop.com/freescan/ - PC Matic free scan
http://www.pcpitstop.com/spycheck/ - PC Pitstop spyware check
http://housecall.trendmicro.com/ - TrendMicro malware scan. Can scan with Java, if the Java VM is installed.

Spyware Scan and Cleanup

SuperAntispyware - Scan and clean spyware

Malwarebytes - Scan and clean spyware

HijackThis - THE LAST STEP in spyware cleanup
http://www.majorgeeks.com/download3155.html - Download (alternate)

Antivirus Products
http://www.free-av.com/en/download/1/avira..._antivirus.html -Avira
http://www.avast.com/eng/avast_4_home.html - Avast
http://free.grisoft.com/freeweb.php/doc/2/ - AVG
http://www.bitdefender.com/index.php - BitDefender

Specialized Cleanup Utilities
Note: You may need to know the virus or spyware name to use some of these.
http://vil.nai.com/vil/stinger/ - McAfee Stinger
http://www.pandasoftware.com/download/utilities/ - Panda utilities
http://securityresponse.symantec.com/avcen...tools.list.html - Symantec utilities
http://www.avast.com/eng/avast-virus-cleaner.html - Avast Virus Cleanup
http://securityresponse.symantec.com/avcen...istry.keys.html - Reset "shellopencommand" registry entries

Virus and Spyware Prevention
http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com/ - Windows Update (IMPORTANT!)
http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/downloa...us/default.mspx - XP SP3 on CD (Shipping charge applies)
http://www.javacoolsoftware.com/spywareblaster.html - SpywareBlaster
http://www.javacoolsoftware.com/spywareguard.html - SpywareGuard
http://radiosplace.com/ - BugOff Download (blocks CoolWebSearch)

File Identification
http://www.pcpitstop.com/spycheck/Known.asp - PC Pitstop
http://www.answersthatwork.com/Tasklist_pages/tasklist.htm - Answers that Work
http://www.windowsstartup.com/wso/search.php - Windows Startup Online

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More spyware and virus information - Background info on the threats, plus detailed descriptions of particular spyware and virus variants.


http://www.pcpitstop.com/spycheck/ - PC Pitstop Spyware Info Center

http://us.mcafee.com/virusInfo/default.asp - McAfee

http://securityresponse.symantec.com/avcenter/ - Symantec

http://www.ca.com/us/global-technology-security.aspx - CA Global Security Advisor

http://www.doxdesk.com/parasite/ - Doxdesk

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