• Anti-virus / Anti-spyware software

    • Anti-virus and/or Anti-spyware is only a first line of defense. It is fairly "easily" circumvented, disabled and/or corrupted by malware. (It's actually very difficult, but malware has the upper hand since both are simply add-ons to the insecure 1970s VMS style design of Windows.)
    • Avoid "Security Suites", particularly if you are on any kind of a network.
      • Free programs
        At&t customers with 3Mbps or faster service can get McAfee for free.
        You can get a free version of AVG.
    • AV programs don't protect against recent or, e.g., IE exploits, so keep your removal tools updated and available.

  • General guidelines for Removal

    • Always be sure to check for updated program and/or definitions before scanning.
    • For best results, run a complete scan.
    • Viruses sometimes prevent downloading and/or installation of anti-virus programs. If this happens:
      • Try downloading and installing Malware Bytes in Safe Mode with Networking. If you can't download it, try downloading on another PC and copying to a USB drive. In rare cases you'll also need to rename the downloaded file.
      • In extreme cases, you may need to remove the hard disk, install it as a secondary disk in another PC, and scan it there. Note that this method will not scan as completely as a normal scan will.
      • Rootkits are undetectable (by definition) to virus scanners on the infected PC. In most cases you will need to remove the hard disk, install it as a secondary disk in another PC, and scan it there.
      • Often, removal of malware will break TCP/IP (or other things). See this.

    • Recommended Removal programs

      • Malware Bytes
        • Installs and Runs in Safe Mode as well as Normal Mode
        • Free version does not run in the background
        • Purchased version contains real-time protection
      • Super-Antispyware
        • Finds many Rootkits (when scanning as secondary file)
        • Catches a few things Malware Bytes misses
        • Loads an update component on startup
        • Finds tracking cookies
        • Purchased version contains real-time protection
      • Norman Malware Cleaner
        • Runs in normal mode without requiring installation
        • Catches a few things the above two miss miss
      • HijackThis
        • Use this program to clean up hooks and other damage done to browsers, startup programs, etc.

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