How do I get rid of spyware?
While working on my computer at work online advertisement files will save to my desktop. I have my pop up blocker on and it seems to be working but I keep having items on my desktop for advertisements how do I stop this?
Oh man, I can't think of anything that would drive me bonkers faster than the situation you're describing, honestly. If there's one thing that drives me crazy about working within the Windows environment, it's how there are thousands of sites lurking, poised, ready to infect my computer, and once infected, tons of different spyware programs to ruin my computing experience.
First off, though, let's define spyware. Spyware is any software that's actually running on your computer without you explicitly granting it permission, installing it or wanting it there. Most typically, spyware tracks what you're doing and reports salient data to a remote server, for example capturing keystrokes and trying to report email addresses or credit card numbers. Very bad stuff!
Some spyware does the opposite, though, just acting as a conduit for third parties to drop information on your computer, and I think that's what you're seeing with these online advertisements showing up on your desktop. This category of spyware is called adware, by the way, but it's still the same insidious type of program running without permission on your computer.
To deal with the scourge of spyware, you need to install an anti-spyware tool (why does this remind me of the old Mad Magazine's Spy Vs. Spy comics?). There are a number of choices, ranging from free to fairly expensive, so let me run down a couple that I feel are the best options.
First off, the single most popular solution to avoiding spyware is LavaSoft's Ad-Aware. This is a great little program that you install and then it promptly scares the daylights out of you by reporting all this spyware that's probably already running on your computer without you knowing. Zap everything, then you'll be able to run your Windows system with just a bit more safety and comfort. Ad-Aware is what I run on my WinXP computers.
Microsoft has also been putting considerable effort into figuring out how to eradicate spyware from Windows XP computers, and while it's rumored that the upcoming Windows Vista will have a much smarter backend to minimize the risk of spyware, in the meantime it's worth checking out Windows AntiSpyware. However, this application is still in "beta" so there's a slight chance it'll do something bad to your computer, I suppose. My experience is that Microsoft doesn't release something into beta until it's pretty darn stable, so unless you have an exceptional or unusual configuration, you're probably a perfect customer for this application.
A third strong solution is from a German developer, called Spybot Search & Destroy, and it's very highly rated by publications like PC World in this category. To be candid, though, I do know of people who have had problems with this program, especially when they try to switch to another app and delete this one. Buyer beware.
Finally, my favorite choice, and the program that I've installed on the PCs of various family members, is Webroot's Spy Sweeper, a program that costs a few dollars but has an excellent reputation in the industry and frequently wins computer magazine awards as best anti-spyware application on the market. Also nice is that the company offers a free spyware scan right on their Web site, if you're not sure whether you've any spyware installed on your computer or not.
When you're deciding what anti-spyware to install, remember that one critical factor is how trustworthy the company is. It'd be terrible to install an anti-spyware program just to find out that it's actually sponsored, secretly, by a spyware group and that it flags and deletes all spyware except from that group. Not too likely, but I would certainly counsel you choose from one of the top four or five solutions in this space, not test out something from a company you've never heard of before.
Once you have one of these programs installed, you should be able to both eliminate the adware that appears to have infected your computer and avoid a reinfection in the future.
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Written by Dave Taylor
ad-aware, antispyware, spy sweeper, spybot, spyware, webroot, windows xp
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Reader Comments To Date: 31
the best way to get rid of spyware is prevention. be smart about the sites you visit and always use a secure browser, like mozilla's firefox or Opera.
I've been using Trend Micro's free online scanner for years. It's called "Housecall". They have recently added a beta version that also scopes out Trojans and spyware. It takes awhile to scan the full hard drive, but they give you the option to delete anything and also have their usual high quality info/data/specs on most of the bad guy's stuff.
Here's the link for the beta:
Their home page is http://www.trendmicro.com - home to PC_cillin anti-virus software.
just select a country and download the scan software and check the box for your drive. Then continue surfing while it scans.
wish I was, but not affiliated with this fine group.
Just wanted to pass on that Lavasoft's AdAware is by far the best spyware remover out. Even the military uses it and that should tell you something. Spybot is also good, but you need to be careful to look at the list of files closely to prevent removing a program that you might not want to remove example: files affiliated with your ISP. I am guilty of that. By the way great site Dave
The Google Adsense ads that appear, in this section, often include "antispyware" programs that are actually, just the opposite. Dave, it looks like you do a ton of good work on this site. I would hate for a visitor to pick up a "nasty" from an ad, here. I'm not suggesting that you remove the ads. I use them too, on my sites. They can be very beneficial to webmasters and to visitors of the site. I guess you should just consider what they, sometimes, promote.
I work for a very large company as a PC repair engineer. We have offices in almost every state, yet I can fix almost every software related pc problem remotely. We use Dameware Mini remote control to remotely access each PC, which are all connected via a large wide area network.
When a user calls me, I ask them for their IP address. If they do not know what that is, I explain to them, what it is, and how they can get it, via the “ipconfig��? command.
Next I enter it into the “Dameware��? program, and a few seconds later, I can see everything they see. Now there are some pc’s that are just infested with spy-ware, pop-ups, Trojans, viruses etc.
Sometimes this makes the PC not respond to my Dameware remote control request. So what do I do? Most of my coworkers give up at this point. Their solution is to re-image the entire PC. They send out PC Restore and Re-image Cd’s, to reformat the pc.
Basically they reformat the computer and reinstall windows and all the programs. But, I do not like to do this. I like to seek out and destroy the spy-ware. I do it, just like the Spybot program does. That is: “I search and destroy!��?
So, here is my solution. I wrote a few batch files that map a network drive to the injured pc. The batch files also attempt to end as many unknown processes first. I made up a list of the most common ones, and I keep adding to the list, usually once a week. My batch file also cleans up the registry and other program files folders. I like to delete the entire run, and run once keys from the HK Local Machine/Software/Microsoft Windows/current version/local machine/run; run once keys.
I also clean the same under HK current user. Next I add back the run and run once keys. I also use the shutdown command to reboot the pc, and then once the batch file is finished, I am now able to remote control the computer and run some anti-spyware programs. I sometimes use the free ones, like Spybot and Ad-aware. But I also like to use Spy-sweeper and another program called Trojan hunter. From my experience those are the programs that I have found to work the best.
I rarely need to re-image any PC’s. I enjoy finding new types of viruses and spy-ware. And besides, I get to add them into my little batch files.
I have been trying to find information on how to
get rid of, what we believe to be Spyware, called
Bulbster. We never downloaded this or gave anyone
permission to download any software, etc. to our
computer. We noticed this shortly after our daughter had been in a music website listening to
music and we kept having problems with our computer running extremely slow and even having
repeated disconnects from the Internet and then
it signing itself back online! We discovered this
NUISENCE when we could not get our computer to respond and so we would do Ctrl,Alt,Delete and it
would show us a list of programs running on our
computer. EVERY TIME we have a problem and we go through the Ctrl,Alt,Delete, process, and there it is running, Bulbster, and when we try to end it, it just seems to duplicate itself! It is extremely difficult to get it to end, and if we manage to get it to end, it, many times, it will kick us offline, only to "Re-sign" us back online! It seems to be a very aggressive form
of Spyware, or something else very bad! Any help you can offer us will be very much appreciated! Thanks.
It so happened that a computer running Windows server 2003 got infected with spyware and virus. The desktop was getting washed out and Windows error reporting was coming up.It was not allowing to open any program either in safe mode or otherwise.Only the Norton anti virus could be stated, but could detect only one virus. It was quarantined but could not solve the problem. So I removed the Hard disk and installed to a Windows XP computer as slave and ran the antivirus and anti spyware. It detected several of these and destroyed those. This solved the problem.
Please can you help me get rid of virus on my psp
i have this thing on my pc called PC SCREEN Spy Monitor. i cannot get rid of it. can you assist?
hi i have a bad pop up messege on my msn messenger it just says that ive got a virus withour me knowing i just want your help to fix the problem
I've got a bunch of spyware and viruses on this computer. Every minute or so, a bubble comes up claiming to be a Windows Security alert, but I don't think it is. I avoid it...I have Adaware AND Spybot, but they're both not working... I don't know WHAT to do. I'm an exchange student in Belgium from the USA, and I don't know how to tell my host family that their computer has Spyware and Viruses on it! I don't even know how it GOT there to begin with! Somebody PLEAAAAASE help me!!!
i want to sign out from my space
Yo dave i am absolutley positive that i ahve spyware on my computer. I was reccomended to use spybot search and destroy. but when i o to download it the window will freze up and not download. It WILL NOT LET ME DOWNLOAD IT!! but my computer will allow me to download anyother stuff when when ithas to do with spyware it wont work at all any suggestions?????????
I was online a few days ago and this annoying pop up, well it popped up. And now my computer says it is running this thing called antivirus 2008. Every few minutes a warning pops up and it says you have 40 virusus!!! And then gives me a list of tojan virusus i have. But After running my microsoft defender and McAfee it says my computer is fine. So After the thing did not go away I looked online to see if anyone else seemed to experience this same problem. And of what i saw it seems to be a troublesome little spyware. I have tryed so many different things including anti spyware programs. This thing will not go away.
iight, look. my computer is not acting horrible but it isn't acting GOOD either. i'm only a kidd so i need a FREE anti-virus, spy-ware, remover thingy. i really need some suggestions. oh and by the way. i have NO money! please, help me! i look for the free download thingy for spy-bot but i can't find it..
urgh! i'm begging please help me!
my computer has been through so much already!
how do i get rid of the wide page on msn? i like the narrow and the pull down no longer showsnarrow page
My girlfriend just found Dameware mini remote-control installed on her work computer. Her first response was to be concerned that the IT department did it and was spying on the employees, but no one else seems to have it. She checked the IP address and it comes back as somewhere in Africa. I think it may have been installed maliciously and that she needs to contact the IT department to warn them (it will also put them on notice if they're using it to spy!).
I'm well aware of the notorious Nigerian 419 scams, so the fact that it came back as coming from Africa raised my suspicions.
Are you aware of any scams like this using Dameware? If it is, in fact, a scam, what's the best way to remove it (the IT department is not always very responsive!)
Thanks in advance!
well, you didn't answer my question. i got into this free anti virus thing that ended up you have to buy. well, i didn't want to buy it. but it keeps popping up on everything i try to do and i can't get it deleted or off my computer. i don't know what to do but it is driving me crazy. thanks anyway.
Just yesterday when i turned on my computer a pop up appeared saying i had spyware
it was alot and i haven't downloaded any software and i have norton antivirus, i don't know how this happened but every time i open internet explorer it says that it's a virus attacking my pc
on the right bottom corner a pop up will pop up every few seconds showing me the spyware attacking me and stuff
i ran my norton antivirus and didn't find these things but i'm not sure how this happened
i was told that i'd have to reformat my pc by deleting everything from it and restarting from scratch which is something i don't want to do cause i have alot of things for my business and life in there
please help me
hi I am new to computers on the individual standpoint years ago I used them in the military but never on a personal stand point and I have a question, do some of the manufactures of anti-spyware send thes messages just to get you to purchase their product? the reason that I am asking is that I recently lost my job and I don't have the money to purchase these products when I scan my computer myself it shows no virus but when that shows up on my moniter it claims that I have a-lot how can I stop this? the computer that I use is not even mine it is borrowed until I can buy one.
alright, my computer is infected, and i accidently deleted macfree, i just want to wipe everything out completly. please help me, thanks,
how do I get rid spyware that is redirecting web sites. I use Norton and Spyware treminator and every scan comes up with nothing . there is something there but i can't detect any thing.
What can I try
I have been invaded by antispyware---and I am on email at present (have been for five hours) with a geeksquad guy---and haven't been able to do ANY thing partly because I am totally non-geek and understand very little and I can't download any of the helps he has to offer---What can I doo?????
I think that the best way to avoid virus and spyware is to just be careful as to what sites you visit and what you download. This common sense is important as having a solid Anti-Virus and Anti-Spyware software installed in your system.
I think I got spy ware and I cant get on the internet with it what should I do?
P.s. this is a public comp.
I have Desktop Security 2010 That just Automatically downloaded onto my computer and i have Security Blockers in Place, but someone Hacked into my Computer and just downloaded it and ive tried everything to get rid of it and it wont go away, Could you please help, bc ive tried everything, short of Crashing my computer.
If you're computer savy, go into all your files, change permissions, attributes. This is another way to block ads with cookies, etc. I did some creative permissions technique, it allows the scripts to work, yet don't get the ad displays like on watching movies with a hosted file. Also I do not use hosted files too much. I address bar post that so the host script is there to post those cookies that generates the file for the movie per say, but the ads, etc. are not there. The permissions creativity I did with allow/deny sure worked. Now don't do this if you don't know. You need to know going deep into system files, including Microsoft, Windows, sometimes the root/regedit too. What I did too also stops spyware encryption URL caches that send out what's stored for what you page post being on the net. I'm not a programmer or hacker, but I do know my computer really well.
I had used some spyware removal software. Windows spyware protection is best for windows system. Norton latest spyware protection software is also very powerful. You had suggested some good software and i am going to try Webroot's Spy Sweeper.
I think I have spyware on my Ipad2. . I opened a virus from a fake FedEx email . I have cleared the history and the cookies /data from Safari as instructed from the FedEx tech support. downloading even aside from Google is still extremesy slow. anyone have a suggestion what to do next?
Do you have anti-virus / anti-spyware programs? Have you run a full scan and seen what it reports? I'd also check to see if there are any new programs auto-starting when you boot your computer. Oh, and do a full backup of every single file you would hate to lose, including all your music, photographs, etc. Just in case...
I do have a lot to say, and questions of my own for that matter, but first I'd like to say thank you, Dave, for all your helpful information by
buying you a cup of coffee!||
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