I’ve been very fortunate to have never been hit with spy/ad-ware. I’ve always been careful, and I’ve tried to teach my wife what actions are smart and which ones are not. Last night, however, I was looking for some information and ended up downloading a file from a shady website.
After scanning the file and finding no viruses, I ran the executable. How stupid. It immediately began installing adware and my antivirus app began showing warnings of a trojan being installed. I quarantined the files that were causing problems, and while I was doing that, a few more non-cancellable installers ran before I could stop them. I immediately pulled the power plug from the wall.
It took me about 2 hours to get everything worked out last night, but in the end I learned two things: (A) Don’t be a freakin’ moron, you freakin’ moron, and (B) there are some really good anti-adware tools out there that I didn’t know about. Here are a few useful tools/apps that I want to share with those that may not know about them:
How to fix mom’s computer. Sounds like what I did over the holidays. Use this guide to fix your parents (or your own) adware-infested computer.
Online Port Scan. This free online utility checks your computer for ports that may be open to attack.
Ad-Aware. Spyware scan and removal utility.
ZoneAlarm. A very good software firewall application and AntiVirus application. Free version available.
Spybot Search & Destroy. This application prevents bad software from being installed in the first place.
AntiVir. A free AntiVirus application for Windows, protecting against over 80,000 viruses. (I’ve already got Norton AntiVirus, and ZoneAlarm has their own AV app)
Hijack-This. This application tracks what processes are currently running. Great for detecting malware.
I’ve now learned that it doesn’t matter how good you are. If you’re willing to take a risk, you need to be willing to accept the consequences of that risk. Anyway, I hope this helps.