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Remove Spyware and Adware

Software330 words2 minutes to read

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:

  1. 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.

  2. Online Port Scan. This free online utility checks your computer for ports that may be open to attack.

  3. Ad-Aware. Spyware scan and removal utility.

  4. ZoneAlarm. A very good software firewall application and AntiVirus application. Free version available.

  5. Spybot Search & Destroy. This application prevents bad software from being installed in the first place.

  6. 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)

  7. 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.

Ryan Parman

is an engineering manager with over 20 years of experience across software development, site reliability engineering, and security. He is the creator of SimplePie and AWS SDK for PHP, patented multifactor-authentication-as-a-service at WePay, defined much of the CI/CD and SRE disciplines at McGraw-Hill Education, and came up with the idea of “serverless, event-driven, responsive functions in the cloud” while at Amazon Web Services in 2010. Ryan's aptly-named blog, , is where he writes about ideas longer than . Ambivert. Curious. Not a coffee drinker.