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Spyware and viruses slowing down my computer

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Spyware, adware, viruses, malware and rootkits.  If you own a PC and you're not an uber geek then there's a good chance that you've had a run in with one or more of these things.  It can prove quite challenging finding the right tool for the job when it comes to cleaning up your system and getting rid of the nasties.

For those who have no idea what I am talking about, spyware and adware is software made by publishers that allow them to snoop on your browsing habits and invade your privacy.  Other unwanted side effects include being flooded by popup ads and your computer may begin to run much slower.  A very much more sinister scenario is one in which personal information may be leaked back to these publishers from your computer without your knowledge.

It's all very nasty stuff and there are a growing number of downloadable software applications that claim to remove the threat and guard against future attacks.  I have tried quite a few of these and some work better than others.  I've found that the best defence though is to use a variety of good tools and practice safe browsing habits.  Things change rapidly and what works today might not be the best option tomorrow, with that in mind I'll try and keep the links on this article up to date when I can.

Spyware and Adware removal tools, microsoft anti-spyware When I originally wrote this article I was using tools such as Bazooka spyware scanner and Ad-Aware.  They are both still available I believe although I haven't used either of them for some time.  A while back I also downloaded and installed Microsoft's Anti-Spyware offering and I have heard that their latest suite called Windows Defender is actually pretty good too.

More recently I've found other tools such as Malwarebytes Anti-Malware to be of use and I use a programm called Avast as my regular virus scanner.

Both are free to use unless you want to pay for the premium versions with a few more bells and whistles, but for me the free stuff works just fine and keeps my system protected.   With Malwarebytes, you'll need to run an update and a scan manually as only the paid for version does this automatically.

Your browser and choice of search engine can also help to a certain degree help keep your computer clean.  Google Chrome will warn you when a website you are trying to visit contains malicious software and Google's search results will often warn you before you even click on a link.  It would be unwise to rely on these alone however.

One last tip.  Make sure your operating system is up to date and that you are running a firewall of some sort as well as an anti-virus program which should also be kept up to date.


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Prasana

Prasana

I have a Pentium III, 500MB RAM running Windows 98 SE and Office 1997. I also have an i3 computer, Windows 7, Office 2010. Turn both machines on at the same time and the old machine is ready to use about one minute before the i3 machine. Also, doing anything in Office or Windows is faster on the old machine. Just deleting files in Windows 7 on the new machine can take several minutes, same stuff on the old machine is instantaneous. Go figure...
Prasana
15th May 13 19:57

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Biscuitbum

Biscuitbum

I have AVG free, and find it good, but because my paid for McAfee security didn`t automatically update as it should have, and let in a worm, I update manually every few days. A year ago, I clicked the cancel box in a security warning, and let in a trojan, that completely disabled my internet and email. Having been advised that they control everything inside their box, when a few monthe ago, I started to get similar warning messages, I was clicking on the X outside the box. When after 7 or 8 times, I still managed to pick up a similar trojan, I was advised to shut down completely if I got another security warning.

On the first occasion, I had to telephone my bank to shut down my telephone banking account, and to check I still had all my money!
Biscuitbum
15th Nov 10 22:34

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Jojo Bizarro

Jojo Bizarro

Kazaa put adware on my computer back when I was using Windows, which very much invites adware to take root. That prompted me to switch to Linux, which never needs defragmenting and is naturally virus and adware resistant and FREE!
Jojo Bizarro
26th Sep 10 15:47

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some random guy

some random guy

I recently had a fake anti-virus program kown as win vista antivirus 2010 on my computer. it was adware that tried to trick you into buying it. my computer apprantly had 100 viruses on my computer and only it could remove them for money I introduced it to mal-ware bytes and swiftly kicked it's ass off my computer be wary on the net and keep you anti virus software updated
some random guy
8th Aug 10 05:19

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Gaz492

Gaz492

Today I was downloading updates on Microsoft web site and a message saying that I had a virus came up and suggested that I should download this software so I did and insted of clearing the virus iit was the virus!!! I can't believe the Microsoft would advetise a virus on their web site!! How unrespectable is that or what?
Gaz492
26th Feb 10 18:57

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CAHILL

CAHILL

your sports team have been pronoucing the name Cahill incorrect for the past 3 seasons now.
having sent you e-mails , letters and made phone calls to you in regards to this pronoucation.
Andy Gray is at vault at all times. my surname does not begin with the letter K.

Ask Mr Gray and other sport team members to pronouce the name Cahoon and then pronouce the name Cahill again,.

Its so of putting to watch a match when you hear your surname pronouced incorrect. I would go has fars to say the you and your team have influenced other broadcasters and persons across the you in the wrong pronouciation.

Would like to take Mr Gray backe a few seasons when Dirk Kuyt started to play in the premiership Mr Gray and others would pronouce the name has kite and then asked the player the correct pronouciation.

Please try and have a go has mentioned its so annoying.
CAHILL
15th Dec 09 14:15

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Bruce H

Bruce H

The anti-virus programe generates the spam to make it look like it works. Everytime you connect to the net the anti-virus programe contacts their server and it sends you some spam and other things which your anti-virus programe finds and kills. The only way you can get a virus on a computer is if you run a dodgy .EXE Your computer does not automatically receive or run viruses, it only does what you tell it, so if you dont download programes from dodgy sites you wont have any virus. Un-install your anti-virus programe, it's not needed and your spam stops too.
Bruce H
27th Jul 07 00:21

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Captain D

Captain D

I too have had it ~UP-TO-HERE~ with adware! I don't go to any websites of questionable character - for want of a better expression. These slime balls that perpetuate adware are just that - slime balls! I've had run ins with the webmasters of several websites that I have valid reason to believe are responsible for adware getting into my computers - of course they deny, deny ... yeah right! Another somewhat similar issue is these banner ads that show up on some websites I visit - one webmaster said he knew nothing about such ads on his website but was hardly convincing. These banner ads only serve to (in most instances) totally cheapen what is otherwise a great website. Adware and ads ... a royal pain in the xxxx!!
Captain D
8th Dec 06 20:27

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Bob

Bob

Ted"Nuff Said" Miller,It's not as simple as that.I don't go on porn sites,sites connected with Phishing,Medical enlargment sites or have ever offered to launder money through my bank account.I have never asked to be included on any mailing list and only use my email account for comunicating with friends and family.
These Spammers are getting very sophisticated now and use software to generate mail addresses which they then blitz with spam.If you inadvertantly open or reply even when it says unsubscribe, they've got you as a live account.Ted I hope you never get put in the position where this happens,I have one account which I can't use because it has been obtained by one of these spammers and have had to give my son a new email address as he has been sent some to.One of the mails I was sent looked as if it contained child pornography and I immediately refered it to the Internet Watch Foundation who deals with this type of thing.This is despite all the filters I have put in place.And before you ask,I regularly check my sons account to check the sites he visits and have told him he will lose it if he abuses it.
Bob
7th Nov 06 11:48

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anon

anon

You all make the assumtion that to get spyware and spam, you have to go on the site that sent it.I have been having a tussle with AOL lately because of all the porno phishing medical fraudulant and dating spam emails that I have been flooded with.Sites which I have never visited.Evidentaly the spammers generate or purchase lists of email addresses and then blitz those names with spam.You only have to inadvertantly open one and they know your email address is active and from there on you get sent more and more.
AOL is not very good at handleing this as all they seem interested in is preventing you from canceling your account at all costs.
anon
6th Nov 06 14:06

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Tonny

Tonny

Just dont look at porn and things that will obiously get you spyware! Or there are some good free blockers out there
Tonny
3rd Oct 06 08:41

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Attila the Mum

Attila the Mum

I prefer SpyBot (Search and Destroy). It can be used alongside the Microsoft equivalent and is very reliable. (It's also free).
Attila the Mum
29th Sep 06 22:58

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Infosec guy

Infosec guy

The first question I ask when I get dragged out to fix someones spyware infested machine is "do you have teenage children?". This is because most of the worst spyware comes in with p2p file sharing programs commonly used to get music illegally. It's all in the user agreements which noone reads, you agree to have this crap on your machine.

Legal/moral issues aside steer clear of p2p to keep your machine working.

Other good tools.

Lavasoft AdAware
Javacool soft Spyware Blaster
Ewido (free trial)

Google for these, install them and KEEP THEM UP TO DATE.

Also free antivirus from
AVG or AVAST and KEEP IT UP TO DATE

And switch to Mozilla Firefox, it's better then IE when you're used to it and the spyware finds it much harder (but not impossible) to use a route into yout machine.

Steer clear of Pr0n, p2p and free software your not sure of and you'll be fine.
Infosec guy
10th Oct 05 10:57

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Ted "Nuff Said" Mill

Ted "Nuff Said" Mill

If you don't go on the porno sites you don't get the spyware, its as simple as that.

Keep of the porn and get a decent firewall.
Ted "Nuff Said" Mill
17th Sep 05 23:01

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Michael

Michael

I'm sick to death of spyware, popups, ads and all the rubbish you get. I havent tried the microsoft blocker yet but I might give it a go. Why do people waste time creating spyware and adware when they can do something usefull
Michael
10th Sep 05 13:38

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