How to Get Rid of Adware
What is adware?
Some forms of adware make your browser open up web pages against
your will. They often reset your home page. Other adware
programs are more sneaky. They feed popup ads to your
browser, making it look as if the web site you are browsing is
What is spyware? It is any sort of program that snoops on your
computer and sends information out to mysterious people or companies.
Spyware is far more sneaky than adware. Even if you have a firewall,
a program that you have permitted to access the Internet may
be also sending out information it has stolen from you. Most
spyware programs just snoop on your web browsing activities.
Some are far more dangerous, stealing passwords, credit card
and banking information.
How does your computer get infected? One way is to visit a malicious web site while
using a vulnerable browser (almost always Internet
Explorer). The other way is by installing free software that
hides adware or spyware.
Why won't antivirus programs eradicate
all adware or spyware? The trick
that forces antivirus companies to ignore most adware and spyware
is that EULA (end user license agreement) that you sign when
you install free software from the Internet. For example, many
porn sites require that you click on a box that says it will
install something to enhance your viewing pleasure, maybe a video
program. Once you click on that EULA, you have given permission
for the provider of the software to also install adware or spyware.
How to get rid
of adware and spyware. For instant
free help, try Ad-aware,
http://lavasoft.element5.com/software/adaware, and Spybot, http://www.safer-networking.org. You can use one or both together, as they
are compatible. In addition, if you are more of a power user,
you can install BHODemon. It is free from http://www.definitivesolutions.com/bhodemon.htm. It enables you to control the "browser
helper objects" of Internet Explorer (IE). Adware and spyware
and some viruses and worms exploit IE. Watch out for fake products! Some actually install adware or spyware instead
of removing it!
To prevent future infections, use a browser that isn't
so vulnerable to attack. Don't use Internet Explorer! For free,
safe browsers, check out http://www.mozilla.org and http://www.opera.com.
A rootkit is a trojan that hides on your computer and allows other people to senak into it and snoop on you and turn your computer into a "zombie. Rootkits might hide all sorts of terrible things insiode your computer.. See this news story for details on the threat of zombie computers.
You can check to see if there is a rootkit installed on your computer with F-Secure BlackLight, RootkitRevealer
by SysInternals, or RootKit Hook Analyzer.
If you discover your computer is infected with a rootkit, if you already had an antivirus program running, obviously the antivirus program wasn't able to defend your computer. Usually what will work is to uninstall your old antivirus program, install a new one and give it a chance to attack the rootkit.
Free Antivirus programs
AVG Free, AntiVir
PersonalEdition Classic, Avast! 4 Home Edition, BitDefender
8 Free Edition
Warning! No antivirus program is good enough to find everything that might have been sneaked into your computer if it was compromised with a rootkit. The only thing you accomplish by finding out which antivirus program can eradicate your rootkit is that this tells you which of them is a better antivirus program. If you want to be safe, after discovering a rootkit, you need to save your data, reformat your hard drive and reinstall every thing. Be sure to install your firewall and antivirus program -- the one that was good enough to eradicate the rootkit -- immediately after you reinstall your operating system or use the system restore disks that came with your computer. Don't install anything else, including your data, until after you get your antivirus program running.