Can anyone tell me what the best consumer anti spyware, adware, virus (with or without firewall) and especially the best free ones b ecuase i have a long history of infected sytems that always ended up getting reformatted and i don't have an extra copy of an OS laying around to boot them with. Please give me any information on how to stop these malicious programs and on what programs are the best. Thank you.
Note that keeping systems clean also requires user discipline - keep your system patched, scan nightly with current signature files, don't open attachments or downloads without first scanning, don't open or preview spam, stay away from sites your mother would disapprove of.
Here is my canned text for cleaning your system of malware.
Important Note: For all of the following suggested programs, use each application’s “update” feature to ensure you have installed the latest signature/definition files. This is necessary even if you just downloaded the most recent version of the application. Also, please be aware that some of the software is free to home and non-commercial use only. Be sure to read the EULAs before using.
Make sure you do not use more than one of the same type program "in memory" (also known as "in resident", "auto-protect" or "active scanning") at the same time to avoid conflicts. That is, have only one firewall, one anti-virus, one anti-spyware, and one anti-Trojan running at any time.
Delete Temporary Files - Doing this before scanning significantly reduces scanning times and often clears out files that are corrupt or contain malware. Deleting cookies too ensures all “tracking cookies” are also removed. Note that deleting cookies will force the manual entry of user names and passwords for sites requiring them on your next visit, so make sure you know them. I recommend and use CrapCleaner from here. Before first use, check Options, Settings and ensure Only delete files in Windows Temp folders older than 48 hours is unchecked.
To delete temporary files directly from the browser without using Crap Cleaner, do the following: Internet ExplorerGo to Tools, Internet Options, and select the General tab,
Click the Delete Cookies button, then OK,
Click the Delete Files button, ensure Delete all offline content is checked, then OK. Mozilla FirefoxGo to Tools, Options,
Click the Privacy button,
Click the Clear All button,
Click Clear All Information. Scan for spyware. No one anti-spyware program gets them all, therefore, it is necessary to use an arsenal of tools. Past controversy over some spyware makers’ decisions to delist known spyware emphasizes the need to attack on different fronts. I recommend you download, install, and use the latest versions of ALL three of the following:
Microsoft Windows Defender (ßeta 2) from here. Scan for Trojans. As in the fight against spyware, it is best to hit Trojans with a variety of weapons.
CWShredder from here (pick the stand-alone version) will check for and clean all known CoolWebSearch variants,
ewido is a good spyware/Trojan cleaner and can be downloaded from here,
Trojan Hunter 30-day trial version is available here. Scan for Viruses and Worms - Assuming you have an anti-virus program, download the latest signature files and perform a thorough scan. If you don’t have an anti-virus program, get one NOW!, update the signature file, and perform a thorough scan. AVG Free from here is excellent. As in firewalls and anti-Trojan applications, do not have more than one running “in-resident” or in “auto-protect” mode at any given time. I keep one in “auto-protect” and another for “on-demand” scanning. Remember to disable the running scanner before scanning with the “on-demand” scanner.
Scan with one or both (in turn) of these free on-line virus scanners as a double or even triple check. Some very malicious malware have been known to disable PC based AV scanners. These on-line scanners help compensate for that. Trend Micro HouseCall from here,
or PandaSoft ActiveScan from here.Scan for Rootkits
Rootkit is a term originating in the UNIX world to describe a set of “stealthy” tools used to obtain and/or maintain root access. A person with “root” access can do anything. Windows rootkits gain access by exploiting known vulnerabilities on un-patched systems, then use that access to install a “backdoor” to maintain that access to your system.
RootkitRevealer by SystemInternals, downloaded from here is used to detect the presence of rootkits.Firewalls
If you are not using a software based firewall, get one of these NOW!
ZoneAlarm by ZoneLabs here is a favorite.
or Sunbelt Kerio Personal Firewall from here.Important note about Routers: If you have a router you still need a software based firewall on each system on your network. This is true even if it is a network of just one computer. If you are not using a router, you should, especially if you are using broadband (cable or DSL high-speed Internet). Ensure your router uses NAT (Network Address Translation). NAT acts as a very effective, hardware based, firewall. There are several offerings for under $50.00USD. Some offer dial-up support, and some include a print server for network printing. Using a router also allows you to disable printer and Internet connection sharing.
Important note about XP's Windows Firewall: Microsoft's ICF (Internet Connection Firewall) and Windows Firewall (ICF renamed in XP SP2) are woefully inadequate and should be replaced immediately. They only block unauthorized incoming access attempts. ZoneAlarm and Kerio block both incomingandoutgoing unauthorized access attempts, thus preventing Trojans, keyloggers, and other spyware from "phoning home" with your personal information. Do not use more than one software based firewall.
Remember to re-enable any real-time scanning disabled during these scans when done.
I know that is a lot but this is what it takes to get and keep your systems clean and running at full performance.
Computer Associates Pest Patrol is among the best antispyware programs. Coupled with a good antivirus, which they also provide, it makes for pretty good protection, especially if you toss in a firewall.