It has been almost a year since my last post Anti-Malware Tool Roundup - #2.
This list remains focused on freeware anti-malware tools (or utilities that support such work). That isn't to say there aren't other excellent commercial products as well (Sunbelt Software's Counterspy), but the focus here is just freeware.
While I have all of these installed on my system/USB drive, I only currently run the AVG Anti-Spyware program in "real-time" protection mode. The rest I just use, one after the other, to thoroughly sweep my systems periodically. Since no one tool can usually detect and remove all variants, I think this is a good practice IMO.
Over that time, I have recently found just two more tools that seem worthy of inclusion in my list.
Two New Additions
SUPERAntiSpyware - (freeware) - I recently came across this product recommended by Ms. Donna Buenaventura (Dozleng.com) as well as mentioned frequently in my favorite anti-spyware forums by moderators. I checked it out and it does appear to be a wonderful product. Highly customizable scans are possible and enhanced system protection options are available as well. The interface is quite easy to navigate. My systems just have tracking cookies and the like, but I look forward to giving it a real test one day with live baddies. Definitely worth adding to your collection.
Malware Destroyer - (freeware) - EMCO Malware Destroyer is "a unique malware removal tool with a new and faster scanning engine! It only takes about ~10 seconds to scan your whole computer for over 10000 real targeting definitions. The current version supports most types of malwares like, adware, trojans, worms, spyware and dialers." With a little work, it can be copied over to a USB drive and ran from that location. Updates appear to be offered frequently. It is small and quick. Just be careful that results are not false-positives as that occurred once on a XP Pro system I was inspecting with it.
The Rest of the Best (freeware) Anti-Malware Tools
- A-Squared Free
- A-Squared Command Line Scanner 2.1
- AVG Anti-Spyware 7.5
- LavaSoft Ad-Aware 2007 Free
- LavaSoft Ad-Aware SE Personal 1.06r1 (oldie but a goodie)
- Microsoft's Windows Defender
- Spybot Search & Destroy 1.5
- Spyware Terminator
- Trend Micro HiJack This
Supporting (freeware) Utilities
While not anti-malware scanners, per-se, these are useful for tracking down and dealing with the buggers when you really have to wrestle with them. I usually rely on these as my primary hand-tools for investigating, monitoring, and removing the hardest-cases of malware. These are more advanced level tools for technical users. No simple "click-run-remove" solutions in these. But they are powerful if you know what you are doing and how to use them effectively.
- Advanced Process Termination
- CurrPorts v1.31
- OpenedFilesView v1.12
- Spyware Blaster
- Sysinternal's AutoRuns
- Sysinternal's Process Explorer
- Sysinternal's Process Monitor
- Sysinternal's RootkitRevealer
- Noël Danjou's Locked Files Wizard.
- (for a full list of locked-file killers, see this related post: I will kill thee a hundred and fifty ways...freely)
These lists does not cover anti-virus or anti-trojan specific utilities.
Nor does it cover the ever-expanding list of sysadmin utilities I use to work on a system to support these tools. I have probably close to 100 or so special-use tools I have collected. I don't use these all the times, but when I have a particular task or function to do, I reach for one of those designated hitters.
Beware of Rouges!
It is so hard to find quality anti-malware products. Before using any such tool you find on the Internet or in your email, I recommend making a quick check over at the Spyware Warrior: Rogue/Suspect Anti-Spyware Products & Web Sites list. If it is listed here, stay far, far away.
And if you accidentally get taken by one of these rouge tools, try using RogueRemover FREE 1.22 from MalwareBytes team.