Saturday, December 08, 2007

Anti-Malware Tool Roundup - #3

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.

and,

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

(listed alphabetically)

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.

(listed alphabetically)

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.

Stay safe!

--Claus

7 comments:

Swaroop said...

Hi I downloaded and installed Super Antisypware but did not find it very good and I thought I had uninstalled it with 'Revo Uninstaller'. However, it did not uninstall, it is still visible in the taskbar next to my clock. Add/Remove only has a reference to this utility, no way to remove or uninstall it from here. I should appreciate all tips to remove Super Antispyware totally from my computer please.

Regards.
Swaroop.

Claus said...

Swaroop,

Seems like a few others have run into a problem uninstalling it as well.

Check out this forum thread:

Can't uninstall SUPERantispyware

They seemed to do a combination of reinstalling it again (with the latest version), then shutting it down from where it was running in the system-tray (by the clock), then doing an uninstall.

If that doesn't work, you might want to try two other things:

1) Use the Task-Manager to identify and end the SuperAntiSpyware process(es) first if running, then do an uninstall (or try Process Explorer v11.04 to do the same thing,

2) Use AutoRuns for Windows v8.73 to see where it is running at startup, then uncheck the box so it doesn't auto-start. Then reboot and try to uninstall.

According to the product's site, it should be able to be removed via the Control Panel's Add/Remove items. Maybe it will appear better once you have reinstalled it "clean" a 2nd time.

I also have a list of other unistaller's: Freeware Software Uninstallers. You might try one of these besides Revo (though I can't say why one would work "better" than the others as long as the installation itself wasn't corrupted for some reason).

Please let me know how things turn out. Other visitors might find your experience useful to consider.

Thanks!

Swaroop said...

Claus,

Firstly, thank you very much for your excellent site, it is so very helpful and full of useful freeware stuff, I am in seventh heaven because I love freewares.

Secondly, the SUPERAntisypware people were very helpful with a very prompt helpful reply that worked a treat, so credit to them.

I had also downloaded and installed the Comodo firewall on my Vista Premium system but I did not find it easy so I uninstalled it. After the uninstallation, some files on my machine have been badly damaged.

The pc starts up fine but then everything is mega slow and when clicking on some applications, they do not respond and lock up, so I had to force shutdown a few times.

I tried the Windows recovery CD without success, is there a good freeware utility that would repair my damaged files? I cannot access the recovery console via the F8 key because it gets stuck on the "Start Windows Normally" option until the countdown is finished! Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.

Swaroop.

Claus said...

Swaroop,

I'm glad you are enjoying the links I post.

Sounds like you have some big issues on your system!

I've seen some odd things with Comodo, but haven't heard of it actually damaging system files by being installed/uninstalled. Do the problems go away when you reinstall it back on the system?

I would suspect that something else is actually going on. What I have done on systems like what you describe is download and place Process Monitor and System Explorer on your system. Then add shortcuts to them in your startup folder so they will launch when you reboot your system and log into it.

You can use Process Explorer to try to pick out which process is taking up all your CPU cycles. That is usually the cause of sluggishness. You might just need to reboot and walk away for a while to give it a chance to speed up again. Once you have a few suspect process noted, do some Google research on them and see if you can figure out what they are and what they should/shouldn't be doing.

Process Monitor is very good for picking out file/registry access failures. If something is trying to run but erroring out, that might give you clues.

If you had serious system file corruption, it is likely your system wouldn't even boot or you would get BSOD errors. Since your system is running, but slow, my initial feeling is that you have some kind of other process or activities going on and you need to rule that out or track it down.

That is going to take time and a lot of detective work.

I'm not aware of any freeware that you can run that will just "fix" what you think are "damaged files". Vista also has a file-integrity check system that should allow it to sense and replace any critical system files that are damaged or replaced by malware.

You say you tried to do an Windows Recovery...what about a Windows Vista Repair?

How to automatically repair Windows Vista using Startup Repair

and

John Barnett's Windows Vista Support: Windows Vista Repair Options

Of course, that is a last-resort piece of advise.

Good luck.

Swaroop said...

Claus,
I hope you had a happy Christmas. Thank you for your kind reply and suggestions. Unfortunately, no matter how I try, I was unable to get my PC working properly.

However, I found this and would appreciate your views as to whether this would help solve my particular problem: http://www.vistatuneuptips.com/recommends/repair-vista/?gclid=CIvImvS8xpACFQKHPAodhHzkYw

Thank you.

Swaroop.

Claus said...

Swaroop,

I took a look at the product you provided a link to.

I then did a Google search of it and it turned up quite a number of webpages with unsatisfied users. Most said that the product can be downloaded for free, but then requires you to pay to unlock the ability to fix much of anything. Some forum users reported bad customer service when attempting to get refunds. Some said it actually made their system worse. And some said it made their system work much better.

Caveat emptor.

It sounds like the system you are describing has more problems that I can assist you with fixing or troubleshooting. You might get lucky and find a product to fix them all but I can't say for certain.

I'm not sure what other advice I can offer you.

If any system I must work on gets as bad as what you are saying, and I am looking for programs that will fix all the problems at once, I just save the important files, wipe the system hard-drive clean, and reload Windows fresh and from scratch.

If it is still bad after that it is almost certainly a hardware issue, or the system doesn't have the resources to support the operating system.

Good luck.

Swaroop said...

Hi Claus,

Thank you for your prompt and helpful reply. No worries, I have found this site www.pchomehelp.org where I have left a description of my problems. They will find a 'helper' near me who will then contact me to arrange a date and time to come over to my home and sort it out.

Their rate is £30 an hour and £7.50 for additional half hour. I found them through a reputable magazine, Computeractive. I certainly hope these guys can help. I shall update you in due course.

Thank you for providing us with all those excellent freeware softwares. I shall still use them but with greater care and caution. I appreciate your selfless work to help others.

With kind regards.

Swaroop.