- Adware (Advertising Software) is a software application in which advertisements are displayed while the program is running, especially in pop-up windows or banners, and is often installed without the user's knowledge or consent.
- Spyware (Spying Software) is any software that covertly gathers information about a user while he/she navigates the Internet and transmits the information to an individual or company that uses it for marketing or other purposes.
- Malware (Malicious Software) is software, such as viruses, intended to damage or disable a computer system. Malware often work in conjunction with Adware.
Spyware/Malware (& Virus) Removal Tips
- Go through and delete everything in the following directories for Windows 7 OS:
- C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Local\Downloaded Installations
- C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files
- Note - some items may not let you delete them. You can try again or click on Skip when deleting. Also, to see the AppData folder you will need to go to Folder Options and click on View Tab. Put a mark next to “Show hidden files, folders, and drives” and “Hide protected operating system files”.
- Open up Control Panel and go to Programs and Features. Uninstall all unnecessary applications. For example uninstall all toolbars and any games.
- Empty out Recycle Bin.
- Check current AV to see if anything is quarantined.
- Open up System Configuration and choose Startup tab. Uncheck anything that looks suspicious. If you are unsure about an item, Google it to see if it’s legit or not.
- Uninstall any old AV or Malware scanning software that’s not needed.
- Open up Task Manager. Under Processes, if there is anything suspicious then click on End Process for it. If you're unsure, Google the process to confirm if it’s legitimate or not.
- Check the following directories on a windows 7 OS for anything suspicious:
- C:\Windows\System32 –View by date which will help narrow done searching
PC Tools to Consider
- Malwarebytes – Make sure database is updated and perform a full scan
- TDSSKiller by Kaspersky
- Lavasoft's Ad-Aware Personal
- Microsoft's Security Essentials
- Spybot's Search & Destroy
- A flavor of Linux you can boot from (via USB or disc) – easier to delete unwanted files that are locked on Windows OS.
- Windows OS reload disc – helps when a repair needs to be done
- Run Windows Updates to make sure all is current
Mac Tools to Consider
- Run free AV/Malware scanners like Sophos, Bitdefender, and iAntivirus
- CCleaner is great to use to clear out all temp directories
- Flashback Removal Tool
- Check Activity Monitor for any suspicious processes
Last Updated: Sept. 20, 2012