Spyware and Adware viruses have rapidly become the number one threat to your computer with over 90% of computers already infected. These include "Trojans", Web Bugs, Advertiser Software, Monitoring Software and more. Fortunately there are good Spyware and Adware virus removal tools available. Sorting through them all to find the right one is a challenging task and an important decision to make. We've gone through dozens and come up with a short list of the best.
Background - What is Spyware, Adware and Malware?
Spyware and Adware, also called "Malware", are files made by publishers that allow them to snoop on your browsing activity, see what you purchase and send you "pop-up" ads. They can slow down your PC, cause it to crash, record your credit card numbers and worse. If you're like most Internet users, chances are you're probably infected with these files. Simply surfing the Internet, reading email, downloading music or other files can infect your PC without you knowing it.
Our Testing Results
In our random PC testing, every single one has been infected with Spyware and Adware - some with dozens of infections - even those PCs consistently using well-known Virus and Firewall software. They are now Spyware and Adware free!
Bottom Line - What's the Best Way to Eliminate Spyware, Adware and Malware?
Use a good Spyware/Adware/Malware remover such as the ones presented below. Using one that is at least moderately popular is a good idea because it has been tested and used by many users. Each of the programs selected here fall into that category.
Here are 9 warning signs you should be aware of, if any of them pertain to you then your PC is most likely infected:
When you start your browser, the home page has mysteriously changed. You change it back manually, but before long you find that it has changed back again.
You get pop-up advertisements when your browser is not running or when your system is not even connected to the Internet, or you get pop-up ads that address you by name.
Your phone bill includes expensive calls to 900 numbers that you never made-probably at an outrageous per-minute rate.
You enter a search term in Internet Explorer's address bar and press Enter to start the search. Instead of your usual search site, an unfamiliar site handles the search.
A new item appears in your Favorites list without your putting it there. No matter how many times you delete it, the item always reappears later.
Your system runs noticeably slower than it did before. If you're a Windows 2000/XP user, launching the Task Manager and clicking the Processes tab reveals that an unfamiliar process is using nearly 100 percent of available CPU cycles.
At a time when you're not doing anything online, the send or receive lights on your dial-up or broadband modem blink just as wildly as when you're downloading a file or surfing the Web. Or the network/modem icon in your system tray flashes rapidly even when you're not using the connection.
A search toolbar or other browser toolbar appears even though you didn't request or install it. Your attempts to remove it fail, or it comes back after removal.
And the final sign is: Everything appears to be normal. The most devious spyware doesn't leave traces you'd notice, so scan your system anyway.
Ad-aware Standard Edition is THE award winning, free*, multicomponent detection and removal utility that consistently leads the industry in safety, user satisfaction, support and reliability.
With its ability to comprehensively scan your memory, registry, hard, removable and optical drives for known datamining, aggressive advertising, and tracking components, Ad-aware will provide the user with the confidence to surf the Internet knowing that their privacy will remain intact. Let Ad-aware protect your privacy.
Spybot - Search & Destroy can detect and remove spyware of different kinds from your computer. Spyware is a relatively new kind of threat that common anti-virus applications do not yet cover. If you see new toolbars in your Internet Explorer that you didn't intentionally install, if your browser crashes, or if your browser start page has changed without your knowing, you most probably have spyware. But even if you don't see anything, you may be infected, because more and more spyware is emerging that is silently tracking your surfing behaviour to create a marketing profile of you that will be sold to advertisement companies. Spybot-S&D is free, so there's no harm in trying to see if something snooped into your computer, too :)
Spyware is the #1 privacy threat to PC users everywhere.
From keystrokes to passwords to Web sites and emails, Spyware can capture it all. You MUST protect yourself and your computer assets.
Any PC with music or file sharing software or "freeware" is at risk. Plus, anyone who has access to your computer can quickly install Spyware to silently record everything you do with your computer.
Afraid or nervous? You should be. Your valuable personal information can be sent over the Internet. Credit card numbers, screenshots, chat sessions, Web browsing history and even your every keystroke can be recorded. Put a stop to Spyware with InterMute's SpySubtract™.
WinPatrol with Scotty the Windows Watch Dog will sniff out Worms, Adware, Spyware, Cookies, Trojan horses and other virus type, malicious, nasty programs that may attack your computer. WinPatrol puts you back in control of your computer with no need for constant updates.
A general homepage hijackers detector and remover. Initially based on the article Hijacked!, but expanded with almost a dozen other checks against hijacker tricks. It is continually updated to detect and remove new hijacks. It does not target specific programs/URLs, just the methods used by hijackers to force you onto their sites. As a result, false positives are imminent and unless you are sure what you're doing, you should always consult with knowledgable folks (e.g. the forums) before deleting anything.