Sunday, September 30, 2007

How to Remove Adware, Spyware, Malware and Virus from Your System for FREE

What is the difference between adware, spyware, malware and virus?Before we find the distinction between the three terms, one main issue to highlight is that you would not want to have any of them in your system.Adware:Adwares are software applications that are supported by advertisements (Advertising Software).
It automatically display advertisement when the software is running. It is one of the way a programmer can offer his application at a reduce cost or even for free. Most of the time, a license can be bought to remove the advertisement permanently.Spyware:Spywares are a progression from adwares. In order to provide the user of adwares with more targeted advertisements, various forms of statistics and information on user's activity on the system is tracked and sent to advertising companies.
Sometimes these are done under the hood without user's knowledge and consent. Like spying on your habits and activities on your computer. Thus the term spying software.Malware:Malware are malicious software that affects the normal functionality of your system. Sometimes, annoying pop up will appear out of no where to direct you to some sales sites. Sometimes emails spams will automatically be sent from your system. Adware and spyware progress to a malicious state if it start to affect the use of your system actively instead of just showing you passive advertisement.
Virus are malware that spreads and installs themselve without the knowledge of the system user. You may open an infected file and once the file is opened, the virus will installs itself on your system and wait for chance to propagate to the next unsuspecting user's computer. Some even have the capability of transmitting themselves via the network to infect other system in the network.
Some virus (trojan horse) will enable some backdoor to allow access of your system to unauthorized party.Removal of Adware, Spyware and Malware.There are many rock solid commercial applications for the removal of adwares, spywares and malwares and it is interesting to note that these companies often release a version that is free for personal use. Of course these free versions come with some form of restriction. But still they would suffice for your personal computer.
Three main weapons against Adware, Spyware and Malware.
1. Anti-spyware / Anti-Adware programTwo main companies i want to introduce here.First is Lavasoft. It is one of the first company to conceive the idea of coming up with adware / spyware removal software and to date, they are still the leading provider of Anti-spyware / adware solutions.
They have a free personal version available for download.The restriction on the free version is that there are no automatic updates and it does not run in the background. Therefore, it would take some amount of discipline to run manual checks on your system regularly. It would be also be possible for you to schedule it in your scheduler task to run on every Sunday or any day that you like it to run.Another is AVG, it started of as one of the top free personal anti virus solutions, now it has already diversify to provide other security solutions like anti-spyware. One thing that is good about AVG is that a fully functional trial version will revert to a free version after the trial period.
And while it is fully functional, it can be run in the background to provide continuous protection against adware and spyware for your system.
After the trial, both AVG and Lavasoft provide similar functions of on demand update and scanning.Working on both application is relatively straight forward, it is strongly recommended that you download the latest definition file and do a complete scan for your system during the initial installation. There after, before every regular scan, do remember to update your definition file.During the scans, likely hood is that you will discover tracking cookies.
These usually can be safely deleted.2. Anti-virusBoth AVG and Avast! offers great protection for your computer. Just download from the respective site. Personally, i am using Avast! and will go deeper on it. Whatever the functionality, parallel can be drawn for AVG too.After you install Avast! it will prompt you for a registration code, this can be obtained from Avast! website for free.For me, Avast! anti-virus is an install and forget about it solution. After the initial installation, do a update of the virus database and allow Avast! to run in the back ground.
Avast! will automatically download virus definition file and any program updates that is available. After the initial installation and set up, you are protected on the following fronts:* Instant Messaging* Internet Mail* Network Shield* Peer to Peer (P2P) Shield* Standard Shield* Web ShieldIt give you a well rounded protection on the different fronts where a virus may infiltrate your system.
3. FirewallWith todays reliance on the internet, Firewall is one of the must have for both business and personal computers. It is your first level of defense against external threads. It is very useful in the detection and blocking of adware and spyware.As most adware and spyware will try to connect to the internet, your firewall will warn you of the application's attempt to connect to the network. An important point to note is that we should always check and verify the connection attempts and not just blindly "Allow" access to the internet.A couple of comprehesive and free firewall solution can be found at Comodo or ZoneAlarm.
Although Microsoft includes a build in firewall, it is no where near in comparison to what comodo or ZoneAlarm offers.Do remember to disable the Windows Firewall when you replace it with either Comodo or ZoneAlarm.

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