Please Book-Mark This Page
First of all, please bookmark this page asap. It is written as a resource page for my readers to be used for future reference.
OK – Let’s cut to the chase! You’re in trouble and you realize that you probably have a “VIRUS!” You need free Adware, Malware, and Spyware Remover and FAST – as in NOW! I know the feeling, been there, done that! So, without further ado, here it is:
Click the Image Below to Download the Free Anti-Malware. Install, and run.
Then, when that’s done, come back and read more about Malware, Adware, Trojans, and Spyware and what they can do to your system.
True Story Time
From my recent personal experience, I highly – HIGHLY – recommend MalwareBytes. In fact, I will be upgrading to the paid version when my new system comes in. The price is $25.00 for the year, and I think that’s reasonable. It will run alongside McAfee, and I will just have to get into a better habit of checking scans and seeing what my system is “up to” in order to avoid this scenario in the future and keep my system running smooth. Here’s my story – below:
Now, let’s back up a bit – shall we? In one of my previous posts about building a residual income and writing, I mention the need for a good computer. In a subsequent post, I followed-up with a recent experience that I’ve had using my old Sony Vaio computer that was, apparently, infected with a Trojan… and so much more! I had also explained that some of the viruses and Trojans that were on my computer caused my system to spam people. So, this is a follow-up post about the specific files, malware, adware, spyware, and viruses I had on my system as well as what I found on my mom’s system, what each one does, and how we removed them successfully.
But first, let me explain, for those who may not know, the definitions of Malware, Adware, Spyware, and Viruses.
This term covers all. Malware is short for malicious code. It encompasses all malicious code that is written to damage, disrupt, steal, and/or harm others – period. Malware includes Adware, Spyware, Viruses and Worms. If you’d like more information, please go to Cisco’s website.
According to Wikipedia, Spyware is software that gathers information from the computer without the knowledge of its owner, and may send this information to another entity. It does what its name suggests. It monitors use, uses Trojans, Adware, and Cookies to track use, and it may also use Keylogging capabilities.
Viruses, Trojans & Worms
So, what is the difference? The difference between Computer Viruses, Trojans, and Worms, according to Webopedia, is in what they do and how they do it. All computer viruses, Trojans, and worms are all malware – code written with malicious intent, but they are all different in nature. Here are the differences:
- Computer Virus is usually, and unknowingly, attached to a file or an email, and it is designed to spread to other computers.
- Worm needs no further human interaction. It can replicate itself, attach itself to files, and send itself to multiple contacts within someone’s email list.
- Trojans are programs that allow malicious users to create a backdoor entry point into your system, and allow them access to your system, thus, compromising your confidential and personal information. And, finally…,
- Blended Threats, as the name suggests, is malicious code that combines all of the worst aspects of viruses, worms, Trojans, and malicious code into one. They also propagate using multiple methods, and they exploit vulnerabilities.
Below is a list of all the Malware, Adware, Spyware, Trojans, and yes, Viruses, that we had on our systems. Scary stuff, to say the least!
Malware & Viruses found on my Sony Vaio:
From my research, this “may” be a false positive. Please check with MalwareBytes to determine whether this is harmful. In my case, I allowed them to be quarantined and removed from my system.
Malware.Packer.HGX1 and Malware.Packer.EPGen
According to PCThreat.com, these are malicious infections – REMOVE IMMEDIATELY! Not only does they run in the background, they allow the users to connect remotely to your pc. Consider your pc compromised.
According to eHow, this is a malicious program that gets you to download or purchase an “unneeded” anti spyware program. It allows the user to re-direct traffic through your computer, or is used to steal your information. “Yahoo answers” confirms this information. According to 2-spyware.com, this malicious program makes your system vulnerable to other threats as well. It can redirect your browser, slows down your system, download updates, record keyboard keystrokes, etc. If found on your system, REMOVE IMMEDIATELY!
According to wikipedia.org, this little program is responsible for sending 25,000 spam messages per hour! This is a backdoor trojan that hides itself successfully from many rootkit anti-virus programs. It can be used to spam, or can be used to cause a “denial of service” attack. It may replicate and reinstall itself after you have made any effort to remove it. If found – REMOVE IMMEDIATELY!
Potentially Unwanted Program (PUP) for short, are not necessarily malware or malicious viruses. This one, in particular, is considered to be Adware, and, according to HerdProtect.com, 88% of users remove it.
According to MalwareBytes, this is a PUP that performs malicious actions. It installs without the user’s knowledge, and can change settings, hijacks home pages, redirects programs, etc. It is also used to achieve other malicious attacks. REMOVE IMMEDIATELY!
According to Yac.mx, this program is a hazardous browser infection that causes annoying popups and browser redirects to misleading websites. MyFreeze may also drop additional malware such as Trojans, Worms, Keyloggers, and Rogues on the infected computer. It also eats up system resources, and explains why the computer runs slowly and acts weird. REMOVE IMMEDIATELY!
Various sites, including Windows Problems Help Center, describe this as a nasty and hazardous Trojan threat with a “Severe” threat level. It may be delivered via email, pop ups, or corrupt files. It may also come along with bundled malware. It is known to take up high resources which makes your system really slow, and it alters registry entries to run in the background when you load your system. It is a Trojan to remotely perform vicious actions, download more malware, steal personal information, log keystrokes, add or delete files, or even mess up your computer just because it can. According to MalwareBytes, it is also used to boost advertising revenue with blackhat SEO, and it inflates a site’s page ranking in search results. Personally, I’m wondering why it’s classified as a PUP when, in my opinion, it should be identified as “MALWARE” with GIANT LETTERS! – REMOVE IMMEDIATELY!
According to HerdProtect.com, this is classified as Adware, but it allows other PUPs to be installed. Its main use is to download software and bundled with optional offers, ad-supported utilities, toolbars, shopping comparison tools and browser extensions.
According to Malwarefixes.com, this is similar to MyFreeze discussed above. It is bundled with freeware or shareware applications and authors utilize pay-per-install schemes to deploy to end users. It targets browsers, and it can perform changes on browser settings that result in home page hijacking, browser redirects, and it can also drop extension, add-on, and plug-ins to achieve other malicious tasks.
According to im-infected.com, this is Adware, but malicious Adware. It allows constant pop up ads, browser redirects, and problems relating to your privacy with compromised systems. It is designed to gain profit through various actions that it initiates. Adware with monetization purposes, but can also endanger your privacy. According to RemovePCVirusNow.com, it can modify system settings, and take over high resources of your CPU causing your system to run slowly. This program also manipulates your online activities and keystrokes to gather your confidential information for illegal purposes. REMOVE IMMEDIATELY!
I used MalwareBytes to quarantine and remove all of the above files found on my XP system.
Malware & Viruses found on my mom’s Sony Vaio:
According to Microsoft, this is a family of programs that deliver “out of context” pop-ups. It can download and install on your computer without your consent. It may also use advanced techniques to avoid detection and removal. According to Wikipedia, this Trojan can cause pop-ups, but it can also be used for denial of service attacks. According to McAfee, it is a Trojan virus that does not self-replicate. Although it may be Adware, it may also be used as a keylogger that logs keystrokes, stores the file, and reports back to a remote website. Although McAfee considers the risk low, you’d be wise to REMOVE IMMEDIATELY!
According to eHow.com, the Trojan BHO is a “Browser Help Object” Trojan. “All of these Trojans have the ability to seriously impair your computer,” and they should be REMOVED IMMEDIATELY.
This program displays popups and advertising links, etc. According to PCThreat, this program is not always malicious, but it can monitor your internet behavior and forward that information to third-party sources. If you didn’t want your history tracked, and you have found this on your system – REMOVE IMMEDIATELY!
Some sites do call this program a virus, but again, please be careful in what sites you go to to remove items identified as virus removal sites. You may be infecting your system with yet another virus. Go to Microsoft’s Partners for Consumers Page which lists legitimate anti-virus sites.
According to Wikipedia, this program is not malicious and has no malicious intent. This company owns a lot of “popular” apps such as Weather Live, Emoji Keypad, Calculator Pro, etc. They also state that you can uninstall it by going directly to Mindspark.com to remove the program. According to MalwareBytes, Mindspark is a marketing company that focuses on interactive advertising. If you do allow their programs, and if you download many, it can slow your computer down.
According to BleepingComputer.com, this is adware/junkware, and they explain how to remove it. According to Microsoft Answers – they corroborate that it is an adware / nuisance program, and that you can go to malwaretips.com to remove it. http://malwaretips.com/blogs/pup-optional-mindspark-removal/ Alternatively, you may also just use MalwareBytes to remove this program.
According to Malwaretips.com, this is technically not a virus, but it does exhibit malicious traits. It has rootkit capabilities, browser hijacking, and can interfere with computer use. It can also be used for blackhat SEO purposes, and inflate a site’s page ranking in search results. It may have been downloaded along with other freeware: video recording/straming, download managers, or .pdf creators. CNET has also been named as a possible source, unfortunately. According to Yahoo Answers, it is adware which can be “fun.” But, they acknowledge that it does monitor search behavior, and sometimes inserts ads on the sites you are visiting.
Apparently, this is also downloaded along with FunWebProducts (discussed above). According to BleepingComputer.com, it is not technically spyware, but does use tracking cookies and transmits information regarding search requests through the toolbar. It is basically adware and a non-viral threat, but, like above, it will also slow down your computer.
This is not a program, per se. It is a notification that your Security has been disabled. According to Norton.com’s community, PUM stands for Potentially Unwanted Modification, and a program that finds your security has been disabled is only telling you of that fact.
In order to determine whether this is a good thing or bad depends on you, actually. According to BleepingComputer.com, this notice tells you that your Security Notification has been disabled. This can happen with malware, obviously, to stop any potential notification that your security has been compromised. But, it can also happen if you, yourself, disabled it or if you have anti-virus scan programs running that conflict with other programs which would cause duplicate warnings. They further state that if you run Malwarebytes, and you show no sign of any infection, then it’s likely that you or one of your security programs has disabled it to avoid duplicate warnings. You may then add it to the “ignore” list on Malwarebytes. If, however, you are showing signs of malware, you would be wise to conduct further research to find out why it has been disabled. Norton’s community site does acknowledge that Norton’s products have turned off Windows Security Center notifications, so, again, whether this is a good thing or bad depends on what products you are using, whether you have turned off the notices yourself, or if you’ve been infected with malicious malware that turned off the notices without your knowledge.
In our case, we know that XP is no longer supported. So, it is possible that Microsoft has disabled this to remind us to upgrade. Conversely, we were infected with many dangerous viruses and malware on both XP systems, so before I decide what to do, I will likely conduct further research, and/or try to re-enable these notifications on both XP systems. Then, I will re-run Malwarebytes to see if PUM comes up again. If it does, then I will likely just have Malwarebytes correct the problem by quarantining and removing it. From what I’ve read, Malwarebytes will change the notification back to “enable.” If it continues to show up again in future scans, I can only assume it’s because the Windows Security is way out of date, and Microsoft no longer supports XP.
Current Status: I allowed MalwareBytes to quarantine and remove all of the above files identified as “malware” found on my mom’s XP system. With the remaining PUP files found, I identified them, quarantined them, and after looking up each one, I removed the majority of them using MalwareBytes. The only program notice left on my mom’s computer is that of the PUM. Disabled.SecurityCenter which, as mentioned, I want to see what happens when I manually change the Security settings back to enable notices and re-run MalwareBytes.
Since the XP system is no longer supported by both Microsoft as well as McAfee, our chosen anti-virus software, my mom’s computer will, for the most part, be used only as an offline computer. I will occasionally go online to email her blog posts to myself as I am the one who manages her blog: JustASeniorAndHerBlog.com. But, running Malwarebytes, and reducing risk by disengaging her system from the internet, will reduce the chance of future infections.
Microsoft’s Malicious Software Removal Tool
This tool is also provided for free for XP users until such time they update. MS strongly encourages that users update to a later version which updates security updates automatically. Go here – download and run:
Microsoft Safety Scanner
A Free downloadable security tool that provides on demand scanning. It works with existing antivirus software.
Microsoft (Legitimate) Partners
Microsoft also encourages people to check this page first before downloading any “virus-scan” programs. People may inadvertently find nefarious sites “willing to provide” virus software when, in reality, they could be downloading more Trojans, and malware, in general. Here is Microsoft’s page for legitimate partners:
Additional Informational Forums:
Other sites of interest:
Web of Trust: www.mywot.com
Firefox – https://www.mozilla.org/en-US-plugincheck/
Other Browsers: https://browsercheck.qualys.com/
Secunia Personal Software Inspector (PSI): http://secunia.com/vulerability.scanning/personal/
As mentioned, I have recently gone through this whole experience myself, and I realize that since there are still many XP users “out there,” I thought I’d write an article that helps gather all this information in one place. So, please book-mark this page, especially if you’re the (currently) one in five computer users who are still using an old XP system.
Frequent scanning and becoming as vigilant as you can be will reduce your chances of infection, or, at the very least, will minimize the damage that may be done.
I invite any comments, opinions, or experiences that you may have had with computer malware, and I hope that you’ve protected yourself as best as possible using the latest in software detection development, and please remember to scan, scan, and then scan again!
Here’s to your Success!