- Adware (Advertising Software) is a software application in which advertisements are displayed while the program is running, esp. in pop-up windows or banners, and which often is 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
- 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 are unsure, Google the process to confirm if it’s legit or not.
PC Tools to Consider
- Malwarebytes – Make sure database is updated and perform a full scan
- Spybot’s Search & Destroy
- Microsoft’s Security Essentials
- 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