Given the extreme state of the Internet today, and all of it’s accompanying dangers, computer users’ need all the help we can get to keep our machines free of spyware/Trojans/viruses/hijackers ……. Just fill in the blanks.
HijackThis is a free utility by Trend Micro which heuristically scans your computer to find settings that may have been changed by homepage hijackers, spyware, other malware, or even unwanted programs.
This application has a well deserved reputation for being aggressive in tracking down unauthorized changes that have been made to your system/applications.
The program doesn’t target specific programs, but instead it analyses registry and file settings, and then targets the methods used by cyber-crooks. After you scan your computer, HijackThis creates a report, or log file, with the results of the scan.
Because of the heuristic methods used by HijackThis, the results of the scan can be confusing/intimidating, to those who are not advanced users. On the other hand, the strength of this program lies in the large community of users who participate in online forums, where experts (voluntarily and for free), will interpret HijackThis scan results for you, and then provide you with the information you need to clean any infection.
The latest version (2.0.2), adds potent tools to the Configuration window including, a process manager and hosts file editor to help you remove dangerous infections, and an ADS Spy tool which scans alternate data streams, that browser hijackers can, and will use, to evade antispyware applications.
Despite the fact that you may only need this small application infrequently, it deserves a place in your anti-malware toolbox.
To get a real feel for how powerful this small application is, checkout the great tutorial on using HijackThis, at BleepingComputer.com.
System requirements: Windows Vista, XP, 2000, Me, 98
Software requirements: Internet Explorer, FireFox
Download at: Download.com
To read a great article on the current state of other free security tools hop on over to Techwalker, and checkout my friend Mark’s article on
Online Security Tools Revisited.