Looking at recent estimates provided by a large number of Internet security providers, the consensus seems to be that there are over 20,000,000 malware programs currently circulating on the Internet. So, if you should become infected by malware, it might not be any consolation – but, rest assured; it can happen to any one of us. We are, after all, facing overwhelming odds.
Much of today’s malware can be extremely difficult to identify and remove –despite a user relying on frontline antimalware applications to do the job. If you’re struggling with the reality of this statement, take a look at “Testing of antiviruses for the treatment of active infections” from Anti-malware Test Lab.
The following tools have been specifically designed to help users better identify malware infections, and then eradicate those specific infections. These tools require advanced computer knowledge, and unless you feel confident in your diagnostic skills, you should avoid them.
Here’s a reasonable test to determine if you have the skills necessary to use these application effectively. If you’re not capable of using, and interpreting, an application such as HiJackThis for example, it is unlikely that using these applications will prove to be beneficial. On the other hand, if you can interpret the results of a HiJackThis scan, you’re probably “good to go”.
Should you choose to add these applications to your antimalware toolbox, be aware that you will need the latest updated version for maximum efficiency.
The program operates as a detailed system analysis tool that can help you in the detection and removal of Hijackers, Spyware, Adware, Trojans, Worms, and other malware. It doesn’t offer live protection but instead, it examines your system, determines if it’s been infected, and then allows you to wipe out the malware.
If you’re a malware hunter, and you’re in the market for a free system utility which will scan your system for running programs, autostart locations, drivers, services and hijack points, then Runscanner should make your shortlist. The developers of Runscanner describe this freeware utility as having been designed to “detect changes and misconfigurations in your system caused by spyware, viruses, or human error.”
HijackThis is a free utility which heuristically scans your computer to find settings that may have been changed by homepage hijackers, spyware, other malware, or even unwanted programs. In addition to this scan and remove capability HijackThis comes with several tools useful in manually removing malware from a computer.
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, and a log file (if you choose to do so), with the results of the scan.
RKill is a program developed at BleepingComputer.com – “It was created so that we could have an easy to use tool that kills known processes that stop the use of our normal anti-malware applications. Simple as that. Nothing fancy. Just kill known malware processes so that anti-malware programs can do their job.”
BlitzBlank is a tool for experienced users and all those who must deal with Malware on a daily basis. Malware infections are not always easy to clean up. In more and more cases it is almost impossible to delete a Malware file while Windows is running. BlitzBlank deletes files, Registry entries and drivers at boot time before Windows and all other programs are loaded.
Stinger is a stand-alone utility used to detect and remove specific viruses. It is not a substitute for full anti-virus protection, but rather a tool to assist administrators and users when dealing with an infected system. Stinger utilizes next generation scan engine technology, including process scanning, digitally signed DAT files, and scan performance optimizations.
Eight special removal tools including Conficker Removal Tool
This tool checks your computer for infection by specific, prevalent malicious software (including Blaster, Sasser, and Mydoom) and helps to remove the infection if it is found. Microsoft will release an updated version of this tool on the second Tuesday of each month.
NoVirusThanks Malware Remover is an application designed to detect and remove specific malware, trojans, worms and other malicious threats that can damage your computer. It can also detect and remove rogue security software, spyware and adware. This program is not an Antivirus and does not protect you in real time, but it can help you to detect and remove trojans, spywares and rogue security software installed in your computer.
Symantec describes Norton Power Eraser in part, as a tool that “takes on difficult to detect crimeware known as scareware or rogueware. The Norton Power Eraser is specially designed to aggressively target and eliminate this type of crimeware and restore your PC back to health.”
If you think you might have hidden malware on your system, I recommend that you run multiple rootkit detectors. Much like anti-spyware programs, no one program catches everything.
Microsoft Rootkit Revealer is an advanced root kit detection utility. Its output lists Registry and file system API discrepancies that may indicate the presence of a user-mode or kernel-mode rootkit. According to Microsoft, Rootkit Revealer successfully detects all persistent rootkits published at http://www.rootkit.com, including AFX, Vanquish and Hacker Defender.
IceSword is a very powerful software application that will scan your computer for rootkits. It also displays hidden processes and resources on your system that you would be unlikely to find in any other Windows Explorer like program. Because of the amount of information presented in the application, please note that IceSword was designed for more advanced users.
This freeware tool is essentially a combination of Sysinternals’ Rootkit Revealer and Process Explorer. The program can list running processes, modules and Windows services, in addition to scanning for the presence of rootkits.
Tizer Rootkit Razor, will allow you to identify and remove Rootkits from your computer. I should be clear however, this tool is not “one-click simple” to decipher, and users need to be particularly mindful of false positives.
Since the false positive issue, is always a major consideration in using tools of this type, you should be aware that tools like this, are designed for advanced users, and above.
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