I just took a second look at two free last resort malware removal tools, which I first looked at in June – Norton Power Eraser and NoVirusThanks. The developers of each tool makes reference to the fact that it is capable of detecting and removing Rogue Software, a scourge that currently infests the Internet.
The first tool – NoVirusThanks Malware Remover, (last updated August 23, 2010), according to the publisher, is “an application designed to detect and remove specific malware, Trojans, worms and other malicious threats that can damage your computer. It includes the ability to remove rogue software, spyware and adware.”
For a complex tool, the user interface is surprisingly simple, since it’s laid out in the familiar tabs and check boxes format, which makes it easy to follow.
Despite the publisher’s assertion that this tool “is very fast”, I didn’t find it particularly so. It took fully 15 minutes to complete the scan. Norton Power Eraser (described later), took less than 2 minutes.
On the plus side though, NoVirusThanks Malware Remover did not return any false positives, which is a bit unusual for an aggressive specialty tool. This can be very positive of course, for those users unused to running such a high powered tool.
Accurate Disinfection Method
Remove Rogue Software and Unwanted Applications
Remove Trojans, Spyware and Worms
Quick Scan and Full Scan
Backup Files and Folders
Easy to use
System requirements: Windows 7, Windows 2003, Windows 2000, Windows Vista, Windows XP
Download at: Novirusthanks.org
The second specialty malware removal tool I took a second look at, comes from a more familiar developer – Symantec, who’s free Norton Power Eraser, makes essentially the same claims as NoVirusThanks. Specifically, that it detects and removes scareware, or rogueware.
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.”
Again, Norton Power Eraser’s user interface is simple, and easy to follow.
As opposed to NoVirusThanks, Norton did point out (for the second time), two issues that were in fact, false positives, as the following screen capture indicates.
Power Eraser, does offer the user additional information on suspicious files, so that the user can make a more accurate assessment as to the validity of the findings, as the following screen capture shows. You’ll note that in this case NoVirusThanks, is shown as a suspicious file.
It should be shown as a suspicious file, since its behavior replicates, in part, the familiar behavior of malware.
The second suspicious activity “advanced”, refers to my habit of hiding my Desktop icons, since I dislike that cluttered look. Besides which, on all my machines, my work applications are displayed in the Taskbar.
Note: According to Symantec – “You should use Power Eraser only when nothing else will remove the threat, and you are willing to accept the risk that the scanner may quarantine a legitimate program.”
System requirements: Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP
Download at: Symantec
These tools require advanced computer knowledge, and unless you feel confident in your diagnostic skills, you should avoid them.
Should you choose to add these applications to your antimalware toolbox, be aware that you will need the latest updated version for maximum efficiency.
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