Good Free Spyware and Malware Removers



By Bryan Sanders posted Jul 28th, 2010 at 12:54AM


Can you fix my computer?

I get asked a lot by friends and relatives if I can fix their computers. They seem to think I use some expensive magic software to get their computer running normal again. I do use a lot of expensive software at home on my personal computer, but a majority of my best software is free.

I thought I would share some of my personal favorite software for removing spyware and malware. I will also share my favorite free cleaners to get rid of clutter. You may have your own personal favorites and feel free to share them. There are many of places to download free software but I use download.com.


Free Software (Windows)

Ad-Aware (Free Edition)

One of the first applications built to find and remove malware and spyware, Ad-Aware’s reputation is well-justified.

Ad-Aware is completely free but limited. The UI is simple and easy to use. Some are have trouble with Ad-Aware freezing. I have never had any trouble. Just make sure you click Web Update each time you use it to keep up with all the latest attacks.


SuperAntiSpyware (Free Edition)

This software is awesome. One day I ran my whole arsenal of spyware removers and even the trusty Malwarebytes and they found nothing. I ran SuperAntiSpyware and it found 34 threats including 2 trojans. I was amazed that all the others failed to find them.


Malwarebytes

This software will scan deep into your computer and find the really harmful malware that has been making your computer act weird. I used Malwarebytes to get rid of many hard to kill worms. This software is also limited but it works.


Advanced SystemCare (Free)

This is an all-in-one software for cleaning and maintaining your computer for better overall system performance. You can get rid of spyware, junk files, registry cleaning, and much more. It comes packed full of different utilities. This one is a must have.


Glary Utilities

This software has a few great features and a nice, simple UI. There are great tools to manage start-up programs and memory optimization. This application offers utilities to improve your system’s performance and protect your privacy. Cleans unwanted junk files and remove invalid and broken shortcuts, freeing up valuable disk space.


CCleaner

This is a great application with many tools. CCleaner’s interface makes it easy to wipe away your tracks from Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera, Safari, and Google Chrome from various Windows system areas, and from some third-party applications. I have had times where I tried to uninstall a program using Windows uninstall and it would not let me. There is a quick and easy tool for removing unwanted programs in CCleaner that works better.


Disk Cleaner

This software has been around forever. This is a simple to use application for cleaning out your computer. Always a good one to use if you are in a hurry because it is fast.

Disk Cleaner is a free open source (GPL v2) tool to quickly and easily clean your hard disk from temporary files like those in the system temporary folder, the Internet Explorer Cache and Cookies folder, and the Recycle Bin. Disk Cleaner is absolutely free from adware and spyware.


File Shredder

If you have some private and very personal files on your computer that you want to delete for good, then here is your application. Erase files from your hard drive and choose from five options for shredding algorithms, ranging from simple one pass to DoD 5220-22.M to Guttman algorithm with 35 passes. Works great.


Update Checker (by FileHippo.com)

What is it?
The Update Checker will scan your computer for installed software, check the versions and then send this information to FileHippo.com to see if there are any newer releases. These are then neatly displayed in your browser for you to download. Please note that not all programs are supported.


Summary

I hope you find these applications helpful. I know there are many other good applications out there, but these are my favorites.

I wish you the best and happy cleaning! Let me know if any of these applications worked for you.


Note:

When you install these applications, be sure you read before you click “next” or “ok”. Some of these application try to get you to use a free toolbar or change your search engine provider. You may want to uncheck boxes on things you are not sure about and just go with the recommended install.

You can also choose to receive automatic updates which is what I do. If you are not sure how to use the application and you’re afraid you might accidentally delete wanted files, use the help menu. Some of these application may delete wanted files so make sure you read the warnings before deleting. Use at your own risk. I have never had any issues, I am just letting you know that it is possible.


My favorite web site for FREE software

http://download.cnet.com/windows/

www.download.com


Warning: Tabnabbing is on the loose

Warning: a new type of phishing attack called ‘Tabnabbing’ is on the loose. It’s like phishing within a browser – http://bit.ly/bGV0bQ

Craigslist Job Search and Phishing

Being unemployed and searching for a job sucks. I use craigslist as one of my main resources to find that perfect job. After some recent phishing emails I once again want to make the public aware of a continuous malicious activity on craiglslist.

Posts

The malicious job posts come in all shapes, sizes and forms. I cannot pinpoint a particular post to look out for. I can however share with you some helpful tips on what to look out for (bottom of page). A majority of the job postings on craigslist may look legit to you and I. We see that perfect job and think “this is the one”. The posting usually asks that you upload your resume, a cover letter and maybe your salary requirements. Our resumes include a home address, phone numbers and other personal information.

Thinking that we are applying for that perfect position at our dream job, we send an email and attachments. We take our time to send that perfect email using spell check and make sure our resume looks suitable and ready for action. We hit the send button and some jerk receives our email and says, “SUCKER’!

What if I told you that your resume just ended up in the hands of a malicious person! Doesn’t make you feel too good does it? Like it or not this is happening daily. Our personal information is ending up in the hands of malicious people who may sell things such as your email address or phone number to spammers or telemarketers. They also use phishing emails to gather all of your other information such as social security numbers.

The email may lead you to a Web site or may even have a  list inside of the email asking for information to fill out and reply back. Thinking that the email is legit you fill out the information and send back. That information is collected by the fraudulent person on the other end and is either sold or used to by that person. They can use your social security number or credit card (if you were stupid enough to send that) to go on a shopping spree or set up accounts in your name. They have access to your personal information and can use it to ruin your life.

Recent Emails

I am living in California and I use many different cities on craigslist to chose from. I browse through jobs using the search filter and narrowing the jobs down to a few new job posts per day. Out of those three jobs, two of those jobs are more than likely fake. It pisses me off but these is still a chance it is real and I may land a job. In this economy you can’t be too choosy.

After applying for more jobs than I can count it gets frustrating when I don’t hear back from a potential employer. Just this week alone I did hear back from three potential jobs via email. Of those three jobs, three of them were phishing emails. Sucks doesn’t it?

The jobs that I applied for were all different companies and various positions. Some of the job postings were short and two the point while others were well organized and full of job related details. I thought there was no way these could be fake. One of the posting had the pay listed in the posting which is usually a red flag.

After taking my time and carefully writing emails, touching up cover letters and resumes, I sent the emails one by one. The following day I had a response from one of the jobs. The email was very professional and this time (compared to previous malicious emails last month) the emails used correct grammar and they even had links. There were links to a website, an address and other details that made the email seem credible.

Being a technology graduate I knew I needed to do my homework first. I went to Google Maps right away and searched for the company name that was given. It was a success. There was the same address and telephone number given to me in the email. I saw a link for the company Web site on Google Maps and that too matched the Web site given to me in the email. I thought “this could actually be a real job”.

I visited the Web site and it there was the first red flag. The Web site looked like a poorly designed site from the early 90’s. There was an “index” page, a “contact” page and an “about us” page. There were maybe two images and all together about 4 paragraphs. I could tell it was a Web site quickly designed for phishing scams.

I went back and read the email over again. There were two different links for Web sites given (which I no better not to click) to me. The text read please visit our Web site and fill out a background check form. This was mentioned maybe 3-4 times.

As days went by I received two more emails. Both of the new emails were the same exact email I had received days before. It was funny because the jobs I I applied for were in different cities and different positions. These emails all listed the same company and same address in Atlanta as their Central Office. One of the emails said “we cannot hire or even talk to you until you fill out all of your information for a background check”. I was a manager and I did the hiring for 8 years. I have never heard of such a false claim. SCAM!

Tips

Use you judgment when applying and responding to job posts on craigslist and some other sites. A real company would never ask that you to give out all of your information via email without ever calling you for an interview first. Most jobs will call you and personally speak to you to let you know they are interested.

What to look out for in a fake post:

  • No company logo
  • The pay is included in the job title and the pay looks to be way over what the position normally pays (Cashier Wanted $28/hr)
  • Incorrect grammar (We need you get job we pay)
  • Looks too good to be true
  • Work from home jobs
  • Limited details about the job
  • “No experience necessary” or no degree required for a position you know would need a degree
  • The same job posted every day and in many different cities
  • A  job post that asks you to visit a crazy looking URL
  • A job post that asks you to email all of your personal information
  • NEVER give out you social security number to anyone. A real job would never have you email you social security number to them. They would use a secure Web address starting with an https:// (notice the “s”)

Be careful out there and best of luck with your job search!

Windows Mobile Malware

Malware found hiding in applications for Windows Mobile. The Malware makes expensive calls racking up huge bills unbeknownst to the phone’s owner.

Be Aware: Craigslist Phishing and Scamming Posts

Internet scams on craigslist:

In the past few years I have received numerous phishing/scam emails in my inbox trying to gain my personal information. Today it happened to a relative of mine which again motivated me to make the public aware of such scams.

I am currently in search of a new career. My mom is also looking for a part-time job to help her earn some extra income. Each day we both go on to craigslist.com and search jobs in our area. I do pay close attention to the “Avoid Scams” warning written on various craigslist pages. This post is not designed to knock craigslist but just to share my experiences and help you spot a scam. I think craigslist is a great site and has helped me land a job or two in the past.

Personal Experiences:

For Rent Scam

I have had more scammers contact me than I can count through craigslist. I have used craigslist for jobs and to search for real estate. I live in California but I was also an Oregon resident last year. I have had scammers contact me in both states for local jobs and real estate for sale/rent.

There is one scam that sticks out the most and I can only hope nobody would fall for. It happened last year while in Oregon. We had moved to the State and needed a house to rent before we bought a house. We searched craigslist and found three potential houses. One of the houses looked too good to be true. The post was very detailed and even had the address with a image of the location on Google maps.

We drove to visit the house and see if it was what was listed in the ad. As were driving through the neighborhood we thought “there is no way we could afford to live here”. We pulled up to this huge 5bd, 4 ba brand new home that sat perched on a hillside overlooking a canyon and river. The view alone was worth the rent. We nearly had a heart attack. We called the number listed in craigslist right away and it went straight to voicemail. We left a message. Then we emailed the owner.

The next day we received and email saying “Thank you for you interested, the house not rented so you can have. Please send $800 to me and I send you keys. I only ask you take care of my home. Please include all of you information and social number”. Right away I thought SCAM!! The house was worth at least $5000 a month in rent and the guy was asking $800 without a contract, background check or ever meeting us? I was wondering how the scam artist had pictures of the correct home in Oregon and knew all the details?

I later researched and found out these Nigerian scammers copy the real owners ads and paste them in there own posts. The pictures, location and details were all real but the owner was not. The scammer changes the phone number to a voicemail that belongs to him and gives his disposable email address. This house we looked at was probably already rented out or was taken off the market months before the post. I never did see a “for rent” sign but the house was empty and looked like nobody lived there. Again I wondered how the scammer knew nobody would be home when we went to see the house. The scammer is working all the way in another country.

The email was written in very bad English and there was a bulleted list asking for all of my information which was phishing for my information. After a few more houses and the same responses we realized just how many fake “for rent” posts there were. We received the same response as above on 3-4 houses for rent.

They all had the same poor grammar; they asked for money and they would give us keys and they had a list asking for personal information. They also were all from a man with the last name ‘Lamb’. It was anything from Robert Lamb who lived in Alaska to Harvey Lamb from Africa. They all claimed to own the houses and would give up the keys if we took care of their house.

Job scams

Almost daily my mom or I receive a phishing/scam email from a job post we had responded to the previous night on craigslist. The job locations and positions vary so it’s hard to narrow down the bad ones. I already know what to look for in the job posts and what could potentially be a scam. I never send my personal information or resume unless I know it’s a real job.

If the job looks too good to be true then it is probably not true! If the job says something like “You will work in an office where we play all day and you make a few copies and we pay you $60/hr” it’s not real! I saw an actual post that said “Veterinarian needed asap. No experience needed and no background checks. You will drive around in a company truck helping animals by yourself with no supervision. Make $100k plus per year”. A veterinarian with no experience? C’mon!

There are a lot of jobs that look authentic. They have a company logo and they are very detailed. Only when you get the response do you know it was a scam. Please do not send a resume unless asked first and never give out your social security number for anything! Do your homework. Call or go visit the job site first and see if it is real if possible. Contact the actual company to see if they are really hiring and ask if they know Mr. So and So who posted the job on craiglist. It can’t hurt. With this economy and so many unemployed people out there someone has to be falling for these scams. Don’t be on them.

Here is what to look for to make sure the job posting may be authentic:

  • A company name and logo should be present
  • Company information such as phone numbers, names and location
  • Correct grammar and realistic job related duties
  • Well known companies such as Walmart, Target ….are usually real
  • IF IT’S TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE THEN DON’T TRUST IT!!

Today my mom received the actual phishing email (below) for what she thought was a job. She sent a response to the job poster from the link on craigslist. In her email she only asked, “Where is the job located and what is the pay”. She did not send a resume!! Today she received this actual email:

Actual scam email

“I got your resume and it has been reviewed, I did appreciate i. So I will give this a GO”

I’m looking for someone that can be trusted and reliable to work very well and with good understanding.
This position is home-based and flexible, working with me is basically about instructions and following them,my only fear is that I may come at you impromptu sometimes, so I need someone who can be able to meet up with my irregular timings.As my Personal Assistant,your activities amongst other things will include;
*Running personal errands, supervisions and monitoring. Scheduling programmes, flights and keeping me up to date with them.Acting as an alternative telephone correspondence while I’m away.Making regular contacts and drop-offs on my behalf. Handling and monitoring some of my financial activities..
Basic wage is $500 Weekly

I’m sure you’ll understand I tend to have a very busy schedule at this point,as I am presently in Australia, I will be back in Three Weeks.
I think you’re the right person for this position,Please note that this position is not office based for now because of my frequent travels and tight schedules, it’s a part-time work from home and the flexibility means that there will be busier weeks than others, so it’s a little difficult judging the exact number of hours you’ll be doing per week.If you can manage your time properly,this job may even give you some extras while you do something else on the side. As I have said, I’d want us to get a head START with things as soon as possible.I do have lots of works piled up presently and a number of unattended chores which you can immediately assist me with, I hope we can meet up with the workload eventually. Permit me to use the coming week to test your efficiency and diligence towards all this, also to work out your time schedule and fit it to mine. I really need to find the perfect person for this job, I’m confident you can take up the challenge and on the long run we should have a relatively sound working relationship between us.. I’m online most of the time as I am hard of hearing so I prefer we contact each other through E-mails,but if there is need for me to call, I will be glad to do that.I am glad you are willing to work with me and i promise to be a good boss. I am also glad on the commitment in working.I have been checking my files and what i would want you to do for me this week is to run some errands out to some of the orphanage home, I do that every month.A payment inform of a Cashier Check/Money Order will be sent over to you from one of my clients and i have some lists to email you once you received the funds,You will make some arrangements by buying some stuff for the kids in the Orphanage at any nearest store around you so you can mail them out. I will get you more information on that,I will like you to get back to me with your Contact Details such as:

First Name :
Last Name :
Street Address (no p.o box) :
City, State, Zip Code :
Cell Phone Number:
Home Phone Number:
Sex :
Current Occupation :
Email Address :
ALL YOUR INFORMATION SHOULD BE SENT TO THIS EMAIL ADDRESS.
Once I have received your contact information, I will get back to you with the task for this week,Understand you will also be paid as well as its important for me to make the necessary steps before i get back from my business trip back to the states. Hope I am clear with that.

Get back as soon as possible.”