There are MANY MANY malicious and fraudulent packages out there. If you get one that appears to be un-solicited, has a lot of warnings about how many bad things are on your machine, hard to resist or uninstall, CALL US. It may be a bad guy in disguise, which may take anywhere from one hour to 3 hours to overnite reinstallation of Windows to get rid of, depending on how bad it is and how long it has been on your machine. These may gather passwords or send out spam or faciliate pornography distribution which can jeopardize the integrity and safety of your machine.

These sites contain the names and characteristics of some of the worst offenders, though new varieties pop up daily.

Safe and effective tools and security programs

  • Superantispyware - has been VERY effective in removing many of the most recent scare-ware attacks, as has product (also named Malwarebytes).
  • Spybot Search and Destroy - & antispyware. It had been my first used-tool of choice for tracking down bad spyware and malicious programs until Superantispyware came along. It still is one I put on the computer because it can "immunize" or protect areas of Windows registry to prevent infections.
  • CCleaner - cleans out windows temporary areas where malware hides. This also has a great tool to safely disable stuff that starts up when Windows starts. It has the only registry cleaner tool I’d trust to be safe and effective.
  • Norton Antivirus 2010 - has finally made Norton palatable again. It's lean and trim and fast, automatic updates. (I usually steer away from the suites, so I am NOT recommending the internet security product at this time).
  • Nod32 – It is now easy to setup and use, is a purchased product and I use it on several of my own machines. ( It is my preferred paid version but is not inexpensive.
  • Avg by Grisoft - ( antivirus/antispyware. Automatic updates, scheduled scanning and updating. THE FREE VERSION IS THERE, you just have to be carefull what you click on. It is one of the programs I use that is free and generally good protection. It has recently had some problems with the very nasty scareware products such as GreenAV, Personal AV, Antivirus 2010, etc. In addition, there have been a few “false positives” that have been irritating. But most of my clients are happy with it.
  • Avast - is also one we have been using as an alternate, good free third party tool.
  • Microsoft has a new Microsoft Security Essentials, a free antivirus and antispyware solution for home and home based businesses. It works well with Vista and Windows 7 as well as XP. It has become my preferred free antivirus. It is lean and runs efficiently, and it automatically self-updates.
  • Trend-Micro A good all-in-one antivirus/antispyware/firewall solution, purchased product..
  • Hijack This (We may put this on your machine while troubleshooting problems, DO NOT TRY TO USE THIS YOURSELF). It shows EVERYTHING that runs at startup or as a browser addition, good as well as the bad and if misused, can cause serious windows issues. We use it carefully to strip out the bad guys.
  • Trojan-remover - removes trojans specifically
  • trojan-hunter removes trojans specifically
  • Secunia finds obsolete and risky versions of application and security holes
  • SpywareBlaster and Spyware Guard
  • Sophos antirootkit

Special Security protection has a free "sandbox" that you can use to run your web browser and be protected from changes to the windows system. It keeps all changes/downloads contained in a parallel "sandbox" and so when you are in the sandbox, nothing can affect the real windows files. I use it on XP and VISTA successfully for those who have higher risk due to their type of web browsing requirements. It is free, but has a "nag" delay unless you pay for it. It really works when you have to visit unknown websites that might try to redirect you or launch virus/attack systems. You download and install it, and then you can configure it to toss the contents of the sandbox whenever you exit, change the outline color for the sandboxed web browser, etc.

Antivirus or Anti-spyware products that are safe, but are bulky, and may cause computer performance issues.

  • Symantec Norton Antivirus earlier than 2010, and any version of their Internet Security Suite
  • McAfee
  • ZoneAlarm Security Suite (this had been one of our recommended, but it has gotten larger and has had some inconvenient incompatabilities)

Other Antiviruses that are safe but less used for various reasons

  • Avir
  • Sophos
  • Norman
  • PC Tools Spyware Doctor
  • Fsecure
  • Kapersky
  • Suites offered by Internet providers often are less effective and bulkier than our recommended products.

See Virus Bulletin's web site (registration required) for a listing of antivirus products that passed the "100% in the Wild" testing, which means good virus protection with low "false positives". It doesn't rate performance or cost or ease of use.

This view is separated by "platform" or operating system.

This chart is arranged by product