Running more than one anti-spyware tool

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I've recently been talking to some IT security professionals about the absence of a single tool that can fix all of their spyware problems. It seems that to get most of the spyware off of a Windows system you need to run more than one spyware checker, and you need to run them in a certain order. Have you had experience with this problem? Are you running more than one spyware checker -- and, if so, can you offer suggestions about which tools work best together? I'm collecting this information for a user best practices article on SearchWindowsSecurity.com. Thanks for your time! Robyn Lorusso Editor SearchWindowsSecurity.com

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I run Spysweeper from webroot and it works OK. It is a pay subsription but a free download. Make sure you run it right away because webroot will load the latest protections before the first scan. After that you must pay for the latest protections.

The second spyware tool is from Giant and it works really well but only for 14 days then you must pay for it. I like it better that spysweeper but it doesn’t run after 14 days.

Also, look into the yahoo toolbar. It is free and has pop up blocker and spyware dection. I do not use it but I have heard good things.

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  • Pubintguy
    I use SpyBot 1.3 and the corporate version of AdAware 6 in that order. Also use Spywareblaster to help "immunize" further. I found it sometimes helps to delete each scanner's quarantine logs to prevent them from triggering on each other's files.
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  • Magkit
    I also use Spybot, AdAware, and SpywareBlaster. I run the free versions of both Spybot and AdAware to cleanup the computer. Then I setup the scheduler for Spybot to autorun and auto update, as well as run and update if you run the program. AdAware only offers autorun and auto update under the subscription program. SpywareBlaster is a different type of protection. It acts like a spyware firewall, by stopping the spyware from getting on the computer. SpywareBlaster offers subscription based automatic updating. However, it doesn't keep everything out, so you still need the other two. I recommend that each program be at least updated and run on a weekly basis.
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  • Mimi98
    I am just a private computer technician, meaning individuals hire me to come and fix whatever issues they may have, so I'm not working in a corporate environment. I do come across a lot of spyware; some systems so badly infected that I have no choice but to reformat the client's harddrive and start over. In the cases where it is not that bad, I use several spyware programs, because like you said, one just doesn't do it all. I had not heard of using them in a particular order, so that concept is new and interesting to me. I'd like to know if it helps. I usually start with Lavasoft's AdAware program. Not for any real reason, except habit. I then use Spybot Search and Destroy. This digs up more trash in the system. If I'm still having problems I will then go to HijackThis. Two other programs that I know I've used, but don't remember what the outcome was are FindnFix and SpyHunter. I think (but am not sure) SpyHunter will scan, but you have to pay to get any fixes. The others I use do it all as freeware. CWShredder is also very good for what it finds and effectively eliminates. The student who developed that program has stopped doing updates to it, however, and that too bad because it was one of the best. These are the tools that I have found to be effective and work for me since I have to use them on an extremely wide variety of situations. Hope this helps someone, and I'll be interested to see what anyone else uses and how.
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  • Bobkberg
    One item in the original post disturbs me somewhat - The necessity of reformatting the hard disk. I've dealt with a fair amount of spyware myself and never been forced to do that. There are two key tricks that I use. Easy: 1) Reboot the system, and go into safe mode WITHOUT networking support, and log in as administrator. This will often enable you to get rid of spyware that can't be killed any other way. Harder: 2) I have a separate system where I've cut a hole in the top of the case, and mounted a ground plane on top of the computer case, which is grounded back inside the box. The booting hard disk and CD-ROM are both placed on the primary IDE controller, and the secondary IDE drive cables and power cords come out of the box through the hole. This enables me to remove the customer's hard disk (or just run the IDE and power cables up into their computer), and boot from my own system - not theirs - mount the disks and do spyware, virus, defrag, clone for backup or anything else I want/need to do. This has the downside of requiring taking the computer (or the hard drive) into the shop, but has enabled me to clean up many things. Additionally, I can buy the license for good cleanup software (of whatever kind)and leave it on the "cleanup" machine, since it never actually gets installed on the customer's drive. Bob
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  • Jimbolaiya
    You may have already received this info from someone else, but a combo that works for me most of the time is this: 1. Run Spybot, quarantine and delete found files 2. Restart the PC 3. Run AdAware and delete the found files. 4. Restart. 5. When necessary, run HiJackThis, copy the findings to their website and it will spit out a report for you that marks registry entries / apps that are suspect. 6. I have also heard good things about Giant Antispy - use it in safe mode and it supposedly does a pretty thorough scan of the system.
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  • Habiru
    Hi, I usually handle it this way since most of my work is removing malware. Boot from Bart PE and scan PC with NOD32 to make sure its virus/trojan clean. --> Boot into safe mode. Disable system restore. Plug in usb key or load from cd rom, Pest Patrol scan/delete. Pest Patrol removes registry entries so its run first. Run in reverse order to see what I mean. Pest Patrol has a very mature and large database and since it has been around for quite some time, I trust it over all other tools I've used including Webroot, Aluria, Ad Aware, Spybot Search and Destroy(vg) etc. Second boot into Windows, install counterspy, scan/delete. Sell client a license and leave it installed for the tools. Third, reboot and run Hijack this to see if I have anything else hiding and if so, remove it manually. This third step does not have to be taken very often. Sometimes CWS shredder is required since many tools don't remove the latest distributions properly. I'm really banking on Counterspy/Giant since the product seems to be quite capable but will continue with this method until I have more computers to test.
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  • Fayaz78
    According to me AdAware is the best option i had spy problem a week ago and i tried to remove it with Spybot, I scanned system three times but Spybot was not able to detect anything. Then i tried AdAware its really the best option in the first attempt it has found around 200 Critical object were found, i removed that and updated antivirus and again scanned with antivirus, my issue was solved. I suggest insted of using several tool we must only use AdAware and then update latest virus defination and its done.
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  • Animagus
    I too have been looking into the SpyWare challenge for a while now and use a combination of tools. I have two home systems that I use for work from home and I have slightly differnet tools on each of them. On both of them I use AdAware SE which finds quite a lot and works reasonably well. I then use SpyBot Search & Destroy on system 1 and Webroot Spy Sweeper on system 2. I also use Registry Mechanic on both systems as a further registry check. I use one further tool on system 1 which I do not currently run on system 2. That is Prevx (www.prevx.com) which is a "FREE" for home use Intrusion Prevention System that keeps just about anything (so far) from changing any of my registry settings without me being aware. To date system 1 is prevailing better than system 2 which I am probably also going to upgrade to prevx in the very near future. Hope this helps out. Frank
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  • TimberwolfSW
    Robyn, The fact that IT security professionals use multiple tools to deal with spyware doesn't surprise me at all. Even after the industry has matured 10-12 years, professionals frequently use multiple anti-virus products to deal with virus infections since there is no such thing as a perfect tool. What works for one particular situation may not be as effective in another situation. Dealing with spyware is similar. What I recommend is this: Choose the two or three industry-leading products and use them together. I'd choose one product as the day-to-day real-time protection and have the other product or two to use in cases where the primary product hasn't prevented infection or wasn't in place prior to infection. I'd take the same approach for both virus and spyware protection. As most of the respondents have mentioned here, the top products seem to be Lavasoft's Ad-Aware and Spybot Search&Destroy.
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  • Toraknor
    Combination of Spybot Search and Destroy and rebooting in Safe-mode should do the trick. Using the advance settings within Spybot Search and Destroy, you can have it run just like any virus protrotection program with updates and real time monitoring (teatimer). Run Firefox from Mozilla and all your spyware troubles will go away. Use IE for those pesky DHTML websites.
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  • InfoSafety
    In my experience, badly infected systems may not boot to a usable state. In such cases, boot into safe mode and run msconfig to keep suspect programs from loading at startup. Although Win2K does not come with msconfig, you can use it from Win98 or XP. After rebooting, clean out the internet clutter and Windows temp files. Webroot Window Washer is an excellent tool for this. Reboot and run SpySweeper, and make a note of any files it is unable to delete/quarantine. Reboot into safe mode and delete the above noted files. If necessary, repeat the last two steps until SpySweeper reports complete success. To keep your systems free of spyware, schedule SpySweeper to run weekly. If possible, use Firefox instead of Internet Explorer, and don't download unknown programs off the internet. Craig Herberg
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  • Glennp7777
    I've been using SpyBotSD and LavaSoft Ad-Aware. I had not noticed any particular order that I needed to run either, but generally use both in conjunction with one-another.
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