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Scareware Removal Tools

By Window Secrets

I'll start with my oft-repeated mantra — multiple tools and multiple scans. It's been years since I could trust a single tool to get rid of everything.

My current first-pass tool is Malwarebytes Anti-Malware (commonly called MBAM), available as a free download at the Malwarebytes
site. However, MBAM is not comprehensive in its malware removal — I have subsequently run tools that found additional problems.

Malware often damages a machine to the point that it won't boot right or allow authentic anti-malware software to install. In those cases, I've had good success with installing Malwarebytes in Windows' Safe Mode with Networking. All versions of Windows offer that mode via the following steps:

  Step 1. Reboot your PC and press the F8 key repeatedly as the PC starts to reboot.

   Step 2. When the boot menu appears, select Windows Advanced Options and press Enter.

   Step 3. In the Boot menu, select the Safe Mode with Networking option.

Installing Malwarebytes in Safe Mode usually gets the PC clean enough that I can then reboot in normal mode, install any additional AV software that's needed, and get security updates.

One of my favorite second-scan choices is Microsoft's free OneCare safety scanner at the Windows Live OneCare

In my experience, a minimally healthy system can run this scan correctly. However, if Windows is so hosed that the Microsoft Installer and Microsoft Update services aren't functioning, you may have difficulty getting through the scanner's installation.

Malwarebytes and OneCare safety scanner both seem good at getting rid of some rootkits which may be part of the rogue anti-malware package. Running both, I'm usually able to eliminate most malware. (If you can't get through to any of the anti-malware sites mentioned, it's a good bet that a rogue application is on your PC and blocking access. In that case, try downloading fixes to a thumb drive on another PC.)

From here, you can use other favorite tools to perform further scans.  

If you are still having difficulty removing a fake anti-malware app, check the following:

·         Bharath's Security Blog malware expert Bharath Narayan's blog has a thorough list of known rogues. The site includes removal instructions and links to free programs. http://bharath-m-narayan.blogspot.com/

·         BleepingComputer.com: This site has virus, spyware, and malware removal guides for the most-prevalent rogue programs.

·         Sunbelt Software: This company's blog site, Rogue Antispyware, is easy to search. In most cases, Sunbelt recommends its own VIPRE antivirus product for removing rogue software, but it also defers to Malwarebytes. You can download a free trial version of VIPRE at Sunbelt's product page.

That's important, because Microsoft Update is one of my criteria for determining that malware is gone. Before I leave a cleaned machine, I make sure that Microsoft Update is working and up to date. I also check that all appropriate security tools are installed (free helps a lot here) and that third-party software is patched by using tools on Secunia's security site.




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