Well I had a hell of a wake up call this weekend. A nasty little ‘Fake Threat’ had leeched into my system somehow. One of the horrid little blighters that pops up a fake warning message when you navigate to *any* directory on your machine. It alerts you to a none existant ‘problem’ and then tries to take you to a phising site. The warning was:
“Attention [name]! Possible spyware found on your system. blah blah … go here to download anti-spyware.”
The most shocking thing about it is that I’m currently running no less than two anti-spyware programs, Microsoft’s own Window Defender and paid for McCafee Subscription!! I performed a complete system scan using both tools. Neither of them found any problems … that is truly shocking. So I proceeded to look into what are regarded as the best anti-spyware applications at the moment. Two names kept cropping up. PCTools Spyware Doctor and CounterSpyv2, I downloaded Spyware Doctor first and kicked off a system scan (very fast scan) to my absolute horror it turned up 15 different threats and over 40 infections. So why the hell did McCafee / Windows Defender fail to find a single problem??? I find performance like that to be so woefully under par that they cease to be fit for purpose (whilst also pinching a lot of system resources to boot). I installed McCafee the day I installed XP over 4 years ago and its been kept up to date ever since, same with Window Defender. Anyway, Spyware Doctor then told me that in order to remove these threats I’d have to buy it, so I uninstalled it and was magically taken to their website and offered a free version not advertised on their web site … cheeky to say the least.
So, I moved on and downloaded AdAware from Lavasoft (the free version) and that took such an obscene amount of time to get anywhere I ended cancelling the scan and uninstalling it.
Next up came CounterSpy which actually offeres a fully functional 15 day trial version. It has a nice interface and worked well, it scanned found all the threats that Spyware Doctor had found and then allowed me to remove them. After the removal process I rebooted complete with cheesy grin thinking ‘wooo, problem solved …’ … WRONG! The spyware in question that had kicked off this whole shebang was still alive and kicking. Dumbfounded I started looking for yet another anti-spyware product to try. I started by having another Google for the fake warning threat. This time I looked a bit deeper through the search results and found a chap having the same problem that had solved it by using … wait for it … SUPERAntiSpyware … what a name!!! And fully justified I might add …
I installed SUPERAntiSpyware and kicked off a scan … strangely it listed all the same threats that CounterSpy and Spyware Doctor had found, I thought to myself ‘hang on, counter spy just told me that it had removed all of these …’ either way, it scanned quickly, found them all and removed them. I rebooted and sure enough, my problem was solved.
So to round up:
McCafee = Overpriced crap that I will not continue subscribing too
Spyware Doctor = might have found them but wants me to cough up the cash before I can even know it actually works = crap
CounterSpy vs = not too bad, found them but seems to have failed to actually remove them
AdAware = no comment, painfully slow scanning process that I didn’t allow to complete
SUPERAntiSpyware = thumbs up from here, and its free … can’t get better than that.
Go forth and AntiSpy !!!