Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Which Programs Should I Run To Scan A Computer For Malicious Software?

via gHacks technology news by Martin on 9/15/08

The amount of security applications for the end user has reached a point where the choice is adding to the insecurity and confusion of the user. So called experts all have their set of tools that they recommend for certain situations but it can happen that you get a set of totally different applications for the same task when asking two advanced users.

To give an example. Should a user run Ad-Aware, Spybot Search And Destroy, Spyware Terminator or one of the other dozen or so anti-spyware applications that can be used freely for personal non-commercial use.

To much choice can be confusing and this article tries to narrow down the list to security applications that are recommended most of the time. Some users will disagree with the choices and they have every right to do so. You can rest assured on the other hand that the selection of tools should be sufficient to scan a computer system thoroughly


Spyware usually refers to malicious software that tries to spy on the user or serve advertisement to him. This can be done with tracking cookies, changing the user's homepage or showing popups from time to time.

spyware terminator

  • Spybot Search And Destroy - Spybot Search and Destroy is updated regularly and does not confuse the user with different versions like Ad-Aware does with Ad-Aware Free, Plus and Pro.
  • Spyware Terminator - A tool that has been downloaded more than 17 million times should do a good job. Spyware Terminator is fast and efficient.


Anti-virus applications create probably the most controversy. There is so much choice of free and commercial applications that makes it nearly impossible to make a decision. The applications protect the computer in realtime and can scan the computer thoroughly.

  • AVG Anti-Virus - A classic anti-virus software that provides protection against viruses, rootkits and spyware.
  • Free AV - Antivir protects the computer against viruses, rootkits, dialers and phising.


Rootkits have been gaining popularity in the last years and one could say that Sony did not have a small part in raising the public's perception of rootkits with their music CDs that contained a rootkit in order to prevent customers from copying the music.

rootkit unhooker

  • Rootkit Unhooker - a portable rootkit scanner with a size of under 100 Kilobyte.
  • Gmer - is another tool to scan the computer for rootkits.


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