The following is a copy of some of the techniques I' ve used in the past when helping users with spyware and adware cleaning. It' s a 2 step process in that you must first clean your system thoroughly and then fortify your security settings to prevent reoccurrences in the future.
Personally, three solutions I like are Microsoft' s Antispyware (MSAS) beta, AdAware SE, and Spybot S&D. Of the 3 tools, I' ve found MSAS the most comprehensive if you use XP or 2000 workstations and I can' t wait until this moves to a production product.
There are also a number of other good tools as well, but I will share due to the wide range of threats, that none of the FREE tools can handle all threats well.
This advice is more applicable for a single workstation but I hope it' s helpful to our members here. A. CLEAN YOUR CURRENT SYSTEM
1. As a starting point, I recommend going to download.com and downloading SpyBot Search & Destroy 1.3
and AdAware SE http://www.download.com/
2. Install both of these and update each of them to latest definitions
3. Another possible solution is Microsoft' s AntiSpyware
tool, which is in beta currently at their site, which does an excellent job in cleaning some of the advanced spyware currently circulating. http://www.microsoft.com/athome/security/spyware/software/default.mspx
4. CWS Shredder is now owned and maintained by InterMute and can sometimes remove advanced cases of Cool World Search http://www.intermute.com/products/cwshredder.html
5. If problems still persist, the following forums can help with advanced cleaning needs: Advanced Sites for Difficult Spyware Removal http://forum.aumha.org/index.php http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/index.php http://www.spywaremanagement.org/index.php http://hijackthis.de/en B. PREVENT FUTURE ATTACKS
1. If you' re on XP, move to SP2 and you' ll have a much more secure version of IE (that offers pop-up blocking and spyware protection)
2. Strengthen your IE settings http://myitforum.techtarget.com/blog/hwaldron/archive/2004/12/29/1089.aspx
3. Avoidance -- Do not click on URLs in EMAILs and be careful on websites you may wish. A way I' ve promoted this to users is to " think before you click"
4. Additional complementary browsers can be used and they won' t conflict with IE. I like Opera and Firefox as add-on tools as they are a little less suseptible to spyware than IE. This link discusses how to install Firefox. http://forums.mozillazine.org/viewtopic.php?t=158083
5. Toolbars/IE Shells - I' m not a big fan of this as I like to use the " keep it simple" approach on IE. Google offers a good toolbar. Maxthon and Slimbrower are excellent IE shells I' ve experimented with that offer pop-up blocking. Below is a link for virus cleaning if any are discovered during the spware cleaning process: VIRUS REMOVAL - BEST PRACTICES TO CLEAN A DIFFICULT VIRUS http://forums.mcafeehelp.com/viewtopic.php?t=39621