Malware is an amorphous beast, an ever-changing black cloud of bits that is impossible to completely destroy. Our best bet is to try and stay ahead of the stink by running scans and monitoring tools that keep our system clean. We have selected our current favorite anti-spyware utilities and recommend you download one of them if you are not currently running other spyware prevention software. Anti-viruses will not always catch spyware, though the line between classifying something spyware or a virus is starting to gray. They-re one in the same as far as we’re concerned, but running just an antivirus solution is not enough to protect you from spyware attacks. The following are our top anti-malware picks to protect your computer from spyware infestation.
Update Windows by visiting Microsoft Update.
MalwareBytes is our first pick for an anti-spyware program. It’s free, fast, and easy to use. They have a commercial version that does real-time protection. The free version does post-infection cleaning, but does it very well.
Super Antispyware is another good anti-spyware choice. It tends to remove a lot of things, but with all of these programs, some catch more than others and they catch different things, sometimes. Super Antispyware does provide real-time protection which is a benefit. It’s easier to stop an infection than to remove one.
The Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool – say that ten times real fast. This tool is provided free from Microsoft and is a post-infection utility than cleans your computer after is has been infected. It doesn’t look for everything, only the well-known bad guys like the most recent Conficker worm. The good news is, you probably already have it installed if you’ve been updating Windows each month. To see, go to Start>Run (or search box) and type mrt and hit enter. You should see either the current month at the top of the removal tool, or the previous month. The tool is updated monthly and pushed through along with the other updates.
Bonus recommendation:While we’re talking about Microsoft, Vista and Windows 7 have Windows Defender installed and running. Just make sure it is running. It is a competent spyware utility but doesn’t seem to catch everything. It wins our Better-Than-Nothing Award of the month.