Spyware removal – first results

Spyware – or malware – is a constant irritation in any day’s work, and most people find they need to employ some kind of removal/protection program. Here I report on my experiences with two such protection systems, one of which I’ve used over the years, the other which I tested because I wanted some sot of realtime protection, that (hopefully) would not need to wait for a more thorough scan, which can be a very labour-intensive business.
This work was on a new HP Pavilion laptop, running Windows 8, with Classic Start 8 providing a more user-friendly, Win7-type UI. Norton Internet Security was pre-installed and performed a useful facility to declare whether downloaded files were safe.

Norton Internet Security Screenshot

Norton Internet Security Screenshot (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Spyware Terminator

I installed the free version of this program because it promised realtime removal of threats. A quick scan after installation reported no threats. An immediate scan by Spyhunter revealed 26 threats.
Possibly the paid-for version might have been more efficient, but since the free performance was so poor, I did not pay for it.
Tuneup Utilities reported that Spysare Terminator could not be disabled, so I uninstalled it using Revo Uninstaller.

Spyhunter

I have been using this product for some time on a previous laptop, and have been very impressed by its efficiency.
Spyhunter-threats
During the latest scan, it displayed he following alert:
Spyhunter-disk alertThis is the first time I have seen this message and needless to say I am not using a RAID or SCSI drive which was a bit alarming. I shall see what further messages I receive of a similar character and report further later.
Perhaps because it is so throughout, I found the scan took a very long time. Also, since it requires Google Chrome not to be running – presumably because that is the source of so many infections (!) – I couldn’t really do any sweb browsing until it had finished.
It performs a scan on power-up by default but I preferred to do it before powering down at night, but I could find no option for making this the default.
Though it displays a scrolling list of all threats discovered, it does not appear to produce a logfile, which would be useful, for instance, for recording how many threats the system received over a period.
The following listing of threats was obtained by capturing the text of each screen using the very handy Abbyy Screenshot Reader text capture utility. It will be noted that none of the threats are really serious. But they are an invasion of privacy and no doubt put an unnecessary load on system resources.
Adtech (2 infections)
Spyware cookie. Tracks your personal information and browsing habits, as you surf the web. Information can be retrieved by the parent company. Even after initial removal, SpyHunter may find recurring cookies left behind due to normal browser activity. We recommend that you remove these each time you run SpyHunter to maintain privacy.
Atlas DMT (2 infections)
Spyware cookie. Tracks your personal information and browsing habits as you surf the web. Information can be retrieved by the parent company. Even after initial removal, SpyHunter may find recurring cookies left behind due to normal browser activity. We recommend that you remove these each time you run SpyHunter to maintain privacy.
CasaleMedia (3 infections)
Casale Media uses a commercial marketing cookie that generally tracks consumer browsing habits on affiliate and publisher websites. This information can be retrieved by the parent company to determine the rate of sales, the efficiency of their ads, and the best marketing techniques for their advertisers. While this is not a serious security threat, users concerned about the collection of marketing data from their PCs when browsing the Internet have the option of using SpyHunter to remove this object if they wish.
Media (12 infections)
Tracking cookies, like regular cookies, are small files that get deposited onto your computer’s hard drive as you browse the Internet. Unlike harmless cookies that normally let you use certain websites more easily, tracking cookies usually collect and report information about what websites you visit and what you do at those websites. If you fill out forms online with your real name and contact information, click on banners and then purchase an item, or fill out sweepstakes or contests forms, then it’s possible that major online advertisers know your name and have associated it with your IP address and other information.
Mediaplex (3 infections)
Spyware cookie. Tracks your personal information and browsing habits, as you surf the web. Information can be retrieved by the parent company. Even after initial removal, SpyHunter may find recurring cookies left behind due to normal browser activity. We recommend that you remove these each time you run SpyHunter to maintain privacy.
Statcounter (1 infections)
Spyware cookie. Tracks your personal information and browsing habits as you surf the web. Information can be retrieved by the parent company. Even after initial removal, SpyHunter may find recurring cookies left behind due to normal browser activity. We recommend that you remove these each time you run SpyHunter to maintain privacy.
xiti.com (2 infections)
Spyware cookie. Tracks your personal information and browsing habits as you surf the web. Informatl recurring cookies left behind due to normal browser activity. We recommend that you remove these.

  • I shall report on other protection systems in due course, starting with Malwarebytes anti-malware.
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