Parasites on your System


 Malware Alert !!!

The number 1 reason for computers being slow. It is also variously referred to as Spyware (some of it is), Crapware, Garbage, Parasites and several other names that should not be used in public areas or in front of young children.

Many people confuse the term Parasite with Virus but that is simply not the case.  In the newsgroups, when we refer to a Parasite, we are actually referring to many things.  They could be simple trackers, URL hijackers, Trojans, key loggers or any number of other items that are not included as a true Virus.

These things always run in the background unless they want to open a popup window (yes, it could be porn) or do something else to grab your attention.  The end result is a general slowdown of your system and in some cases loss of functions.

There are several things you can do to help yourself in this situation.

  1. The first step is to clean your system of any malware that is currently running on it.

    1. Download and run a decent removal tool.  There are some good utilities that do a great job of cleaning your system.  The two better known are Ad-Aware 6 and Spybot Search and Destroy.  Both are free applications.
      Please see the Notes at the bottom of the page.

    2. Run the tool of your choice to clean the system but remember this, files that are "in use" can not be deleted.  What generally happens is, the cleanup tool will mark those files for removal the next time you start Windows.  Therefore I have found it prudent to restart Windows after cleaning the system.  I have also found that the process may have to be repeated on a heavily infected system.

    3. Check your startup axis against a good startup list to see whether or not something is required and look to see if the items can be removed through Add/Remove Programs.  Take note of the fact that when you find something malicious in Add/Remove, the removal is usually a total farce.  All they often do is remove the entry from the list and don't actually uninstall all of the offending files.


  2. The next step is to prevent re-infestation.  Again there are several methods to employ.  You can use any or all of them.

    1. Download a tool which will monitor for known items attempting to install themselves.  Here your choice should probably be Spyware Blaster.  It has proven to be quite effective. There is a direct download button below.

    2. Download or create a HOSTS file.  A HOSTS file contains a list of pages that should remain blocked and blocks them from your system.  Like any other protective device, it is only going to be effective if it is kept updated.  I use and endorse the one created by Mike Burgess MS-MVP available from http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/hosts.htm

 

 Direct Downloads

 
   AdAware 6
   
   Spybot S&D
   
   Spyware Blaster

 

  Notes:
  • For novice users, I must recommend AdAware 6.  Although I like and use Spybot (I use them both), it tends to find many registry entries that an inexperienced user does not know how to handle and the end result can be a catastrophe.
  • Many people are still using an older version of AdAware and it is not finding many items.  Definition files for those versions have not been available since September 2002 and when you check for updates it will show as none available.  Make sure that you are using the latest build of version 6.
  • Regardless of the program you choose to use, it must be kept updated.  Even a fresh download may contain an older definition file so check for updates on the first use as well

 

  Also See;

This page by Mike Burgess [MS-MVP]
http://mvps.org/winhelp2002/unwanted.htm

and this one by Jim Eshelman [MS-MVP]
http://aumha.org/win5/a/parasite.htm

and.doxdesk.com parasite lists and instructions
http://doxdesk.com/parasite/

There are many other good links on this topic and I will add them as time permits