Table of Contents
Use an anti-virus and anti-malware program to remove the
Dialers, Trojans, Viruses, and Worms Oh My!
If you use a computer, read the newspaper, or watch the news,
you will know about computer viruses or other malware. These are those
malicious programs that once they infect your machine will start causing
havoc on your
computer. What many people do not know
is that there are many different types of infections that are categorized
in the general category of Malware.
Malware - Malware is programming or files that are developed
for the purpose of doing harm. Thus, malware includes computer viruses, worms,
Trojan horses, spyware, hijackers, and certain type of adware.
This article will focus on those malware that are considered
viruses, trojans, worms, and viruses, though this information can be used
to remove the other types of malware as well. We will not go into specific
details about any one particular infection, but
how these infections can be removed. For the most part these instructions
should allow you to remove a good deal of infections, but there are some
that need special steps to be removed and these won't be covered under this
Before we continue it is important to understand
the generic malware terms that you will be reading about.
Adware - A program that generates pop-ups on your computer
or displays advertisements. It is important to note that not all adware programs
are necessarily considered malware. There are many legitimate programs that
are given for free that display ads in their programs in order to generate
revenue. As long as this information is provided up front then they are generally
not considered malware.
Backdoor - A program that allows a remote user to execute
commands and tasks on your computer without your permission. These types of
programs are typically used to launch attacks on other computers, distribute
copyrighted software or media, or hack other computers.
Dialler - A program that typically dials a premium rate
number that has per minute charges over and above the typical call charge.
These calls are with the intent of gaining access to pornographic material.
Hijackers - A program that attempts to hijack certain Internet
functions like redirecting your start page to the hijacker's own start page,
redirecting search queries to a undesired search engine, or replace search
results from popular search engines with their own information.
Spyware - A program that monitors your activity or information
on your computer and sends that information to a remote computer without your
Trojan - A program that has been designed to appear innocent
but has been intentionally designed to cause some malicious activity or to
provide a backdoor to your system.
Virus - A program that when run, has the ability to self-replicate
by infecting other programs and files on your computer. These programs can
have many effects ranging from wiping your hard drive, displaying a joke in
a small box, or doing nothing at all except to replicate itself. These types
of infections tend to be localized to your computer and not have the ability
to spread to another computer on their own. The word virus has incorrectly
become a general term that encompasses trojans, worms, and viruses.
Worm - A program that when run, has the ability to spread
to other computers on its own using either mass-mailing techniques to email
addresses found on your computer or by using the Internet to infect a remote
computer using known security holes.
How these infections start
Just like any program, in order for the program to work, it
must be started. Malware programs are no different in this respect and must
be started in some fashion in order to do what they were designed to do.
For the most part these infections run by creating a configuration entry
in the Windows
Registry in order to make these programs start when your computer
Unfortunately, though, in the Windows operating system there
are many different ways to make a program start which can make it difficult
for the average computer user to find manually. Luckily for us, though, there
are programs that allow us to cut through this confusion and
programs that are automatically starting when windows boots. The program
we recommend for this, because its free and detailed, is Autoruns from
When you run this program it will list all the various programs that start
when your computer is booted into Windows. For the most part, the majority
of these programs are safe and should be left alone
what you are doing or know you do not need them to run at startup.
At this point, you should download Autoruns and
try it out. Just run the Autoruns.exe and look at all the
programs that start automatically. Don't uncheck or delete anything at this
point. Just examine
the information to see an overview of the amount of programs that are starting
automatically. When you feel comfortable with what you are seeing, move on
to the next section.
Use an anti-virus and anti-malware program to
remove the infections
Make sure you are using an anti-virus program and that the anti-virus program
is updated to use the latest definitions. If you do not currently have an anti-virus
installed, you can select one from the following list and use it to scan and
clean your computer. The list below includes both free and commercial anti-virus
programs, but even the commercial ones typically have a trial period in which
you can scan and clean your computer before you have to pay for it.
It is also advised that you install and scan your computer with MalwareBytes'
Anti-Malware and SUPERAntiSpyware. Both of these are excellent programs and
have a good track record at finding newer infections that the more traditional
anti-virus programs miss. Guides on how to install and use these programs can
be found below.
to use Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware to scan and remove malware from your computer
to use SUPERAntiSpyware to scan and remove malware from your computer
After performing these instructions if you still are infected, you can use
the instructions below to manually remove the infection.
How to remove these infections manually
We have finally arrived at the section you came here for. You
are most likely reading this tutorial because you are infected with some
sort of malware and want to remove it. With this knowledge that you are infected,
it is also assumed that you examined the programs running on your computer
and found one that does not look right. You did further research by checking
that program against our Startup Database or
by searching in Google and have learned that it is an infection and you now
want to remove
If you have identified the particular program that is part of the malware,
and you want to remove it, please follow these steps.
Download and extract the Autoruns
program by Sysinternals to C:\Autoruns
Reboot into Safe
Mode so that the malware is not started when you are doing
these steps. Many malware monitor the keys that allow them to start and
if they notice they have been removed, will automatically replace that
startup key. For this reason booting into safe mode allows us to get
past that defense in most cases.
Navigate to the C:\Autoruns folder you created in Step
1 and double-click on autoruns.exe.
When the program starts, click on the Options menu and
enable the following options by clicking on them. This will place a checkmark
to each of these options.
Include empty locations
Verify Code Signatures
Hide Signed Microsoft Entries
Then press the F5 key on your keyboard to refresh the
startups list using these new settings.
The program shows information about your startup entries in 8 different
tabs. For the most part, the filename you are looking for will be found under
the Logon or the Services tabs, but you
should check all the other tabs to make sure they are not loading elsewhere
as well. Click on each tab and look through the list for the filename that
you want to remove. The filename will
There may be more than one entry associated with the same file as it is common
to create multiple startup entries. It is important
to note that many malware programs disguise themselves by using
filenames as valid
Microsoft files. it is therefore important to know exactly which file, and
the folder they are in, that you want to remove. You can
check our Startup
Database for that information
or ask for help in our computer help forums.
Once you find the entry that is associated with the malware, you want to
delete that entry so it will not start again on the next reboot. To do that
right click on the entry and select delete. This startup
entry will now be removed from the Registry.
Now that we made it so it will not start on boot up, you should delete
the file using My Computer or Windows Explorer. If you can not see the file,
it may be hidden. To allow you to see hidden files you can follow the
steps for your operating system found in this tutorial:
How to see hidden files in Windows
When you are finished removing the malware entries from the Registry and
deleting the files, reboot into normal mode as you will now be clean from
How to protect yourself in the
In order to protect yourself from this happening again it is important that
take proper care and precautions when using your computer. Make sure you have
updated antivirus and spyware removal software running, all the latest updates
to your operating system, a firewall, and only open attachments or click on
pop-ups that you know are safe. These precautions can be a tutorial unto itself,
and luckily, we have one created already:
and easy ways to keep your computer safe and secure on the Internet
Please read this tutorial and follow the steps listed in order to be safe
on the Internet. Other tutorials that are important to read in order to protect
your computer are listed below.
Spyware, Browser Hijackers, and Dialers
and Using a Firewall
Connecting a Computer to the Internet
SpywareBlaster to protect your computer from Spyware, Hijackers, and Malware
IE-Spyad to enhance your privacy and Security
Now that you know how to remove a generic malware from your
computer, it should help you stay relatively clean from infection. Unfortunately
there are a lot of malware that makes it very difficult to remove and these
steps will not help you with those particular infections. In situations like
that where you need extra help, do not hesitate to ask for help in our computer help forums.