|Lavasoft Adware Caught the Culprit!|
I picked up a pesky Malware infection that almost defeated me this week.
My Chrome Browser was hijacked and every 100th stroke or so an ad would pop up. Even though some of the ads were interesting (for example, I found the new Disney Princess web site quite glittery), I had to eliminate this.
Why? Because if a piece of Malware, which I probably picked up downloading some file somewhere can hijack my browser, it can also possibly record my keystrokes and send them to some cyber-criminal who is looking for credit card or password information off my bank accounts.
Although all viruses are malware, malware (evil software) is much more. It can be a spybot, it can be a Trojan horse that lies dormant in your system, or it can be adware -- turning your system into an involuntary advertising platform for a sleazy company making money off your pageviews.
My plan of attack in removing the spyware was to download the following free programs and search for it. I usually use Microsoft Defender for real-time protection (you must use ONLY ONE real time protection on your computer - do not use two of them at the same time), which is a very good free program, but it did not work in this case.
The first thing I did was, of course, clean out all my cookies and clean my registry using both Wise and CC Cleaner's free programs. This did not fix the problem. Note: you should be doing this anyway at least once a month -- pick one and use it.
I then tried all these free Malware removal programs which have worked in the past in finding these:
Malwarebytes (which I ran in safe mode to use their root kit feature, which I highly recommend you not do unless you know what I am talking about)
Trend Micro Housecall
and five additional free programs. Although they were good at finding all sorts of junk-- NOTHING WORKED! I must have spent 10 hours trying to find the malware.
My browser remained hijacked.
Then I tried an old favorite -- Lavasoft Adware, and it found the culprit. It was some obnoxious program called Adware Swift Browse which managed to hide itself in a place that is not usually checked for hidden spyware -- a Windows driver.
Here is Lavasoft Ad Aware. If you get an infection in your browser with odd pages and ads showing up that your popup filter cannot handle, consider using it. It worked for me and saved me from ruining my weekend trying to find an infection.
Oh, if you are asking, yes I have done this sort of work professionally, and yes, I know I use too much jargon.
Here is a link to other hot computing tips: