There's adware on my mom's computer, help me get rid of it!
January 13, 2006 5:30 PM   Subscribe

There's adware on my mom's computer, help me get rid of it!

So I'm at my parent's place for the weekend, and I pop online to check email and putz around before going out. I notice that some words are highlighted (they look like links but are a slightly different color, and when I hover on them, an ad pops up like this one. (My mouse is hovering on the word "problem", it just didn't see it in the screen capture and I'm too lazy to go back and do it again :)

This shows up on every site I visit. When I google "cm sponsored link", I don't come up with any helpful results. Does anyone know what this is, and how can I get it off my mom's computer?
posted by AlisonM to Computers & Internet (13 answers total)
Try these :

Microsoft Anti-Spyware (Beta) - yeah yeah snark snark it's M$, but it seems pretty sturdy to me.

Spybot : Search & Destroy - works superbly, so long as you update regularly. Not quite as novice-friendly as the MS option above, but if you're relatively computer-literate it shouldn't be a problem.
posted by coach_mcguirk at 5:41 PM on January 13, 2006

Would Ad-Aware kill it?
posted by goatdog at 5:41 PM on January 13, 2006

You can try some kind of adware removal software like "Ad-Aware".

There's a bunch of other adware removal programs out there too.
posted by bingwah at 5:42 PM on January 13, 2006

Response by poster: Yep, I am currently downloading Spybot and will grab Adaware as soon as its done, but since I'm on dialup here at mom's (KILL ME, PLEASE), it's taking FOR-EV-ER. Estimated time left, 8 thousand years. I thought there might be a way to go in and kill the offending program.
posted by AlisonM at 5:47 PM on January 13, 2006

either grab spybot S&D or adaware, install it, run it. Both programs will remove a lot of junk and will also let you know about stuff you can't get rid of (usually).

You might also want to run housecall, a free online virus scanner (you'll need to use IE for it though since it uses an ActiveX control to run) which may detect and/or remove the spyware that is causing this.

Or you could run HijackThis to see what is on the hard drive and post the results to a forum like tom coyote
posted by squeak at 5:50 PM on January 13, 2006

Response by poster: Also, I think its hilarious that this thread is generating tons of the little ads from this program about how to get rid of ad- and spyware.
posted by AlisonM at 5:53 PM on January 13, 2006

HiJackThis is the best. Small, so it's easy to download and kills stuff that both Spybot and AdAware miss. Of course, it also allows you to completely make a mess of everything, so you have to know what you're doing.
posted by fred_ashmore at 5:56 PM on January 13, 2006

Related: How to Fix Mom's Computer. Full-service instructions.
posted by Firas at 6:44 PM on January 13, 2006

I had very good luck with SpywareInfo Forum. Also, switch to Firefox.
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 6:57 PM on January 13, 2006

Definitely switch to firefox and when you do, install the add on that prevents java script. Consider activating 'data execution prevention' in windows xp if you have service pack 2.

Or you can just buy a program called spyware doctor, which often works better than microsoft antispyware (a good back up option) and adaware combined.
posted by merlin17 at 7:30 PM on January 13, 2006

hitman pro will download and run nearly every popular free/shareware virus/spyware in a scripted way so you just have to run it and it will take care of everything.
posted by psychobum at 1:17 AM on January 14, 2006

Hitman Pro is pretty good but over dial-up you're going to be waiting forever. First thing it does is download and install updates for everything, which is a major pain.

You might try opening up the plug-in manager in IE (tools --> manage add-ons) and telling it to disable any browser helpers that you don't recognize (ie, if it isn't an Acrobat plug in, kill it). Don't ask me why there is a "disable plugin" option but no "delete this bastard" option. Disable will turn it off, and also give you the name of the file, which you can then ferret out by doing a search for that file (remember to tell it to search all folders, including hidden and system files).
posted by caution live frogs at 8:59 AM on January 14, 2006

Here is everything you need:
* AIMFix - Get rid of AIM viruses and trojans for free.
* Adaware
* Bazooka Adware and Spyware Scanner - Gets rid of trojans and spyware
* Ewido Anti-Malware - Awesome program. You can read a review of it here.
* Spybot Search & Destroy
* Spyware Blaster
* Microsoft Antispyware - Need to have a valid windows copy to use (as in not pirated).
posted by deeman at 10:52 AM on January 14, 2006

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