Spam filters may not filter xmas mails which offer something for free, click once and you’ll get your browser search toolbar & hijacker without any further notice. On Linux, most of that crap can be avoided (except the browser specific stuff which may still be hijacked). On Windows, this is truly hell.
Today I’ve learned that “Plus HD 2.x” isn’t really a helping tool to always download youtube videos in full hd, but some adware crap (“Crossrider”, Websearch using url24.info as tracking provider, someone said Redtube?) which injects your system with url tracking and redirects. Same goes for toolbars such as Ask, Babylon, etc mostly shipping with so-called “free software downloads”. Most prominent examples – Java, Avira Antivir or Daemon Tools.
While toolbars aren’t essentially that bad, tracking the user’s surfing behaviour imho is. My swiss army knives in this direction have been for now
- Spybot Search & Destroy (cleans nearly everything, but is a bit slow)
- Malwarebytes Anti-Malware (cleans what Spybot doesn’t detect)
- CCleaner (for the generic cleaning of tracking cookies, temporary files, etc)
- HiJackThis (for advanced users – there is no indication of good/evil, removal of registry keys for browser addons, startup entries, etc)
For heavy problems with rootkits and other malware surviving such cleanup orgies & reboots, I tend to use
That entire list can be extended with the following tools which have proven themselves very useful to clean the last chrome addon entry file and entirely removing that malware crap.
Essential tip for the future – do not install everything which pretends to be free, and keep your antivirus software signatures uptodate whilst running spybot and/or anti-malware every month.