A firewall and disabling the messenger service..
If you don't wish to follow all of the advice immediately, just want to
get rid of your current dilemma, then you are welcome to scroll down to
the section titled "SPYWARE/ADWARE/POPUPS", where your problem as
stated should be resolved by the applications and suggestions found in
that section. If this helps solve your problem then I again HIGHLY
suggest you follow the rest of the advice below (matter of fact, I
suggest it either way.)
Suggestions on what you can do to secure/clean your PC. I'm going to try
and be general, I will assume a "Windows" operating system is what is
being secured here.
There are annoyances out there you can get without
trying. Your normal web surfing, maybe a wrong click on a web page, maybe
just a momentary lack of judgment by installing some software packages
without doing the research.. And all of a sudden your screen starts filling
up with advertisements or your Internet seems much slower or your home page
won't stay what you set it and goes someplace unfamiliar to you. This is
spyware. There are a whole SLEW of software packages out there to get rid
of this crud and help prevent reinfection. Some of the products already
mentioned might even have branched out into this arena. However, there are
a few applications that seem to be the best at what they do, which is
eradicating and immunizing your system from this crap. Strangely, the best
products I have found in this category ARE generally free. That is a trend
I like. I make donations to some of them, they deserve it!
Two side-notes: Never think one of these can do the whole job.
Try the first 5 before coming back and saying "That did not work!"
Also, you can always visit:
For more updated information.
Spybot Search and Destroy (Free!)
Lavasoft AdAware (Free and up)
Hijack This! (Free)
( Tutorial: http://www.spywareinfo.com/~merijn/htlogtutorial.html )
Bazooka Adware and Spyware Scanner (Free!)
Browser Security Tests
The Cleaner (49.95 and up)
That will clean up your machine of the spyware, given that you download and
install several of them, update them regularly and scan with them when you
update. Some (like SpywareBlaster and SpyBot Search and Destroy) have
immunization features that will help you prevent your PC from being
infected. Use these features!
Unfortunately, although that will lessen your popups on the Internet/while
you are online, it won't eliminate them. I have looked at a lot of options,
seen a lot of them used in production with people who seem to attract popups
like a plague, and I only have one suggestion that end up serving double
duty (search engine and popup stopper in one):
The Google Toolbar (Free!)
Yeah - it adds a bar to your Internet Explorer - but its a useful one.