There’s probably nothing more disturbing, for the average computer user, than getting suckered into installing a trojan virus. Trojans often look and talk the part of heroic savior, claiming to be able to help rid you of malicious software. But all along, it’s the trojan ‘antivirus’ program you’ve installed that is the baddie. Before you know it, you’re flooded with adware, false claims of further viruses found, and a system that is gradually grinding to a halt.
While the hacker gains control of your computer for a bot.net army – or worse, sets about spying on your online activity to aid fraud – you’re left all at sea as to what to do. If one seemingly innocuous looking piece of software has turned out to be a wolf-in-sheep’s clothing, how can you trust others? There is hope, though. The key is to make sure you know who is recommending software onto you. Don’t rely on pop-ups or fake websites. Do rely on trusted and authoritative download websites. Here are some of top trustworthy trojan removers, which will cleanse your system of intruders – without cleaning out your wallet too.
Probably the best place to start, if you’re looking towards vendors you can trust, is Microsoft. Although the tools they provide are rarely state-of-the-art – or guaranteed to work – they are from a scrupulously reliable source. And in this case, they are free. The Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool is readily downloadable from Microsoft’s support site. The tool installs quickly and without much fanfare, and then it sets to work – using its useful quiet mode.
Once it has picked up the offending trojan (or worm or other malicious virus software), it will ask to perform a full scan. This can take some time, but once it has a handle on the work required, Microsoft’s tool is reasonably efficient. Unfortunately, this being a generic piece of software, and one that many trojan writers are only too aware of, it can often fail to finish the job. If that’s the case for your trojan infection, it’s time to move onto one of the more sophisticated packages, developed by specialists in the trojan field.
EMCO’s offering is a relatively broad tool for removing all sorts of malicious software – from worms to viruses, adware to spyware. But it does have a good reputation for handling trojan viruses too. It combines a super-slick scan engine with a vast ‘signature’ database to quickly zero in on any programs known to be trojan horses. Typically, scanning your system takes seconds, rather than minutes, as it looks for the tell-tale signs of those bits of software that are not all they’re cracked up to be.
Removal of detected software can be done immediately – or suspicious-looking programs can be put into quarantine, until you are sure they are safe. This is a genuine freely-available malware removal tool, rather than a ‘free taster’ for a commercial package. So that does mean that there are a few rough edges. The interface is a little ugly and unwieldy, and some buttons don’t work (fortunately none of these are critical). But if you’re prepared to take the rough with the smooth, it seems EMCO Malware Destroyer does what you want – bagging those trojans, without bringing on more headaches.
Loaris Trojan Remover, by contrast, is a trial version of the bigger package – but doesn’t suffer too badly from too much reduced functionality as a result (a common flaw in such taster apps). The software slips in easily enough into Windows systems, and gets set scanning for ‘Greeks bearing gifts’ (that’s those nasty trojan apps, for those unfamiliar with the Greek myth). The scanning part of the process is flexible – you can opt for a quick run through of the most dangerous hotspots, or a deep thorough search, of every nook and cranny of your system.
As well as picking up on bad-boy software, Loaris Trojan Remover will also fix up your Windows Update policy, which often gets messed around with by trojan viruses. Removal rates seem satisfactory, if not stellar – perhaps because some of the more advanced removal options have been left out of the free version. Overall, Loaris should be considered a solid and trustworthy help for your trojan woes.
Previously known as A-squared Free, Emsisoft Anti-Malware Free is an excellent malware removal tool, one that isn’t phased by the rigors of getting rid of trojans. But before you can get to the pleasurable task of chucking those trojan impostors off of your system, you need to get the app installed, and the scans completed. These processes can seem a little sticky, taking longer than for other such remover software. But possibly that slowness is a reflection of the greater efficiency, in identifying and removing the spurious trojan software.
This tool is also nicely customizable, for those who like to tweak. The system scan has three standard levels, plus the option to customize. Emsisoft Anti-Malware Free has a white-list of trusted programs, to which you can add those software packages known to be safe. There are a couple of absent features – no scheduler and a lack of ongoing antiviral protection – but for a free package Emsisoft’s trojan tool really does an excellent job.
This is where the trojan removal ante gets upped somewhat – Avira Free Antivirus being a polished piece of software that covers both detection, removal and prevention – all for free. In the latest version of this popular and trusted security tool, Avira have focused on making use of the app as simple and convenient as possible. Installation is a quick two-click affair. But be warned – in it’s quest to guarantee you trustworthy security, Avira will remove any pre-existing security software, a feature that may not be to everyone’s liking.
The initial scan is fast – around a minute – but the deeper Full scans take over an hour. That’s still better than many other malware detection tools, when they are switched onto a Full scan, though. Detection rates are higher than some commercial packages, as is the removal rate. It covers worms, viruses, key-loggers, adware and spyware, not just trojans, too. Avira Free Antivirus also performs well at blocking new threats as they emerge – it updates its threat list daily. The one annoyance is that you are also reminded daily of he advantages of upgrading – an irritating, if often-used tactic in free software packages. That doesn’t stop Avira Free Antivirus from being a great trojan removal tool, as well as an all-round anti-virus security package – one that puts many commercial packages to shame.