I’m going to share an unpleasant experience with you today. I downloaded and installed what I thought was a free antivirus, but turned out to be an adware and spyware program. To make sure we are clear about what I’m talking about I’m going to take a moment and share with you the definitions of adware and spyware as I was able to piece together through my research. Adware is a program written with the express intention of pushing advertisements on you. In most cases this takes the form of pop-ups, but can also take the form of pop-unders, floating advertisements, browser redirection, and search redirection. Spyware is a program that collects information on you. This information can range from web browsing habits to bank and credit card information. This information is then passed on to an outside source.

Escorcher told me some files were infected with the Parite virus and suggested removal of these files. Luckily I didn’t remove them. Escorcher will say this about some valid uninfected Windows files, and if you take its suggestion and remove these files your Windows will stop working. I also started getting pop-ups while I surfed the Web.

I did some research online and found out that Escorcher is what they refer to as a rogue program. This means it’s a fake program, not really the antivirus it claims to be. It turns out that it is adware and spyware. The pop-ups were generated by Escorcher and it collected my IP address and web browsing habits and passed it on to advertisers.

When I found this out I knew I had to remove Escorcher. I tried to uninstall it via add/remove programs, but that didn’t work. I searched the Web for an answer and found out that I needed an anti-spyware program. I also found the disturbing fact that most anti-spyware only removes 80-90% of an infection, leaving you still infected. I did some digging and found there are anti-spyware programs out there that give 100% removal guarantees, but you have to look for them.

Carl runs a site devoted to helping you rid your computer from all sorts of spyware and malware at http://www.spyzooka.com/

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