Malware Success Story: Ad-Aware in Action

You're working at your computer when you realize something is not right; you're plagued with messages warning you that your computer may be infected. It's clear that you've been hit by malware. But where do you turn for help in sorting out the mess on your PC? Most likely to a knowledgeable friend or family member, and to trusted security software.

Here's a case in point from an Ad-Aware user like you: Matt Smith was recently approached by his father to help clean up a particularly tenacious infection caused by the rogue program, XP AntiVirus 2008. According to Lavasoft researchers, this new rogue anti-spyware program making the rounds, along with its clones, operates under stealthy and misleading distribution methods to trick users into buying its commercial version. To make matters worse, its files are continuously modified in order to avoid detection. The program generates exaggerated threat reports on the victim's computer to appear as though the system is infected. This is all in the attempt to push the computer user to remove the reported threats by buying the rogue application.

When Matt realized that his father was, unfortunately, not running any anti-spyware tools on his PC, what was the first thing he did? Download Ad-Aware. "Ad-Aware needed to restart the computer in order to completely remove everything but we decided to check IE to see how it was doing. We were able to pull it up and access all of the previous pages without any of the issues!” Matt said.

In order to help others that have been infected by XP AntiVirus, Matt detailed the steps taken to help his father return to malware-free computing in his blog at his site. If you have run into this rogue, you may be interested in reading Matt's posts; if you have been lucky enough to avoid this sneaky software, take a look at some of the lessons learned from the ordeal, below, to help you steer clear of unwanted applications.

  • Make sure your family and friends are running a reputable anti-spyware tool in addition to their anti-virus tool.
  • Have your family and friends switch from IE to Firefox.
  • Try to get them to run under the non-admin account.
  • Tell them to trust their instinct when something doesn’t seem right.
  • Make sure that at least one of your kids is technically-literate to bail you out when you can no longer keep up with technology.

    (Excerpt from

For more information on the rogue program, XP AntiVirus and its clones, take advantage of free support from our worldwide volunteer security network at the Lavasoft Support Forums.


Do you have a malware success story of your own? We want to hear from you! Share your story with Lavasoft News readers by writing in to We’ll include a few of your responses in an upcoming newsletter.


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By The Numbers
4000 Number of laptops lost or stolen in European airports every week, increasing the risk of loss of personal data and other confidential information. A similar study in US airports placed the tally at 12,000 per week.
Source: Ponemon Institute
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