What is Spyware?
According to Wikipedia, "Spyware is a type of malware that can be installed on computers and collects little bits of information at a time about users without their knowledge. The presence of spyware is typically hidden from the user, and can be difficult to detect. Typically, spyware is secretly installed on the user's personal computer. Sometimes, however, spywares such as keyloggers are installed by the owner of a shared, corporate, or public computer on purpose in order to secretly monitor other users."
Now that we've defined what spyware is, here are the steps to remove it:
Step One: Shutdown your computer and reboot into Safe Mode (During start up tap the [F8] key until a black and white menu is displayed). Select Safe Mode with Networking from the list and continue. This will start the computer in Safe Mode.
Step Two: Once in Safe Mode, open your web browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, etc.) and go to malwarebytes.org. If you can't browse the Internet, the spyware probably added a proxy server setting to your web browser. A proxy server acts like a filter and if set incorrectly can prevent you from browsing the web or take you to sites that host malicious software. Here is where to check for browser proxy settings:
In Internet Explorer, go to ToolsInternet OptionsConnections TabLAN settings Button and ensure the checkbox under Proxy Settings is clear.
In Firefox, go to ToolsOptionsAdvancedNetwork TabSettings Button and ensure No proxy is selected.
In Google Chrome, click the wrenchOptionsUnder the Hood TabChange Proxy SettingsLAN settings Button and ensure the checkbox under Proxy Settings is clear.
You only need to check this for the main browser you are using. Once done, malwarebytes.org should load.
Step Three: Download and install the free version of Malwarebytes. At the final installation step make sure the two checkboxes for Check for Updates and Run Malwarebytes are checked. This will automatically update Malwarebytes to the latest definitions and launch the program at the completion of setup.
Step Four: Select Quick Scan from the main Malwarebytes menu and click the Scan button. The scan will start and usually takes 10-12 minutes to complete. It can take up to 45 minutes for older systems with a lot of data. At the completion of the scan you will see a red number indicating the total number of infected objects detected. Next, click Show Results and a detailed list of infected objects will be displayed. You can review the list and then select Fix Now. Malwarebytes will remove the infected objects and generate a log file of the actions taken. Finally, you may need to reboot your computer to complete the removal process.
Your system should now be infection free! If your computer gets a lot of malicious software, you should consider purchasing the Full Version of Malwarebytes, as it offers real-time protection. Also, remember that installing and running Malwarebytes is not a substitute for either your anti-virus program or firewall.