Best Free Trojan Horse Scanning And Removal Software

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Introduction

Most PCs are now connected to the Internet and networks, making easier the spread of malicious software (malware), which includes trojans (also known as trojan horses), viruses, worms, spyware, adware, rootkits and other malicious or unwanted programs.

To minimise the threats, most PC users will need an effective anti-malware program to remove trojans along with other malware.

Despite their ratings in this review, some anti-malware programs in certain cases are able to detect more malware than the others depending on their designs, online databases and the infections on computers.

Read also: About Trojans and Multiple Anti-malware Programs at the end of this article.

 

Rated Products

Emsisoft Anti-Malware  

A good choice to scan and remove trojans and other malware from your PC.


Our Rating: 
4
License: Free (Limited features)
Scans and removes trojans and other malware such as worms, viruses, spyware, trackers, diallers, etc. Easy to use, quarantine and updates are available. As of version 7.0 onwards, there are fewer false +ves and faster online updates.
After 30 days the real-time protection is removed and so are auto updates, scheduled scans, etc. Large download.
Read full review...

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware  

An on-demand scanner to find and remove trojans alongside other malware.


Our Rating: 
4
License: Free (Limited features)
Scans and removes trojans along with other malware. Features include multiple drive and threat scans; database updates; ignore list and quarantine to hold threats, etc. Improved scanning speed since version 1.50 and since version 2.0 a much better GUI: as of version 2.1.4, the interface has been further improved by simplifying its previously cluttered appearance. Since version 3.0, Pre-scan Operations has vastly improved in terms of speed. A version for Android is now available.
Real-time protection; update and scan scheduler; hyper scan mode; chameleon driver; and malicious website blocking are only available in the first 14 days after install. After the aforementioned period, the software reverts to a manual scanner. If you require further real-time protection you will need to pay for the premium version.
Read full review...

SUPERAntiSpyware  

Deals with trojans and other threats besides detecting and removing spyware infections.


Our Rating: 
3
License: Free (Limited features)
Scans and removes trojans along with spyware and other malware. Other features include quick, complete, or custom scans with definition updates, hijack protection, etc. Since version 6.0 the GUI has been revamped.
Real-time blocking and scheduled scanning are not supported in the free version.
Read full review...

Comodo Cleaning Essentials  

A portable on-demand scanner employs heuristic and signature-based scanning to detect trojans, rootkits and other malware.


Our Rating: 
3
License: Free
Doesn't require installing - just run CCE.exe, easy to use because of good GUI and has excellent online help.
Might cause CPU issues on certain systems.
Read full review...

Other Related Products

These are a number of other free trojan scanners and removers which were brought up in comments here or noted from other sources. As they are not rated in this review, I am listing them here with brief descriptions and links to their sites for ease of reference.

  • Rising PC Doctor comes with a scanner for trojans and spyware, and an option to enable automatic protection such as Trojan Interceptor, Trojan Download Blocker along with some other protections. Other tools such as start up control, process manager, service manager, file shredder, etc., are also included.
  • FreeFixer scans your system and can remove trojans and other malware but the user has to be able to interpret the results. Extra care must be taken as deletion of crucial files could damage your system. However, there is a FreeFixer user forum to help you with the scan results and the software is regularly updated.

    A FreeFixer Portable version is available here: http://www.freefixer.com/download.html#portable. (The .zip file contains both the 32-bit and 64-bit versions.)

 

About Trojans and Multiple Anti-malware Programs

Trojans, Malware and Threats

Like spyware and adware, trojans can get onto your computer in a number of ways, including: from a web browser; via email; or in a bundle with other software downloaded from the Internet. You may also inadvertently transfer malware via a USB flash drive or other portable media. It is possible that you could be forced to reformat your USB flash drive or other portable device in order to eliminate the infection and avoid transferring it to other machines.

Unlike viruses or worms, trojans do not replicate themselves, but they can be just as destructive. On the surface, trojans appear benign and harmless, but once the infected code is run, trojans kick in and perform malicious functions to harm the computer system without the users' knowledge.

For example, waterfalls.scr is a waterfall screen saver as originally claimed by the author, but it can be associated with malware and become a trojan to unload hidden programs and allow unauthorized access to the users' PC.

Some typical examples of threats by trojans are as follows:

  • Erase, overwrite or corrupt data on a computer
  • Help to spread other malware such as viruses (by a dropper trojan)
  • Deactivate or interfere with anti-virus and firewall programs
  • Allow remote access to your computer (by a remote access trojan)
  • Upload and download files without your knowledge
  • Gather e-mail addresses and use them for spam
  • Log keystrokes to steal information such as passwords and credit card numbers
  • Copy fake links to false websites, display porno sites, play sounds/videos, display images
  • Slow down, restart or shut down your computer
  • Re-install themselves after being disabled
  • Disable the task manager
  • Disable the control panel

Boundary Between Anti-trojan and Anti-malware Programs

As more computer security developers are extending their product capabilities to address more than one type of malware, the boundary between different types of anti-malware programs is no longer clear-cut and has become blurred.

For example, an anti-virus program such as AVG Anti-Virus covers not only viruses, but offers protection against spyware, adware and others. An anti-spyware program such as SuperAntiSpyware not only detects spyware, but removes trojans, rootkits and other threats. Likewise an anti-trojan program can offer to remove viruses, spyware and other types of malware.

More appropriately, these security products are to be classified as anti-malware programs rather than to be grouped by the name of the products.

In this respect, anti-malware products which are designed to detect and remove trojans more effectively than the others will be reviewed in this category.

How many anti-malware programs do I need to install?

The following extract attempts to answer the aforementioned question and forms part of Gizmo Richards' Support Alert Newsletter, Issue 156, April 2008.

Interviewer: So do you still need an AV program plus an anti-spyware program and an anti-trojan scanner?

Gizmo: For the majority of average users the answer is no. A single competent broad spectrum anti-malware product is enough. Of course, not everyone is an average user. Users who engage in high risk activities, like sourcing their software from P2P services, should load up their PC with all the protection they can get. Similarly, there are users for whom the best possible protection is paramount, regardless of cost or performance implications. Finally, users of freeware scanners who cannot afford [and/or are unwilling to pay for] a premium product may be well advised to use more than one signature-based scanner.

 

Related Products and Links

You might want to check out these articles too:

 

Editor

This software category is maintained by volunteer editor torres-no-tan-magnifico. Registered members can contact the editor with any comments or questions they might have by clicking here.

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Comments

I'm afraid I've come to the party a tad late!

I have just tried Zemana, the portable version, on my system. It's offering real-time protection during the 15 day trial, after which this facility is removed. It took approx 3 minutes to update the vrus definitions and the same time to run a Smart Scan. Under Settings, I ticked Pandors cloud-sandbox technology prior to scanning; however, I wouldn't recommend doing so because it increases the risk of false +ves. Zemana 'detected' Suspicious Browser Settings and by default the items were selected for repair: I excluded the aforementioned and continued the scan without Pandora enabled.

The GUI is straightforward and easy to navigate; I think I might be keeping the portable version just for a second opinion, but I will still continue to use Virus Total on my PC when installing new software.

I've been very impressed with Zemana AntiMalware Free on demand scanner. Quicker scans than Malwarebytes AntiMalware and better detection. Haven't used Emisoft for a long time so not in a position to compare it against Zemana, but I would have Zemana ahead of Malwarebytes at the very least.

Please list the malware files identified by Zemana that were missed by Malwarebytes. MC - Site Manager.

Each has their own strong points.

Zemana is slightly better at detecting zero-day malware than MBAM but at the cost of more false positives from my own experiences. It's multi-engine AM uses Kaspersky, Bitdefender, AVG, ESET, Avira and it's own in house engines. It started as a clone of Hitman Pro but is now a good stand-alone product by itself. Zemana also has a portable version and is seemingly lighter during scanning than MBAM with a pleasant interface.

The removal capabilities of MBAM with it's Chameleon's engine seems stronger though but ZAM is growing rapidly. MBAM is better at rootkit detections and PUP's which is it's strongest selling point. My only gripe with ZAM is that since it's cloud-based it means you got to run it with internet connection enabled.

Thanks George.J. In the world of rapidly evolving and mutating malware, how would you assess Zemana v Malwarebytes when the free version of the former has restricted updates compared with their paid version? MC - Site Manager.
I'm not sure about that. I thought the only difference between ZAM Free and Paid is that the former doesn't have real-time (+Pandora) protection and automatic scan scheduling.
According to their website, the paid version enjoys "Important and high-priority updates" over the free version which has a red cross against this feature. IMO this makes the free version all but useless as any of the major AV's will identify pretty much all known malware and something designed to detect new malware cannot deliver with restricted updates. MC - Site Manager.
This is only for their product version (2.x), not signature updates. Both free and premium has access to cloud database with the same signature set updated on the server side frequently. Premium users will get the new product version faster than the Free users that's all.

gonna give this a try

unthreat is a full malware solution (i've used it. it uses the vipre engine and is very light on resources - except the updater. plus it has an unfortunate glitch that frequently converts the free version to a trial version). perhaps it should be removed (b/c it is an full anti-malware solution, not b/c of the glitch, lol). otherwise, perhaps you should include other full featured solutions: avg, avast, bitdefender free, etc etc etc. then we can compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges.

biggerabalone, thanks for the feedback regarding Unthreat. As the title of my category is Best Free Trojan Horse Scanning And Removal Software I have concentrated on software that fulfill that purpose. My inclusion of Unthreat under the heading, Other Related Products was purely an editorial decision. I am not a greengrocer and therefore, will not be including any reviews of the utilities you mentioned as this would make my review far too unwieldly! All the best, Torres

Emsisoft Emergency Kit appears to be fully freeware still, it's one of my main secondary scanners. I'm not sure what the differences are between that and the trial-lapsed anti-malware program.

The main difference between EEK and EAM is that the former is portable software, contains HijackFree, BlitzBank and a CommandLine scanner. HTH Torres

@ MidnightCowboy & torres-no-tan-magnifico

I have been using their free version for many years ... but after last update
could not use it any more; had to download trial version (?)

edit - Emsisoft Anti-Malware (limited freeware mode) is still free; they just changed the way
it switches to freeware mode ..

Rybar, I can only concur with Midnight Cowboy's excellent and thorough explanation.
Please note - http://www.emsisoft.com/en/software/antimalware/?PageSpeed=noscript "Isn't Emsisoft Anti-Malware freeware? Yes and no. By default Emsisoft Anti-Malware installs as a free fully functional 30 day trial version. After the trial period you can either choose to buy a full version license or switch to the limited freeware mode. The freeware mode still allows you to scan and clean infections, but it doesn't provide any real-time protection to guard against new infections. It's useful as a second opinion scanner but you should NEVER rely on the freeware mode as long term protection for your PC. Without suitable real-time protection, your PC is at risk of becoming infected very quickly". MC - Site Manager.

*NOTICE- I will only be notified when posting on my comment* ...

NB Post has been edited because it was too long.

MysticHaze, Thanks for posting; however, your post is far too long for the comments section and as Anupam has already stated you should post in the Freeware Forum: http://www.techsupportalert.com/freeware-forum/ HTH
Good to see you registered on the site :). Since your post has many queries, it will be better if you post in the freeware forum, so it can be replied in a better way, since here the replies can go out of topic, and also there will be multiple replies for which this comment section is not suited much. So, please post in the freeware forum here: http://www.techsupportalert.com/freeware-forum/ in a suitable sub-forum like Security, or General Computer Support.

How do I open my virus locked laptop to run the Emsisoft from a USB? I have AVG on my computer but it didn't stop this one.

EAM is not portable and therefore, will not run from a USB stick. However, Emsisoft Emergency Kit is portable: https://www.emsisoft.com/en/software/eek/ Please read the following article for more info: http://www.techsupportalert.com/content/how-fix-malware-infected-compute... HTH Torres

SAS was updated to version 5.6.1020.

MBAM was updated to version 1.75.0.1300 with added ability to scan within archives.

Thanks Stasou, MBAM has now been updated.

I installed and used the free version of Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware on 27/03/2013. It took about 2 hrs to scan and found 200+ issues 2 of which were trojans, (other AV software hasn't found these so that leaves me suspicious)what is really disappointing is after waiting 2 hours you cannot fix the issues unless you buy the full package. Wish I would have known this before commencing. My recommendation is don't waste your time with this product try other free anti malware instead.

Are you sure you didn't download a rogue one? From which site did you download it? In my case, it performs a full system scan on a 160GB HDD in about 40 minutes which is faster than avira, SAS and Emsisoft full scans. I've been using this software for years and while it found malware infections only twice (the last one, a few months ago), it cleaned the infections without asking me to buy the full package. Just my two cents.

Malwarebytes removed an unwanted page Redirect when other similar, top products did not.