Best Free Trojan Horse Scanning And Removal Software

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Introduction

Malware, trojans and threats

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.

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

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

Anti-malware and anti-trojan 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.

Disclaimer

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.

 
Discussion

Emsisoft Anti-Malware is a good choice to scan and remove malware, especially trojans, from your PC. It removes the trojans containing backdoors, keyloggers, diallers and other destructive pests that make it dangerous to surf the web.

Other than trojans, it also can be used to recognize and remove spyware, adware, tracking cookies, worms, viruses and rootkits from your PC.

Designed for ease of use, this program combines Emsisoft Anti-Malware and the Bitdefender Anti-Virus engine to cut down on unnecessary double detection routines for one and the same malware. Prior to version 7.0 Ikarus was employed, but this has now been replaced by Bitdefender because of the former's tendency to produce false positives.

Any suspicious file/s can be uploaded to Emsisoft for analysis: www.emsisoft.com/en/support/submit/ and also, you may find their forums helpful: support.emsisoft.com/

Features such as quarantine, online updates and heuristic scan for unknown malware are included.

From the Emsisoft website, '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'.

In other words, the free version does not provide other features such as file guard, behavior blocker and surf protection.

 


Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware (MBAM) is an on-demand scanner which can be used to find and remove trojans, along with other malware such as viruses, worms, rootkits, diallers and spyware.

Since the launch of version 2.0, in March 2014, the GUI has benn drastically altered and long-term users' of MBAM might take a while to get used to the new layout. Qiuick scan has been replaced by Threat scan, but the program is still intuitive and simple to use.

As well as ditching the former utilitarian interface, MBAM now has a Progress Scanner bar and the ability to review any detected items during a scan - previously users' needed to wait until the scan had completed to see the items.

As there are daily updates, always ensure the software has been updated prior to scanning your PC. For those of a forgetful nature, you can set the program to warn about the database being outdated.

I would strongly recommend that you tick Scan for rootkits, this can found under:Settings > Detection and Protection > Detection options.

Other features include: multiple-drive scanning; custom scanning; malware exclusions; quarantine (to hold threats prior to deletion or restoration), and application logs.

Another plus point is that MBAM rarely causes any conflicts with other anti-malware utilities. If you encounter problems that are not covered in the help section you can visit the Malwarebytes forum: forums.malwarebytes.org/

 


SUPERAntiSpyware (SAS) is worth a try as well. In addition to its focus on detecting and removing spyware infections, this program deals with trojans and other types of threats such as diallers, keyloggers,worms, rootkits, etc.

It supports a quick scan, complete system scan or custom scan with trust items and exclude folders. The program also provides an option to check for latest definition updates before scanning to protect you from the newest threats. SAS also has a Trojan Threat List shown here. There are 100 examples of different dll and exe files, all of which should not be allowed to run on your PC. Clicking on any of the items in the list will give you a more detailed description of that particular threat.

Among other features, it includes Hi-Jack Protection which prevents other applications (excluding Task Manager) from terminating the program.

FAQs and help with false positives can be found over at: forums.superantispyware.com/

On the down side, the free version of this program does not support real-time blocking, scheduled scanning and some other features.

 


Comodo Cleaning Essentials (CCE) contains an on-demand scanner and is portable ie it can run from a USB stick, or a CD/DVD and doesn’t install itself on your hard drive. It employs both heuristic and signature-based scanning and can detect trojans, rootkits and other forms of malware.

I prefer to run CCE. exe from a shortcut on my desktop, but whichever method you choose will work fine.

There are 3 scanning modes in CCE:

  • Smart* – performs a quick scan of critical areas of your PC eg the registry and boot sectors etc
  • Full – a complete scan of all areas of your system
  • Custom – individual files, folders and drives can be added for scanning. Dragging and dropping can also be employed if preferred.

The GUI is very clean and straightforward and during a scan there is a rotating green dial that appears and resembles a radar screen. In the midst of a scan, any malware that is detected can either be cleaned/quarantined, or reported as a false positive to Comodo, or simply ignored if you are fully confident that it is benign.

There is an excellent online help section that can be launched from within the software and is also available here: http://help.comodo.com/topic-119-1-328-3516-Introduction-to-Comodo-Cleaning-Essentials.html

Anybody requiring further help can also take a look at the forums: http://forums.comodo.com

One thing I should draw your attention to is that my CPU temperature rose from 38⁰C to a peak of 58⁰C when scanning my system. Even though an increase in CPU usage, and therefore temperature, is perfectly normal when running security scanning software, some users might find the aforementioned increases rather alarming; you have been warned!

Under Options you’ll find plenty of choices to tweak CCE. Other features include MBR scanner, Virus scanner, CAMAS - Comodo Automated Malware Analysis System (hence the acronym!) and Settings.

From within the Tools section you can access Quarantined Items, Manage Trusted Vendors (whitelist), Import Virus Database, Browse Logs and Check for Updates (manually).

(Also included in CCE are KillSwitch and Autorun Analyzer and both are beyond the remit of this review: suffice to say that the former is similar to the Task Manager in Windows and the latter shows programs and services which run on start-up.)

*Smart scan took just 1m 24secs and when it reached 100% it stated, Your computer will now be restarted in order to scan for hidden services. For more info on hidden services please click on the following link: http://help.comodo.com/topic-119-1-328-3568-smart-scan.html

In conclusion, CCE has become a welcome addition to my security toolkit and, aside from the aforementioned CPU issues, I recommend folks to at least give it a try. After all, you don’t even need to install the application!

 
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. 

               Version.7.0 File Size 9.3 MB  Installation Requirements Windows XP to 8

  • 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.

               Version 1.12 File Size 2.5 MB  Installation Requirements Windows 2000 to 8 (32-bit and 64-bit)

   Información adicional There is now a FreeFixer Portable version and it's available here:
        http://www.freefixer.com/download.html#portable
        (The .zip file contains both the 32-bit and 64-bit versions.)

  • Ashampoo Anti-Malware is normally a commercial product, however, it is currently available for free from Softpedia. It offers real-time protection from the usual suspects and also incorporates optimization tools. My thanks go to member settingsuns for finding this offer.
               Version 1.21  File Size 114 MB Installation Requirements Windows XP to 7 (32-bit and 64-bit)
  • UnThreat AntiVirus Free Edition Straight from the horse's mouth: Full-featured anti-virus solution with capability of cleaning existing threats and preventing them at the time they appear with latest "on access" technology. The package is also bundled with anti-rootkit and mail cleaner.

                Version 6.2.37.17402 File Size 977 KB Installation Requirements Windows XP to 8 (32-bit and 64-bit)

 
Have Your Say

You are invited to share and discuss your views in our freeware forum. To post in the forum you need to register first but that's quick and pain free! Alternatively, anyone can leave a comment at the bottom of this page.

NB We would be most grateful if you can keep your comments short and concise.

Please help us by rating this review

 
Related Links
 
Quick Selection Guide

Emsisoft Anti-Malware
4
 
Gizmo's Freeware award as the best product in its class!

Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
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.
9.0.0.4453
156 MB
32 and 64 bit versions available
Free for private use only
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8 & 8.1
Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware
4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
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. A version for Android is now available: please refer to information below for download link.
Real-time protection; update and scan scheduler; Hyper scan mode; Chameleon driver; and Malicious website blocking are only available in the Premium version.
2.0.2.1012
16.5 MB
32 and 64 bit versions available
Free for private use only
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1 (32-bit and 64-bit)

NB A version for Android is also available: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.malwarebytes.antimalwa...

Please be aware that when installing MBAM Free the trial version of MBAM Premium is ticked by default. So, for those who don't wish to try the latter for 14 days, simply untick and install the Free version.

SUPERAntiSpyware
3
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Scans and removes trojans along with spyware and other malware. Other features include quick, complete, or custom scans with definition updates, Hi-Jack protection, etc. Since version 6.0 the GUI has been revamped.
Real-time blocking and scheduled scanning not supported in the free version.
6.0.1146
18.7 MB
32 and 64 bit versions available
Free for private use only
A portable version of this product is available from the developer.
XP to Windows 8

Download link for the portable scanner personal edition:
https://www.superantispyware.com/portablescanner.html?tag=SAS_HOMEPAGE

Comodo Cleaning Essentials
3
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Doesn't require installing - just run CCE.exe, easy to use because of good GUI and has excellent online help.
Caused CPU issues on my system.
2.5.242177.201
22.6 MB (ZIP)
32 and 64 bit versions available
Unrestricted freeware
This product is portable.
XP, Vista and 7

 
Tags

anti-malware, anti-trojan, anti-virus, anti-spyware, adware, freeware, free trojan horse scanner and remover, zero-day, portable, heuristic, signature-based, real-time protection, diallers, keyloggers, worms, rootkits, tracking cookies, backdoors

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Average: 4.1 (221 votes)
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Comments

by jimcarter1959 on 5. February 2013 - 2:14  (105103)

Excellent ratings! I'll add that CCE and Emsisoft are notorious for false positives, so use them conservatively. I own a PC repair/sales business and I'm removing malware as I compose this.

by torres-no-tan-m... on 5. February 2013 - 10:27  (105110)

jimcarter1959,
Thanks for the +ve feedback!
Emsisioft have taken steps to reduce false +ves by replacing Ikarus with Bitdefender. However, all scanning software is prone to produce some incorrect results and I would always advise to scan any suspicious files with VirusTotal before deleting them.
https://www.virustotal.com/

All the best,

Torres

by Rudyx on 28. March 2013 - 14:10  (106609)

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.

by Stasou on 28. March 2013 - 16:48  (106613)

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.

by Stasou on 10. April 2013 - 14:05  (106962)

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

by torres-no-tan-m... on 10. April 2013 - 22:11  (106976)

Thanks Stasou,

MBAM has now been updated.

by Stasou on 19. May 2013 - 12:10  (107864)

SAS was updated to version 5.6.1020.

by RaySachsen on 14. November 2013 - 14:52  (112216)

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.

by torres-no-tan-m... on 15. November 2013 - 11:22  (112243)

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

by MysticHaze on 9. February 2014 - 2:31  (114335)

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

NB Post has been edited because it was too long.

by Anupam on 9. February 2014 - 6:59  (114348)

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.

by torres-no-tan-m... on 10. February 2014 - 15:30  (114384)

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

by ggiaggia on 14. June 2014 - 17:44  (116769)

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

by Rybar on 14. July 2014 - 22:01  (117333)
by MidnightCowboy on 15. July 2014 - 5:31  (117336)

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.

by torres-no-tan-m... on 15. July 2014 - 10:50  (117340)

Rybar,

I can only concur with Midnight Cowboy's excellent and thorough explanation.

by Rybar on 21. July 2014 - 6:35  (117379)

@ 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 ..

by sicknero on 17. July 2014 - 17:26  (117390)

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.

by torres-no-tan-m... on 18. July 2014 - 21:41  (117416)

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

HTH

Torres

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