Anti-virus software are applications which endeavour to detect, prevent and remove malware ( originally this meant computer virus but now is extended to other types of malware).  

  • Sophos Anti-Virus is available for no cost to all registered UBC students, staff and faculty. A CWL is needed to download. Among the versions available are those for all current Windows systems and Mac OS 8, 9, and X.
  • House Call is a free online virus scan tool which uses Javascript so there is nothing to install.


Spyware generally refers to an application running silently on your system, collecting data on your websurfing, and reporting back to the spyware installer.

  • Spybot can detect and remove spyware of different kinds from your computer.
  • SpywareBlaster prevents the installation of ActiveX-based spywares, adwares, browser hijackers, and dialers.


A firewall blocks unwanted access from the Internet.

  • ZoneAlarm or Outpost Firewall (Windows)
    Windows XP with Service Pack 2 (SP2) has a built-in firewall, which is enabled by default. Other Windows users can install a free third-pary firewall such as ZoneAlarm or Outpost Firewall.
  • VirusBarrier X6 (Mac OS X)
    Mac OS X has a built-in firewall (ipfw) and can be enabled thru: System Preferences -> Sharing -> Firewall. If you don't want the built-in firewall, there are third-party firewalls that you could buy.
  • Firestarter (Linux)
    Firestarter is a front-end graphical user interface (GUI) that uses the Netfiler (iptables/ipchains) system. Firestarter is available for use in GNOME and KDE desktops. For installation guide, see Installation - Firestarter.

RootKit Detection

A rootkit typically hides logins, processes, files, and logs. Rootkits may include software to intercept data from network connections, and keystrokes.

  • Sysinternals RootkitRevealer scans your system for rootkit-based malware.
  • F-Secure Blacklight detects and eliminates active rootkits from the computer.
  • GMER, a free rootkit scanning tool built by Polish Windows internals guru, is widely hailed as the best at ferreting out stealth rootkits from PCs. GMER does an excellent job of finding hidden processes hidden services, hidden files, hidden registry keys, hidden drivers and all kinds of driver hooking. It can also serve as a process explorer to monitor the creating of processes, the loading of drivers and libraries and file function and registry entries.
  • Rootkit Buster by Trend Micro.
  • Rootkit Detective by McAfee.
  • DarkSpy AntiRootkit
  • Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool

Software Inspectors

A rootkit typically hides logins, processes, files, and logs. Rootkits may include software to intercept data from network connections, and keystrokes.

Safe Browsing / Email

Internet Explorer is more prone to malicious software (malware) attacks due to ActiveX. Malware mostly depend on ActiveX for their activation and propagation to other computers. Check out Firefox.

  • Firefox (web browser) includes an integrated pop-up blocker, tabbed browsing, and has a cool feature called
  • Thunderbird (e-mail client) supports multiple e-mail accounts, POP, IMAP, LDAP address completion, and has a built-in Bayesian spam filter. Like Firefox, Thunderbird lets you also add additional functionalities through "extensions".
  • Haute Secure is a browser plug-in currently available for Microsoft's Internet Explorer that does realtime blocking of drive-by malware downloads. The tool fits behavior-based profiling algorithms into the browser (Firefox support is coming soon) to identify and intercept malicious files in real-time.
  • LinkScanner Lite from Exploit Prevention Labs is a product that supports Firefox.
  • NoScript for Firefox is a Firefox extension that does preemptive blocking malicious scripts and allows JavaScript, Java and other potentially dangerous content only from sites you trust. It also blocks Flash and other potentially exploitable plugins, and provides the powerful Anti-XSS protection.

Miscellaneous Tools

  • File Shredder is free desktop application for shredding (destroying) unwanted files beyond recovery.
  • CCleaner is a free system optimization and privacy tool that can be used to remove unused files from your system -- allowing Windows to run faster and freeing up valuable hard disk space. CCleaner also removes temporary files, URL history, cookies from the three main Web browsers (IE, Firefox and Opera). It can also be used to delete temp files and recent file lists for all those third-party applications sitting on your PC.
  • PC Decrapifier removes crapware that comes pre-installed on Windows computers. This program will not remove crapware from older computers but is perfect for new machines that ships with trialware. There is a long list of products it will find and remove, including QuickBooks Trial, NetZero Installers, Earthlink Setup Files, Google Desktop and the myriad of anti-virus trialware apps.