Hitman Pro: Your second line of malware defense

No matter how strong your PC’s defences, there’s still a chance that a virus will be able to bypass them, eventually. And so it pays to have a Plan B, a “second opinion” malware remover which you can turn to in an emergency: something like Hitman Pro, in fact.

The tool is a relatively small download at under 10MB, and doesn’t require any installation. Just launch it, click Next > Next, and the program will quickly scan your system, looking for suspicious files. Anything it doesn’t recognize is sent to the program’s Scan Cloud, where it’s checked by multiple engines (Bitdefender, Emsisoft, G Data, IKARUS) before a verdict is given.

This first element of the program is entirely free, and useful enough in itself; anything which lets you check your files with all those engines, free of charge, from the same scan, is well worth adding to your security toolkit.

The catch? To remove something you have to run the program as a trial version. That’s not actually an issue with a one-off infection, as if you don’t want to pay the $24.95 annual subscription then you can just let the trial expire. But it does mean that you can’t use Hitman Pro for ongoing detection and removal.

Don’t give up on the program just yet, though, because Hitman Pro does have another useful feature, KickStart. It’s specifically designed to remove ransomware, which locks your PC, demanding money before you can access your PC. And it’s just about the easiest way to eliminate this kind of threat that you’ll find anywhere.

The idea is that you’ll use another PC to download Hitman Pro, and create a bootable USB flash drive. This option is a little more hidden than you might expect -- it’s launched from the tiny icon next to the “Settings” button -- but once you’ve found it, a simple wizard will help you create your recovery drive.

Now boot your locked PC from the USB key, instead, and it’ll start Hitman Pro for you. The nice touch is that this isn’t some DOS variant, or a Linux version. KickStart boots your own operating system, bypassing the ransomware, before allowing you to remove it as normal. And again, while businesses have to pay, home users can remove the ransomware for free if they sign up for the trial, which sounds like a reasonable deal to us.

Photo Credit: Sergii Korolko/Shutterstock

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