Click Theft and Malicious Programs - Staying Safe Online
From what you have described about hearing clicking noises while using internet explorer it could be an indication of click theft taking place or just some other program being run in the background I will go through a few of my experiences and hopefully you can figure out whats going on :)
Reasons for Hearing Clicks
Popup Blocker - The clicks you are hearing during internet explorer could point to the use of a popup blocker within your browser the most common one being a yahoo toolbar or google toolbar like popup blocker. This popup blocker will usually make a small beep or click noise as it blocks incoming ads and popups.
You can usually identify these quite easily as looking at the toolbar will show when a new popup has been detected and blocked and the popup block counter has been increased by 1.
Internet Toolbar - Another reason you may be hearing these clicks is similar to having a popup blocker is having a toolbar installed on your web browser which will notify you of weather updates or rss feeds but it should be quite clear if the clicks are coming from this type of source.
Malicious/ Trojan Program
A very common reason for hearing the click noise is that you may unknowingly have a Trojan or malicious program running on your computers hard drive. Some of these programs can be quite harmless and simply become annoying as they will constantly try and open an ad window which could be causing your popup blocker to keep firing off.
I had one recently on internet explorer where anytime i would try and type an address in the address bar it would forward me to some shopping website and no matter what I did I couldn't visit any other site. The best option for this is to use a different web browser, Internet explorer is a very weak browser and seems so easily affected by simple Trojans and malicious programs.
The other sort of Trojans found are ones that sit on your computer and wait for you to carry out a certain action whether it be to visit a popular gambling site or gaming site and when it sees this action taking place it turns itself on and starts recording and transmitting information to the receiver of the Trojan.
Ways to tell if you have a Trojan/Malicious or Click theft program running
The best way I have found to find out whether something suspicious is running on my machine is by means of a simple virus checker (I use AVG freeware) and another great way is to open up your task manager (CTRL-ALT-DEL) and select processes , this will show all the processes your computer is currently running and more often than not the malicious or click theft program will show up with weird process name in your task manager.
With all the weird process names it can be very difficult to distinguish the real windows processes from click theft/Trojan processes but the best way is by process of elimination or searching each one on google.
Hard-drive noises are another way you may be alerted to the possible presence of a malicious program. This method doesn't always work because hard-drives are very unpredictable and will make sounds when they start to get old, need to be defragged or have been poorly made.
Things to look for are for example a constant whirring of the hard drive or when you move the mouse you may hear a high pitched noise which may indicate a key logger type program running recording your every move and collecting data.
From what you wrote in your request the worst you could have is an adware type program which is trying to open popup ads. The best way to make sure you are rid of any trojan / malcious or click theft programs is to
- Run a full system Virus Scan (Running the scan in safe mode can avoid harmful proccesses being able to load up)
- Run a Malware scanner
- If all else fails and the virus program fails to remove the trojan or harmful program, find out the name of your program/virus/trojan and hit google many useful forums out there helping people get rid of these horrible programs.
and if all else fails formatting your harddrives will always solve the solution but always be careful if you are backing up files that you aren't spreading the virus/malcious program to your back harddrive device. Another thing for people who try and use system restore to fix things , some programs like to sit in your system restore files so you end up just reloading them over and over:P
hope I helped wrote this late at night so let me know if it doesn't make sense