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Earthlink: Your hard drive may be spying on you
Miami Herald ^ | 10/14/2003 | Peggy Rogers

Posted on 10/14/2003 1:07:51 PM PDT by ex-Texan

Earthlink: Your hard drive may be spying on you

EarthLink has a word for all of you spam-hating, pop-up-blasting, virus-fearing brethren -- spyware.

And you should be scared, computer users, real scared.

Experts say as many as 90 percent of all Internet surfers have picked up one brand or another of this soaring spyware, also known as scumware, skunkware and malware.

That proportion seems awfully high, but at least a large majority of Internet-connected computer users harbor one or another of the thousands of spyware varieties.

EarthLink has more than a passing interest. Last Wednesday, it added to its Internet software a program called Spyware Blocker that the ISP says is the first anti-spyware software ever offered by an Internet service. Its inclusion underscores three things:

• That the threat of secret software that embeds itself on your hard drive is growing so greatly that experts have variously said its expansion rate could surpass the growth of viruses or spam.

• That many computer users have yet to notice the problem. Spyware is programming code that does everything from feed you ad after ad to record your surfing habits. It can change the Web page to which you're headed and log your every keystroke.

The latter kind reports back to an Internet source such private information as your e-mail messages and credit-card numbers. EarthLink's Spyware Blocker works against 1,500 varieties of scumware and continues to update the numbers as new ones are located.

• That while EarthLink has been on the front lines of blocking annoying and alarming threats to Internet privacy and security, it is not alone. Competitors like America Online have also developed security packages, albeit without antispyware measures.

EarthLink started offering protective software in spring 2002, first with pop-up blockers, next anti-spam and last month offering parental control of offensive materials and now spam blocking. By year's end, it expects to include a virus blocker.

Spyware is damaging, in part, because it is a largely silent plague. Now it is starting to get the serious and mass attention it so richly deserves.

''Since spyware is the next big threat, it was a logical and obvious thing for us to include,'' said Matt Cobb, vice president of product management for EarthLink.

He sees a greater drive to spook than to spin viruses.

''People who make viruses are malicious,'' he said. ``The people who do spyware are economically motivated, so we think it's going to become more like spam than viruses and surpass the number of virus attacks.''

Spyware can ensnare you in several ways. If you've ever downloaded freeware or shareware, particularly programs that provide such Internet services as music swapping, form fillers, download managers and other utilities, there's a good chance such programs offset their costs by letting one or several ad makers piggyback.

They can swarm your desktop with pop-ups, floating cubes and even more intricate display methods. One spyware program reportedly posted what looked like error messages to download software.

E-mail can also come infected with Trojan horses that steal information off your disk or follow your surfing habits. One company was caught planting spyware in the guise of electronic greeting cards.

If your Internet Explorer browser is set to automatically allow the download of software needed for such things as the proper viewing of Web pages, spyware can also slime you.

Look under IE's Tools menu>Internet Options>Security>Downloads, and disable file downloading. Re-enable it only when you choose to download software.

If you don't have EarthLink, there are plenty of sites with free or low-cost programs that will scan for spyware and allow you to quarantine or delete it.

One such site is www.spy checker.com. Look for information also at www.cexxorg/adware.htm and www.doxdesk.com/para site.

A word of caution: Some programs will stop running when the spyware element is removed. You'll have to decide which is the greater evil, giving up privacy to run a program or stopping the program to secure privacy.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Front Page News
KEYWORDS: computersecurity; earthlink; malware; privacy; spyware; trojans
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1 posted on 10/14/2003 1:07:51 PM PDT by ex-Texan
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To: ex-Texan
Lions & tigers & bears.

Oh My!
2 posted on 10/14/2003 1:12:33 PM PDT by NotQuiteCricket (http://www.strangesolutions.com)
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To: All

I'M BACK!!!

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STOP BY A BUMP THE FUNDRAISER THREAD (It's in the Breaking News sidebar!)

3 posted on 10/14/2003 1:12:49 PM PDT by Support Free Republic (Your support keeps Free Republic going strong!)
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To: ex-Texan
Hey Doug!
Lately, everytime I go to Google, a popup comes up trying to sell me exactly what I am searching, or close to it. Is that spyware??
4 posted on 10/14/2003 1:13:02 PM PDT by EggsAckley (..........................all my pings are belong to ......YOU.....................)
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To: ex-Texan

.
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5 posted on 10/14/2003 1:13:35 PM PDT by steplock (www.FOCUS.GOHOTSPRINGS.com)
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To: ex-Texan
My hard drive is not spying on me. However, I am suspicious of my toaster...
6 posted on 10/14/2003 1:14:00 PM PDT by TheBigB ("If my country calls, I will answer. Unless I'm screening."--Homer J. Simpson)
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To: ex-Texan
My wife is an undercover spyware agent...I'm sooo glad they didn't release her name.

She would be in sooo much danger!

7 posted on 10/14/2003 1:14:48 PM PDT by DainBramage
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To: TheBigB
OMG! I thought it was just my toaster!
8 posted on 10/14/2003 1:15:05 PM PDT by BlessedBeGod
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To: ex-Texan
Enigma Software offers a free download so you may check you computer for Spyware and Trojans. I purchased their Spy Remover because my computer was infected with two malicious Spying programs. One type allowed every keystroke to be monitored. You may test if for free. If your computer is infected with malware, you can remove it for $ 29. Go here:

Enigma Software

9 posted on 10/14/2003 1:15:17 PM PDT by ex-Texan (Why Davis Orders Shredders - - To Destroy Evidence of Fund Raising Felonies!)
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To: ex-Texan
Spybot Search & Destroy
10 posted on 10/14/2003 1:16:18 PM PDT by Tree of Liberty (I had an AWESOME time!!!)
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To: steplock
I bet if even half the people reading this download Ad-Aware or a similar program and scan their system, they'll be shocked.
11 posted on 10/14/2003 1:17:03 PM PDT by af_vet_rr
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To: ex-Texan
BTW, Spybot is free and is the most widely used spyware removal program.
12 posted on 10/14/2003 1:17:03 PM PDT by Tree of Liberty (I had an AWESOME time!!!)
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To: ex-Texan
I installed spyhunter on my computer and it did find alot of high risk spyware, but when I went to delete the spyware, the spyhunter program wanted me to pay to remove it. I'm ethier to cheap, or I don't care enough about the spyware to pay, a little of both I guess. :^)
13 posted on 10/14/2003 1:17:15 PM PDT by scourge
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To: ex-Texan
Spyware/Adware is getting out of control. They can literally take over your computer. 'Ad-ware 6.0' and 'Spybot - Search and Destroy' are good free tools to fight against them.
14 posted on 10/14/2003 1:17:24 PM PDT by Always Right
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To: ex-Texan
Earthlink is the spy.

I haven't been a subscriber for years and there is residual and unremovable Earthlink programming on my computer.

15 posted on 10/14/2003 1:17:37 PM PDT by South40 (My vote helped defeat bustamante. Did yours?)
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To: BlessedBeGod
If you line your toaster with tin foil, everything will be Okay....
16 posted on 10/14/2003 1:18:00 PM PDT by Uncle Miltie (Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms...Who's bringing the Chips?)
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To: EggsAckley
1. get mozilla and stop the pop-ups

2. get ad-aware and remove the spyware from your pc

17 posted on 10/14/2003 1:18:09 PM PDT by stainlessbanner
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To: ex-Texan
What would happen if one of the Spyware scanners/blockers turned out to be spyware!
18 posted on 10/14/2003 1:18:30 PM PDT by Mannaggia l'America
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To: ex-Texan
bttt
19 posted on 10/14/2003 1:20:02 PM PDT by w_over_w (Once upon a time, there was place outside of Wash., DC called America . . .)
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To: ex-Texan
I can't imagine why anyone would surf the Net without Spybot Search & Destroy. Its free and effective. Further, Google's free toolbar and popup blocker makes it a lot more pleasant to visit sites with popups.
20 posted on 10/14/2003 1:20:40 PM PDT by anton
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To: EggsAckley
Hi Judy !

See my #9 on this thread. Was I ever shocked by what this little test revealed. I have very good anti-virus software and a good firewall. I am also running a Trojan Detector. I run all those programs daily.

Spy Remover indentified and removed two Spying program that are not Viruses or Trojans.

21 posted on 10/14/2003 1:21:26 PM PDT by ex-Texan (Why Davis Orders Shredders - - To Destroy Evidence of Fund Raising Felonies!)
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To: ex-Texan
Read later.
22 posted on 10/14/2003 1:22:45 PM PDT by EagleMamaMT
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To: stainlessbanner
I've got great popup stoppers already. These popups are different. They say "Third Party Advertisements" or something like that. And they always relate to where I'm surfing.

Tried to download ad-aware, but the page is very complicated and I couldn't get the download to work.

Arrgghh!
23 posted on 10/14/2003 1:25:58 PM PDT by EggsAckley (..........................all my pings are belong to ......YOU.....................)
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To: ex-Texan
Experts say as many as 90 percent of all Internet surfers ...

Considering how many Internet surfers probably run with wide-open security settings in their browsers, I'm surprised it would be as low as 90 percent.

24 posted on 10/14/2003 1:26:21 PM PDT by snarkpup
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To: EagleMamaMT
Ditto
25 posted on 10/14/2003 1:27:27 PM PDT by Lee'sGhost (Crom!)
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To: TheBigB
"My hard drive is not spying on me. However, I am suspicious of my toaster... "

Yes, hence the saying "you're toast!"

26 posted on 10/14/2003 1:29:35 PM PDT by DannyTN (Note left on my door by a pack of neighborhood dogs.)
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To: Lee'sGhost
Ditto

You can say that again!

27 posted on 10/14/2003 1:30:51 PM PDT by Blue Screen of Death (,/i)
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To: EggsAckley
You have FReepmail.
28 posted on 10/14/2003 1:31:30 PM PDT by stainlessbanner
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To: Brad Cloven
And good conspiracy theorist knows that tinfoil merely focuses the mind-control rays.
29 posted on 10/14/2003 1:33:43 PM PDT by TheBigB ("If my country calls, I will answer. Unless I'm screening."--Homer J. Simpson)
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To: ex-Texan
HEEELLLLPPPP MEEEEEEEEE
30 posted on 10/14/2003 1:34:19 PM PDT by AppyPappy (If You're Not A Part Of The Solution, There's Good Money To Be Made In Prolonging The Problem.)
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To: ex-Texan
Downloading spyhunter now. We'll see. Adaware is not user friendly, and spybot is worse, this one at least is downloadable. I'm totally ignorant of these things. Hopeless TechnoNinny.
31 posted on 10/14/2003 1:36:44 PM PDT by EggsAckley (..........................all my pings are belong to ......YOU.....................)
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To: South40
Well, Sky Dayton founder of Earthlink, is a Scientologist... and hasn't the COS given the church members internet access that blocks anti-Scientology websites?
32 posted on 10/14/2003 1:36:58 PM PDT by Pan_Yans Wife (You may forget the one with whom you have laughed, but never the one with whom you have wept.)
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To: ex-Texan
Earthlink is a little late with this.

I used them a few years back, played hell trying to get all their crap off of my machine, eventually had to reformat to get their logo out of the corner of IE. I was getting anomalous internet activity when noting was running. ZoneAlarm said nothing was wrong, so my guess was that either something had gotten into my winsock or that it was Earthlink's not-uninstallable version of IE.

I finally got rid of it and that was the end of that. I won't use them again.

33 posted on 10/14/2003 1:38:41 PM PDT by Yeti
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To: steplock
thanks for the geeky update.
34 posted on 10/14/2003 1:48:28 PM PDT by pointsal
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To: scourge
it did find alot of high risk spyware, but when I went to delete the spyware, the spyhunter program wanted me to pay to remove it.

It gets better.
I did pay for it and ran it.
Not only did it fail to remove the pop ups, it flagged and removed parts of itself, so that next time I attempted to run it, nope. Forget it.

No prob, I thought. I'll just download it again and re-install it and use the activation I just paid for.

Guess what? It wouldn't let me. I am still trying to resolve that.

(and I still have pop-ups)

35 posted on 10/14/2003 1:56:52 PM PDT by Publius6961 (40% of Californians are as dumb as a sack of rocks.)
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To: ex-Texan
I told a friend about adAware She ran it and found over 250 spy programs. She was stunned.
36 posted on 10/14/2003 1:58:02 PM PDT by GOPJ
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To: Brad Cloven
If you line your toaster with tin foil, everything will be Okay....

It's not just your toaster. You should also keep the infrared remote sensors on your VCRs and other home entertainment appliances covered when not in use. I have a theory that appliances with infrared remotes also send out infrared signals, detect one another's presence in the room, and secretly communicate. I first began to suspect this conspiracy when two VCRs that were several years old both failed in the same week.

37 posted on 10/14/2003 1:58:10 PM PDT by snarkpup
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To: ex-Texan
The scary stuff is what nobody has found yet. I'd say more but the I'd have to shoot you.
38 posted on 10/14/2003 1:58:41 PM PDT by isthisnickcool (Guns!)
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To: ex-Texan
http://www.javacoolsoftware.com/spywareblaster.html


Spyware Blaster keeps a huge list of sneaky stuff from ever being installed on your computer; updated frequently. It has worked really well for me.

39 posted on 10/14/2003 2:03:56 PM PDT by wolficatZ (___><))))*>____\0/____/|____"flipper to the rescue...")
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To: Yeti
to reformat to get their logo out of the corner of IE

That spinning globe was a single registry entry. Nothing harmful. FYI, IE 6.0 deletes it.

40 posted on 10/14/2003 2:04:57 PM PDT by AlBondigas
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To: isthisnickcool
Hehe...I have worked/repaired other peoples computers before. People who haven't cleared their history files EVER or emptied their Recycle bin. Credit card numbers in word documents, Password doc on the desktop, etc.

I am very conscious about the latest 'threats' and have this machine loaded with all kinds of defensive measures.
41 posted on 10/14/2003 2:09:23 PM PDT by Normal4me
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To: ex-Texan
Is this reporter even going to bother asking another source besides Earthlink, or is she just going to feed their press release straight onto the newswire?
42 posted on 10/14/2003 2:10:12 PM PDT by xm177e2 (Stalinists, Maoists, Ba'athists, Pacifists: Why are they always on the same side?)
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bttt
43 posted on 10/14/2003 2:12:35 PM PDT by in the Arena (Richard Thomas Kastner - KIA - Phuoc Long, South Vietnam - 15 November 1969)
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To: ex-Texan
You should reformat your hard drive often, to keep control of your system.
44 posted on 10/14/2003 2:14:03 PM PDT by Porterville (The Federal Government will make the rules... now shut up and take your Prozac!!!!)
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To: Publius6961
google toolbar gets rid of all pop ups... all of them.
45 posted on 10/14/2003 2:15:31 PM PDT by Porterville (The Federal Government will make the rules... now shut up and take your Prozac!!!!)
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To: Allan
Bump
46 posted on 10/14/2003 2:16:18 PM PDT by Allan
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To: Porterville
I run my deframenter and scan disc twice a week. Reformatting is not possible beause it erase everything on my hard drive. ;-)
47 posted on 10/14/2003 2:18:44 PM PDT by ex-Texan (Why Davis Orders Shredders - - To Destroy Evidence of Fund Raising Felonies!)
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To: EggsAckley
I can't do Google searches anymore, I got a virus and can't seem to get rid of it.
48 posted on 10/14/2003 2:20:08 PM PDT by GWB00
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To: ex-Texan
I would get a CD burner or a high capacity zip drive, organize my files and all my software in a cd folder (as you would a tool box) and at least, once a quarter, or every few months, reformat you cpu.... it only takes a few hours (with high bandwith) and it helps to keep everything moving quickly.... also, it opens up new ideas you might not have thought of..
trial versions..
49 posted on 10/14/2003 2:23:57 PM PDT by Porterville (The Federal Government will make the rules... now shut up and take your Prozac!!!!)
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To: ex-Texan
You could also just get Norton's Ghosting software, and it would be even faster.
50 posted on 10/14/2003 2:26:03 PM PDT by Porterville (The Federal Government will make the rules... now shut up and take your Prozac!!!!)
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