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Tangled in Spyware:
The Houston Chronicle ^ | October 31, 2004 | Anick Jesdanun [Associated Press]

Posted on 10/31/2004 10:16:57 AM PST by quidnunc

David Eckstein turned on his computer one day and launched his Web browser, just as he had every day. This time, however, CNN.com did not automatically open. Instead, the page was a search engine he'd never heard of.

Eckstein tried changing the browser settings back to CNN but the search engine would return whenever he rebooted. Finally, he just gave up.

The San Francisco marketing consultant is yet another victim of spyware, an amorphous class of software that mostly gets onto people's computers without their knowledge. So resource-hungry, it often renders the machines unusable.

"It makes you want to throw your computer out the window," Eckstein said.

In the past year, the problem has become epidemic as people spend more time online and spyware developers get more aggressive.

"It makes spam look like a walk in the park," said Bob Bowman, chief executive of Major League Baseball's Internet unit, which in June started banning new advertisers from using such techniques.

As part of a government-backed study, technicians visited Jenna Dye recently in Young Harris, Ga., and found 1,300 spyware-related items on her machine.

"It would shut itself down in the middle of doing stuff. We had lots of pop-ups. The (CD-ROM) drawers would pop open," the mother of two complained. "It's frustrating. We spent $1,800 on our computer and we didn't want to use it."

Until the machine was cleaned up, Dye and her husband would make 2 1/2 hour trips to the nearest mall to avoid shopping online. "We use it every day now again," she said.

Spyware was found on the computers of 80 percent of participants in the study, conducted by America Online Inc. and the National Cyber Security Alliance.

-snip-

(Excerpt) Read more at chron.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Editorial; Extended News; Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: exploit; getamac; internetexploiter; lowqualitycrap; microsoft; patch; securityflaw; spyware; trojan; virus; windows; worm
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1 posted on 10/31/2004 10:16:57 AM PST by quidnunc
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To: quidnunc

BTTT


2 posted on 10/31/2004 10:18:30 AM PST by Fiddlstix (This Tagline for sale. (Presented by TagLines R US))
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To: quidnunc

Spybot S&D, AdAware, and Hijack This! do wonders to prevent malware from taking over one's computer. All are freeware available on the WWW.


3 posted on 10/31/2004 10:19:15 AM PST by peyton randolph (tag...you're it.)
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To: quidnunc
As part of a government-backed study, technicians visited

Finally. Government action! Government solved the SPAM problem and they can solve spywear.

4 posted on 10/31/2004 10:19:45 AM PST by Drango (NPR- When government funds a "news" outlet that has a bias...it's no longer news...it's propaganda.)
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To: quidnunc

Spyware is a serious problem, and is a total b1tch to get rid of. Hell, I'm a systems engineer and I get hit with it every now and again. They need to treat the people who develope the stuff as real criminals instead of this wrist slapping that's going on.


5 posted on 10/31/2004 10:20:12 AM PST by KoRn
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To: quidnunc

That is not "spyware". That is a redirection trojan, possibly of the Qhost variety.


6 posted on 10/31/2004 10:21:33 AM PST by RadioAstronomer
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To: peyton randolph

I love my AdAware.


7 posted on 10/31/2004 10:22:44 AM PST by Jeff Chandler (Thank you Rush Limbaugh-godfather of the New Media.)
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To: quidnunc

Anyone who isn't running a firewall, and an up-to-date
anti-virus package, needs to assume that not only is
there spyware present, but also:

- some of it is keylogging everthing they do, including
usernames, passwords, account numbers, and sending it out

- the machine is a sleeper zombie. When the next major DDoS
attack happens, your machine could be one of the attackers.

Even the free version of ZoneAlarm is a decent firewall,
and unlike most others, alerts you to spyware trying to
phone home (outgoing traffic, not just inbound probes).
http://www.zonelabs.com/store/content/home.jsp

Any of the anti-virus products are fine.

Several sites offer free spyware scanners.


8 posted on 10/31/2004 10:23:23 AM PST by Boundless (bin Laden is running an IQ test next Tuesday. Score high on it.)
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To: quidnunc
"Spyware was found on the computers of 80 percent of participants in the study, conducted by America Online Inc. and the National Cyber Security Alliance."

AOL itself is one big piece of spyware.

9 posted on 10/31/2004 10:24:19 AM PST by DaGman
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To: peyton randolph

I'm using ADware and running that program at least once a month keeps me clean.


10 posted on 10/31/2004 10:26:58 AM PST by lilylangtree (Veni, Vidi, Vici)
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To: lilylangtree

I run mine every couple of days after getting whatever updates are out there. I have a friend who doesn't ever run the spy checkers I've installed on his computer. I run them when I go over and always find at least 100 objects to delete.


11 posted on 10/31/2004 10:32:08 AM PST by babaloo999 (Liberals say they're "Progressive". So is cancer.-------------------they're, their, whatever)
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To: quidnunc
Practice safe surf:
Adaware backed up by Spybot. Run Adaware every day on bootup and Spybot once a week. ZoneAlarm personal firewall. And the best anti-virus: AVG.
All of these tools are free online. Make sure you keep them updated with the latest versions.
12 posted on 10/31/2004 10:33:23 AM PST by Sisku Hanne (Deprogramming the left, one truth at a time.)
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To: lilylangtree
I'm using ADware and running that program at least once a month keeps me clean.

SpyBot Search & Destroy and AdAware each pick up a few things the other misses. I run both.

HiJack This! is great if somehow your Internet browser has been hijacked by malware (such as a forced new home page, extra buttons and tool bars, etc.).

I use these in addition to having McAfee Antivirus and the freeware version of ZoneAlarm (firewall). A pain, but easier than cleaning up the mess made by a hacker.

13 posted on 10/31/2004 10:35:14 AM PST by peyton randolph (tag...you're it.)
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To: ShadowAce

bump....


14 posted on 10/31/2004 10:35:15 AM PST by JoJo Gunn (More than two lawyers in any Country constitutes a terrorist organization. )
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To: quidnunc

The search engine toolbars are some of the worst offenders. Do not EVER download the Google or Dogpile toolbars. You will regret it forever.


15 posted on 10/31/2004 10:36:20 AM PST by PLK
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To: Sisku Hanne

"And the best anti-virus: AVG. "

You ever notice that in the options section of AVG you can enable support for Microsoft email, but not for any other email client such as Mozilla?(They don't support them and that they will someday)

What is with that...and are people at risk with there email if they use AVG?


16 posted on 10/31/2004 10:37:36 AM PST by Revel
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To: peyton randolph
Spybot S&D, AdAware, and Hijack This! do wonders to prevent malware from taking over one's computer. All are freeware available on the WWW.

Haven't ever been hijacked but I'll add the Hijack This! proggie to my frontline defenses.

Lavasoft just released a new version of Adaware free version, works alot faster and has some useful add-ons.

Also, AVG, a freeware Anti-Virus is a must, easy to keep updated.

Outpost is a good freeware firewall
3S (System Security Suite) I use to clean the crap out of my hard drive after an internet session.
AnalogX's Cookie Wall and POW! to stop the cookies and pop-ups.

All of the software mentioned is freeware and available for download on the internet. Just Google on the names mentioned and you're on your way to safer surfing.

17 posted on 10/31/2004 10:37:55 AM PST by woofer
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To: quidnunc

I'm afraid to go to Drudge anymore because it installs Szonfi desktop(?) which tries to dial out. I run spybot quite often and all the stuff seems to come after visiting Drudge.


18 posted on 10/31/2004 10:39:19 AM PST by plushaye (President Bush - Four more years! Thanks Swifties.)
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To: quidnunc

Though there are great free programs to rid a computer of these foul programs .What I consider, illegal hijacking of a person computer. There should be laws against this, with those companies engaging in this tactic fined heavily and shut down if it continues. It's an invasion of privacy, as well as malicious tampering with ones computer.


19 posted on 10/31/2004 10:40:22 AM PST by Cutterjohnmhb
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To: plushaye

I've never run into that problem with Drudge.

Try using Firefox or at least disable activeX and Javascript in IE.


20 posted on 10/31/2004 10:42:22 AM PST by MediaMole
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To: Jeff Chandler
I love my AdAware.

I run mine every 3 or 4 days....I always get between 5 and 25 of the exact same thing "Tracking something or other"...how about you? I don't even know what that is, but I sure as hell give it the quarantine treatment.

21 posted on 10/31/2004 10:44:59 AM PST by ErnBatavia (Democrats: appear in September, leavin' November 3 - worse than a 1-night stand...)
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To: PLK

Never had a problem with the Google toolbar . . . .


22 posted on 10/31/2004 10:45:15 AM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: quidnunc
I have little sympathy for David Eckstein or anyone else who has Commie News Network as their home page.
23 posted on 10/31/2004 10:46:58 AM PST by ASA Vet (Don't argue with an idiot; people watching may not be able to tell the difference)
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To: quidnunc

I hate to say this (dons flameproof suit) but it is time:

It is time for an enterprising lawyer to file suit against these spyware companies, either invasion of privacy or bill them for messing up computers, win even a small amount (say $500), and open the door for millions upon millions to sue these companies into extinction.

gosh, I'm too harsh. 8)


24 posted on 10/31/2004 10:47:10 AM PST by F15Eagle
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To: quidnunc

Like everything else to do with computers, you just have to learn to deal with it.

The major anti-spyware programs have already been mentioned. I have also occasionally found it necessary to clean up my Registry after deleting some of these programs.

I use RegCleaner. I hesitate to recommend this or any other registry cleaner because they can be very dangerous, but so far it has worked for me. Some programs have just refused to let go until I removed the registry entries.


25 posted on 10/31/2004 10:48:10 AM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: Revel
I never took notice of that but it would be great if they supported Mozilla.
I use MailWasher(freeware) to scan my ISP's email(personal) and my Hotmail account(online auctions & registrations) before the messages are downloaded- you can block the senders and bounce their emails back, and by deleting before download, they don't get confirmation that your addy is "live".
My Yahoo email(boards & forums) never seems to be a problem- seems they do well with scanning and removing spam.
26 posted on 10/31/2004 10:48:22 AM PST by Sisku Hanne (Deprogramming the left, one truth at a time.)
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To: peyton randolph
Spybot S&D, AdAware, and Hijack This! do wonders to prevent malware from taking over one's computer. All are freeware available on the WWW.

Are there any compatibility issues/conflicts with the Norton Internet Security firewall?

27 posted on 10/31/2004 10:49:37 AM PST by Maceman (Too nuanced for a bumper sticker)
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To: Sisku Hanne

bookmark


28 posted on 10/31/2004 10:53:14 AM PST by Ruy Dias de Bivar (DEMS STILL LIE like dirty dam flea biten stinkin tick infested s*** eatin yellow dogs.)
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To: Maceman
Are there any compatibility issues/conflicts with the Norton Internet Security firewall?

Shouldn't be but can't confirm. I run them with McAfee Antivirus and ZoneAlarm's free firewall without any problem.

29 posted on 10/31/2004 10:53:30 AM PST by peyton randolph (tag...you're it.)
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To: peyton randolph
I installed Ad Aware the other day and immediately my computer shut down. Rebooted and the same thing happened. This time when I rebooted I uninstalled Ad Aware and haven't had a problem since.

I've got Stop Sign which cost $4.oo a month and keeps my machine clean and Armor2Net as a firewall...it works great!!

30 posted on 10/31/2004 10:58:14 AM PST by jellybean
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To: quidnunc
I had that happen to me. Some homepage called "about" kept replacing my homepage and would not let me go to certain sites. I have a firewall, norton anti-virus (which I update every few days), and spybot. I could not get the stupid thing off. Every time I would change my homepage back, it would get changed back to this "about" search page. Finally, I got on the internet and found how to solve it. I had to go into the about page, copy the first line of code and paste it at a website that told me what the file was called, then go into windows and rename that file (it won't let you delete it). It was fixed after all of that. That was the only thing that would solve it.
31 posted on 10/31/2004 10:59:35 AM PST by Hendrix
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To: Cicero
Like everything else to do with computers, you just have to learn to deal with it.

Or you can get a Mac and never have to deal with it. I have both in my home (I'm gradually shifting to all Mac) and the amount of time and aggravation involved in maintaining my Windows machines is enormous. Virtually zero with my Mac.

32 posted on 10/31/2004 11:00:35 AM PST by jalisco555 ("The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity." W. B. Yeats)
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To: quidnunc; All
Help for viruses and malware:
 
 Ad-Aware ... Spybot ... Peper Uninstaller ... HijackThis... CWShredder ... Spyware Blaster ... IE Spyad ... Free online Virus scan ... AVG AntiVirus ... LSPfix ... How to Show Hidden Files ... How to boot into Safe Mode ... How did I get infected in the first place?


Things you need--(all FREE)
Anti-Virus
AVG
 Avast
Firewall
Kerio(Direct Download) Zone Alarm
 If are using zone alarm it may slow your PC. Try Outpost Firewall http://www.agnitum.com/products/outpost or Sygate Firewall http://www.sygate.com/, both have FREE and Pro versions and are heads above ZA.
Misc.
IE Spyads SpywareBlaster Spyware Guard
Windows Update- you must keep updated, it is the start of a secure system-
get all CRITICAL Updates

Things you want(Still Free)
 
 Get Firefox I use Firefox PR1 and IMHO, beats the sox off MS Explorer. Life is good with tabs. Click the link and give it a try.

Ad-Aware
Spybot S&D
SpywareBlaster
MS MVP Hosts file
Mike Lin's Homepage and get the Startup Control Panel and Startup Monitor tools.
 
The best forum for malware removal:
 http://forums.spywareinfo.com/index.php?s=262d844129208feb8b0cf5b0186a32f6&act=SC&c=4
SWI Forums--

33 posted on 10/31/2004 11:01:35 AM PST by backhoe (Just an old Keyboard Cowboy, ridin' the Trackball into the Dawn of Information...)
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To: peyton randolph
Spybot S&D, AdAware, and Hijack This! do wonders to prevent malware from taking over one's computer. All are freeware available on the WWW.

None of them does a complete job, but I'd highly recommend them all. I especially like Spybot for a few of its extra features: Tea Timer, which guards against any registry changes, and the Tools, by which you can monitor various settings/registry entries. Using these and a good firewall and virus software will keep a system clean.

But, you know, there "oughta be a law" to crack down on this nonsense: there needs to be some recourse against the perpetrators. Now, if Edwards could file class action lawsuits against them, instead of obstetricians, I'd begin to have some respect for him...maybe. (But not likely.)

34 posted on 10/31/2004 11:01:36 AM PST by Nevermore (Mad as Zell)
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To: quidnunc
Dealing with Spyware and Adware
35 posted on 10/31/2004 11:04:00 AM PST by happydogdesign
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To: Hendrix
Hendrix wrote: I had that happen to me. Some homepage called "about" kept replacing my homepage and would not let me go to certain sites. I have a firewall, norton anti-virus (which I update every few days), and spybot. I could not get the stupid thing off. Every time I would change my homepage back, it would get changed back to this "about" search page. Finally, I got on the internet and found how to solve it. I had to go into the about page, copy the first line of code and paste it at a website that told me what the file was called, then go into windows and rename that file (it won't let you delete it). It was fixed after all of that. That was the only thing that would solve it.

Do you have specifics on this?

My son has this problem with About.com defaulting as his home page.

I have a Mac so I couldn't help him.

36 posted on 10/31/2004 11:05:55 AM PST by quidnunc (Omnis Gaul delenda est)
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To: jalisco555

I was going to post the same thing about Mac. Apple's fraction of sales is so small that the platform is ignored by the creeps that write viruses, malware, spyware, etc. Just the same, I run a Linksys router with NAT, NetBarrier X3 that doesn't allow my machine to be a server or call out and Norton Antivirus. So far, no problems.

Now if only Apple would solve the bit-rot problem in Safari.


37 posted on 10/31/2004 11:07:35 AM PST by ProtectOurFreedom
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To: peyton randolph

Also WinPatrol at www.winpatrol.com

this program will advise you of any attempts to change your registry.


38 posted on 10/31/2004 11:09:14 AM PST by Trepz
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To: peyton randolph

I am a VERY savvy computer geek and I can't figure out how to download adaware...pls help.


39 posted on 10/31/2004 11:10:38 AM PST by paulat
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To: ProtectOurFreedom
"Apple would solve the bit-rot problem in Safari."

Is that where it starts getting really slow to open and The Magic Multicolored Beachball of Eternity spins away? I use Firefox now. But it too has quite a few problems.

40 posted on 10/31/2004 11:12:44 AM PST by avg_freeper (Gunga galunga. Gunga, gunga galunga)
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To: ProtectOurFreedom

Part of me wants the Mac market share to grow so there'll be more Mac games written while the other part dreads the consequences of this.


41 posted on 10/31/2004 11:12:46 AM PST by jalisco555 ("The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity." W. B. Yeats)
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To: paulat

http://www.download.com/3000-2144-10045910.html


42 posted on 10/31/2004 11:14:12 AM PST by Drango (NPR- When government funds a "news" outlet that has a bias...it's no longer news...it's propaganda.)
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To: Drango

THANK YOU, Drago...MUCH more clear than the software's own site!!! I owe ya one!!!


43 posted on 10/31/2004 11:17:48 AM PST by paulat
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To: PLK
(Do not EVER download the Google or Dogpile toolbars. You will regret it forever.)

I've been using the Google tool bar since it first came out but I also use Spybot running in the background and Adaware about once a week I have yet to have a problem with Google I even ran the Yahoo toolbar for awhile but uninstalled it mostly because it was unnecessary.IMO instant messengers are a bigger threat, they're like a magnet for spyware and viruses.P2P networking is another one.As an added bonus once I removed these programs the kids only use the computer for homework like they're supposed to.
44 posted on 10/31/2004 11:23:11 AM PST by edchambers (Where are we going and why am I in this hand-basket?)
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To: quidnunc

Lots of good tools mentioned here, but I have found that cautions are in order with two of them:

1. Hijack This! will cheerfully allow you to remove things you might want to keep. I have the Microsoft 'View Partial Source' applet installed for example. It appears in the scan that HT does- as do a lot of things that I have installed on purpose. If you just remove everything that it presents you with, you might lose some little extras that you like and wanted to keep. Take your time and kill off the stuff that doesn't belong there, rather than taking a blanket approach.

2. AVG is pretty good as an antivirus, but I am not convinced that it will always remove what it finds. I have seen systems that had viruses that an up-to-date AVG install couldn't clean. Other measures had to be taken to remove the infection.
What I do like about AVG is that it has a very small system resource footprint. It doesn't lag your system out like the Big Two tend to. And it isn't constantly squawking for more money.
Does anybody have any good info on the effectiveness of the paid version of AVG?


45 posted on 10/31/2004 11:25:26 AM PST by Riley (Need an experienced computer tech in the DC Metro area? I'm looking. Freepmail for details.)
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To: quidnunc
I ran into such a Trojan a year or so ago, I also discovered the ultimate cure for it:

Firefox

46 posted on 10/31/2004 11:27:58 AM PST by Brett66 (Dan Rather, the most busted man in America.)
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To: backhoe

Another good one you might check out is SpySweeper, available at www.webroot.com

It does a very good job; I own a computer shop, and deal with this stuff all the time. Spysweeper seems to be the best overall to me, but even it leaves things behind that Spybot and Adaware will clean up behind it.


47 posted on 10/31/2004 11:29:02 AM PST by GaltMeister (I'm just a Pajamahadeen cog in the wheels of the VRWC.)
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To: backhoe
I had to click on all those links and then some to get rid of persistant spyware pop up problems. However, the 'search and destroy', ad-aware, hijack this did no good as they kept reinstalling on reboot. I finally read where I should download Win Inspector freeware.

http://www.windowsstartup.com/Startup Inspector for Windows is a Windows™ platform software that helps Windows™ user to manage Windows™ startup applications. On www.windowsstartup.com, there are more than 4,100 known programs in the database. Startup Inspector for Windows can thus provide a consultative information on the programs that are running at your Windows startup process....

Scans all programs that are in the Windows Startup Folder, Registry and provide you with a background information of the program.

Remove harmful programs like spyware, virus, dialers, make your system healthier.

Remove unnecessary programs like reminders, monitors, improve your systems performance.

48 posted on 10/31/2004 11:31:12 AM PST by monkeywrench
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To: Riley

Also Hijack This is an advanced tool...beginners stay away. It provides very little support and it really is a tool for experts (I'm not one:-)


49 posted on 10/31/2004 11:31:28 AM PST by Drango (NPR- When government funds a "news" outlet that has a bias...it's no longer news...it's propaganda.)
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To: Revel
What is with that...and are people at risk with there email if they use AVG?

People aren't at risk with e-mail because the active shield that AVG uses will notify you as soon as a virus gets on your machine.
50 posted on 10/31/2004 11:31:29 AM PST by Beaker (They're coming to take me away haha...)
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