Skip to comments.Tangled in Spyware:
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.
(Excerpt) Read more at chron.com ...
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.
Finally. Government action! Government solved the SPAM problem and they can solve spywear.
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.
That is not "spyware". That is a redirection trojan, possibly of the Qhost variety.
I love my AdAware.
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).
Any of the anti-virus products are fine.
Several sites offer free spyware scanners.
AOL itself is one big piece of spyware.
I'm using ADware and running that program at least once a month keeps me clean.
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.
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.
The search engine toolbars are some of the worst offenders. Do not EVER download the Google or Dogpile toolbars. You will regret it forever.
"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?
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.
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.
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.
I've never run into that problem with Drudge.
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.
Never had a problem with the Google toolbar . . . .
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
Also WinPatrol at www.winpatrol.com
this program will advise you of any attempts to change your registry.
I am a VERY savvy computer geek and I can't figure out how to download adaware...pls help.
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.
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.
THANK YOU, Drago...MUCH more clear than the software's own site!!! I owe ya one!!!
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?
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.
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.
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:-)