I have noticed recently a rash in complaints about strange things happening with people’s computer (lots of absurd pop-ups, switching of the default search engine, massive amounts of porn, that they didn’t put there, showing up in their temp files and browser history).

If something like this (or other weird things) apply to you, you have SPYWARE on your computer.

So, how to get rid of it?

Step 1) Get Spybot. A nifty little program that will get rid of spyware on your PC, and protect you from further infection. Iowa State University has some great directions on how to install and run spybot here.

Step 2). PEOPLE! STOP USING INTERNET EXPLORER!!! And start using Mozilla (I recommend Mozilla Firefox). Spyware takes advantage of holes in Internet Explorer to get on to your system. (One of the multitudinous reasons to not use it).

This is becoming less an less of an optional thing to do, and more and more of a necessary thing… It doesn’t take very long. If you are worried about bookmarks, FIREFOX AUTOMATICALLY IMPORTS THEM WHEN YOU INSTALL IT! Also, here is a link to Seven quick steps to import IE bookmarks.






6 responses to “Spyware”

  1. Pat Avatar

    I can also vouch for AdAware as an excellent remover of all things spy-related – it’s the software used by my employer, so I think that says something about the quality of the program/updates.
    I don’t mean to rain on your parade, Matt, but most spy-ware is user installed. If you really want to fix your machine, don’t install Kazaa, and that should prevent 99% of the problems, regardless of your browser of choice.

  2. Matt Avatar

    You are correct, a majority of spyware is user installed, but there are some (a growing number) like the one I mentioned that installs porn on your machine, that takes advantage of “security holes” in Internet Explorer to get on to your machine.

    AdAware is excellent as well. Your advice to avoid Kazaa, etc, is also sound. And will probably contribute to avoiding 99% of problems, tho, not actually avoid them ;)

  3. Tim Avatar

    What is Kazaa and why don’t I have any recollection of ever installing it on my computer… and yet when I just ran AdAware it found a starting 314 spy-type stuff on my computer.
    If most of this stuff is user installed, then it’s because users like me are unaware of the hidden agenda of some of the programs that we install.

  4. Mike Avatar

    Could it be perhaps you install “free” software on windoze? ;-)

  5. Mike Avatar

    :: Different Mike Here ::

    If you must use IE, be sure that you have installed all of the latest windows updates as soon as the are released, and also disable the downloading of all ActiveX controls

  6. Matt Avatar

    I am interested in this concept of “must use IE”. Josh mentioned once that he uses it as his business browser, as there are some systems that he needs to use that only work in IE. But that he uses Mozilla as his personal use browser.

    I don’t see a reason for the difference. I have e-mailed Web masters of large Web sites (u2.com for instance) letting them know that their Web site is broken. As of yet, I haven’t gotten a lot of response (I don’t have the kind of pull, being only a humble university departmental Web developer). But I figure the more voices they hear, the better.

    Can anyone give me a reason for developing a Web application that only works in one single browser?

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