By Peter Daley
Who could be spying on you over the Internet? Well lets see, governments, corporations, a competing business, data mining businesses, marketing organisations, and criminal gangs etc,. Spyware is all about commercial and personal information gathering. It can make big money, and is also useful for intelligence.
Spyware has become as an important an issue as virus infections, for Windows Computers. Spyware can collect personal information about your movements on the Internet, in it's most passive form, but can also collect much more sensitive personal or commercial information from your computer, such as credit card and bank account information, or commercial secrets. It can also be used to open doorways to allow much more malicious programs, viruses or Rootkits, into your commercial or private Internet connected computer.
So it is important to install a couple of good spyware scanners on you Windows computer, and run them through your computer once a week. Most people are not aware of how serious a problem this is for Windows computers, and some of the better spyware scanners can check for approx. 450,000 spyware items, and increasing. With these numbers, it is very common for one spyware tool to find spyware the other one missed.
Here are some suggested spyware scanners you can use. They are free, or can be upgraded to commercial versions if you want that extra protection.
NOTE: There are increasing numbers of malicious Spyware and Anti-virus programs out there. They're designed to trick you into installing them. They will pop up on you screen with a warning that they have found viruses, and spyware on your computer, and that you should download and install them to remove the spyware or viruses. After they're installed, they will ask you to get out your credit card and purchase the program before you can remove the detected viruses or spyware. If you do this, they will then have your credit card info, your money, plus control of your computer! Isn't the Internet a wonderful place? It is full of such ingeniousness and creativity!
At present, Spyware Doctor and Spyware Terminator are considered to be a couple of the best spyware detectors. (These have won Internet Oscars under the "Spyware Detection" category, just joking! Everyone has their favourites, and may suggest others.)
You can download a free working version of Spyware Doctor from Google.
Go to http://www.google.com or http://www.google.com.au and click on the "More" link at the top left of the Google page. A pop down box will appear, go down to the "Even More" item and click it. A "More Google Products" window will open. Now navigated down to the bottom right hand corner of this page, and click on the "Pack" item under the "Make your computer work better", heading. Now select the programs you want from the google pack. I suggest you select Spyware Doctor and one other for this exercise. The "Google Downloader” program will now be downloaded to your computer. Once it is downloaded, you will need to double click on the Google Updater program to download and install the selected programs.
Once Spyware Doctor is installed, open it and go to the "Smart Updater" button at the top Right-hand corner of the Spyware Doctor open window. When the updates are finished click the scan button and select “Full Scan”. A limited trial version and commercial version of Spyware Doctor can also be downloaded from,
Spyware Terminator can be downloaded from here, http://www.spywareterminator.com
Once you go through the process or downloading Spyware Terminator, update it, and run a full scan of your Windows computer.
Now you can't have both of these programs running at the same time, so you will have to decide which one is to be your primary protector, and disable the other. You then update it, and run it manually each week to check the other one hasn't missed anything.
The way to turn it off is to look for it's icon in the system tray. The system tray is the line of icons that appear at the bottom right corner of the task bar on your opening Windows screen. Right click it's icon, and select "Shut Down" for Spyware Doctor, or "Exit" for Spyware Terminator in the pop up list that appears. You can restart them by navigating to their icon on the desktop, or in the program menu list.
With all these programs you should read their help files, plus navigate through their settings or preferences, to make sure they're running at their full protection potential. (NOTE: In Vista you will need to right click on the program icon, and select “Run as Administrator”, in the popup list, to get them working fully.)
The next blog will be on two easy to use Rootkit scanners you can use in Windows. Read my previous blog on rootkits "What on earth is a rootkit", to get some background on rootkits.
I hope you installed and scanned your computer with the free extra anti-virus checker I suggested in the bottom of my previous blog "False Sense of Security".
My friends and I spend our time doing other things, we use Linux or Apple computers 🙂
© 2009 Peter Daley
Disclaimer: This is an amateur volunteer run service. Human error can provide incorrect information, and equipment malfunction can produce false readings. Do not rely on, or take action upon information presented on this web site or at SCCC activities, without further research. Views expressed in the pages, images, or tutorials on the SCCC Inc., web site or presented at venues, maybe the personal opinions of the relevant writers or presenters, and are not necessarily representative of those of SCCC Inc.