Saturday, February 24, 2007

Debug Your Computer

Bob, over at the Talking Tech blog, gives us a heads up that a local tech group is offering a relatively low cost service finding and removing adware, malware, viruses and such from your computer.

He references some computer guy that estimates one quarter of the world's PCs contain such software. We've discussed the issue here before. Still, I find those figures almost hard to believe.

I still wonder about this computer. I haven't gotten around to doing an ad and spyware scan. Maybe I'll do that today.

But I do have a firewall and I would think that would stop unwanted things from being sent out. I always wondered if you wouldn't see thousands of e-mails in your outbox if your computer was sending out all kinds of stuff. Upon further thinking I realized that the hackers that do this stuff probably send all of it out through a separate program you wouldn't be aware of anyway.

So, I wonder if my firewall would alert me if adware was being sent out? I believe that's what it's supposed to do. I opened up Zonelabs earlier and watched it for a while. While I could see a lot of traffic coming in, not much was going out. I guess I'm ok.

Are you?


At 10:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Firewall does not stop spyware. I use Ad-Aware (free download). Lots of others available, but I suggest you pick one and use it. Sounds like someone may have figured out a good money making business unless they are doing this for free. A one-shot cleaning is not enough. You need to install software to constantly check and clean, or it keeps coming back.

At 10:51 AM, Blogger Fred said...

But wouldn't it stop someone from putting something on your computer without your knowledge? Of course, most of the time people unknowingly install spy or adware thinking it's some other benign program. I might have well done that, but I think the firewall would have stopped surreptitious entry to my computer.

At 12:26 PM, Blogger Anon.R.mous said...

Adware + sygate firewall + AntiVir. Set antivir to download and scan each day in the middle of the night while you are sleeping and you'll be pretty good to go. If you use Firefox, you are even in better shape. Use Modzilla and you won't have email issues.

At 1:41 PM, Blogger Fred said...

Well, I finally did a spyware scan using the web site Hank Sims referred me to some time ago.

Funny that, when I opened Internet Explorer (the site said I needed to use for the scan), my firewall popped up a warning.

The first one said IE was trying to access the internet. No problem. It's supposed to.

The second one comes up after I open IE:

IE is attempting to monitor user activities on this computer. It may try to track keystrokes, mouse movements, web sites visited...."

Gee, isn't that spyware???

Anyway, after the scan was finished, it told me I had:

5 items classified as spyware
144 items " " tracking cookies
1 item " " browser helper

The annoying thing is it didn't list what the five spyware items were. I guess you have to buy something to find that out?

They might well be things I already know about.

At 2:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some programs display details of the spyware if you right-click it.

At 4:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's the name of the site Hank referred you to?

At 7:38 PM, Blogger Hayduke said...

Web browsing brings in most spyware. Firewalls mean nothing. Get a spyware program and run it often. Ad-Aware (mentioned in the first post) is a good one.

By the way, be warned. Even these programs have trouble getting them all. Some are very hard to eradicate, and once on your machine require special skills to get them out of there.

At 7:49 PM, Blogger Hayduke said...

I have thought some more about this. I imagine every major blog will be talking about this Spyware issue. This ia actually a huge problem, and the more computer users know about it the better. There are lots of places to go to learn more but for a good overview try Wikipedia at

Be warned. After reading this you might feel like tossing your keyboard in the trash.

At 5:38 AM, Blogger Fred said...

"What's the name of the site Hank referred you to?"
Trend Micro

At 12:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I use spybot, its gotten good ratings and gives a lot of information. But you might need help setting it up. You also have to keep it updated. To appeal to financial failure Fred types, its free.

Fred, don't worry about having a "zombie" computer putting out spam. It would a fitting partner to the zombie human owner putting out reactionary rants.


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