Spyware & Adware
Spyware and adware are relatively new
threats, but one of the most dangerous we have seen. The motivations behind
spyware and adware are to profit from you either through legal or illegal means
but almost always deceptive.
Spyware and adware almost always
collect information about you and send it back to the creators of the spyware.
The methods used to collect information can get scary. Keyboard logging, web
form logging, and system scanning are just a few of the methods used to collect
If you are still using Internet
Explorer, AOL's browser or any other that came with your internet service, you
are extremely vulnerable to spyware attacks. The best solution is to switch to
a different browser. We highly recommend Firefox with the Google toolbar,
because it is much safer and faster than Internet Explorer. Firefox has a track
record of fixing security flaws in less than a week from announcement.
While, Microsoft patches Internet Explorer quite regularly, there almost always
remains known vulnerabilities that are not patched. This is because of
Internet Explorers close integration with the operating system and other
The simplest form of spyware collects
information about what you use your computer for and which websites you visit in
order to target pop-up or pop-over ads to you. The sources of these types of
spyware are numerous. Bells and whistles type programs such as screen savers,
search bars, and weather monitors are common covers for this type of spyware.
Some of the more popular applications that include spyware are DivX and Kazaa.
Their development is paid for by the ads they deliver. If you want these types
of applications, it is highly recommended to pay for the no ad supported
Two industries that are the biggest
sources of revenue behind producing Spyware are pornography and the Russian
mafia. They account for over half of this nasty software.
If you do anything online such as
internet banking or shopping, you are at a very high risk if you are not
protecting yourself against spyware. It is estimated that over 92% of home
computers are infected with some sort of spyware. It is not unusual for an
unprotected computer to have over 100 forms of spyware on them. Simply put, if
you connect to the internet and do not run an anti-spyware application you have
Unlike antivirus vendors,
anti-spyware vendors do not share information. This leaves big gaps in almost
every anti-spyware application, and makes controlling spyware even more
difficult, but there are still good solutions.
Over 90% of all spyware gets on a
computer by exploiting security holes in Internet Explorer (IE). At the time of
this writing there were over 40 know holes in IE without patches available from
Microsoft. A great first step is to switch to Mozilla Firefox. (http://www.mozilla.com)
This is the descendant of Netscape, and is now a world class browser that has
made a leap ahead of Internet Explorer in features and speed.
Two very good free anti-spyware
Spybot Search & Destroy:
Adaware Personal SE: