Dwight Watt Internet Article #124 3/15/2006

#124 - More Tools to combat Spyware/Adware (Watt Thoughts)

The world continues to change on spyare/adware. New versions of them appear regularly and new ways of combating it are appearing. I am going to cover the bases as they are now in fighting spyware. In addition I strongly suggest using an Anti-Virus program. Some of the more popular versions are Norton and McAfee. AVG is available for free for personal use.

To fight spy ware/adware, I suggest you load the following programs on your computer. They are all available from www.download.com (AVG may also be gotten there).
1. Spybot S and D
2. Adaware

Install each one in safe mode if necessary (preferably in normal mode, but use safe mode if spyware is so bad you cannot do anything in normal mode). Run each program for a full scan. Now restart in normal mode and do updates on each (keep running updates until the program says none are available) and run full scans again. You may have to tell the programs to run the scan at next startup to remove some spyware. If you get the prompt to do that, answer yes and once scans and repairs are finished start again. When you run Spybot, if it does it quick and you do not see a bar at the bottom of the screen take about 10 minutes gradually working across the bottom of the screen and a counter on the bottom left corner count from 1 to about 30000, do not believe Spybot when it says your machine is clean. Stop Spybot and run Check For Problems again. If still same quick scan, restart Windows and it has always run for me then correctly

Install SpywareBlaster (also available at www.download.com) and run updates and enable all protection. Spyware Blaster will not clean spyware but will block lots from getting on your computer. This is a totally different program than spyblaster. If ever given a choice to install spyblaster, do not. Spyblaster is spyware.

Windows Defender is Microsoft’s newest version of their anti-spyware program. It is still a beta product (in development and testing), but they offer it free now and web site says it is FREE in big letters so I am inclined to think it may stay free. It requires Windows 2000 SP4 or higher or Windows XP. You can go to www.microsoft.com and download Windows Defender. It is currently free, however it does require Genuine Windows validation which I have not seen give any problem. However if you know you have a hacked and stolen version of Windows it will probably refuse to let you download the program. It appears to do a good job and runs each night and scans everything coming in. So it will use a little memory. It will update automatically each night when the program does a scan if your computer is set to do scans and default I believe is at 2 AM. You can do a manual scan with it by opening program and clicking scan. By default it will do quick scans. The first time you use it I would suggest a full scan. To do that click the pull down arrow by SCAN and choose full scan. It has been on a number of bulletin boards about difficulty in finding this last itme.

I would also suggest using TrendMicro’s free online spyware scan if you are able to go on-line. Go to www.intermute.com and look atthe bottom right for Free Spyware Scan. It will take about 4 screens to install including the license. It requires an Active-X component so watch for your yellow bar if using XP SP2 Then choose Scan Now when you get the option. Once the scan is finished you will have several choices. The first one is the one to choose, not Scan Now. It is SCAN RESULTS. Then you will have a choice to repair and choose that. Run this program every month or so. It does a good job.

If you end up with still pop-ups or spyware after you finish these, then two more programs to suggest.

1. Install Adwareaway. This is a different product than Adaway which does not appear to help. This is an evaluation program (and is available at www.download.com) you will install and is good for 5 days. Then you must pay to keep using. I prefer to click on each of the four categories and Scan All. If bottom line is 0 (zero) found, then go to next type of spyware. If a different number than zero scroll back up the log and find the item with a number different than zero. Find the icon for that type spyware, etc in the right upper panel of icons and click it and then choose option at bottom to remove that one. Then do scan all again and see number you get. This is not as friendly of a program but highly effective. Keep doing this until you just get zeros.

2. Install SMITREM. This will get rid of smit type spyware others find but cannot remove. Go to http://noahdfear.geekstogo.com/ to get a copy. If you have spystriker spyware this program will remove it.

3. If you have About:Blank spyware, then the Trend Micro program should get rid of it, but if not install cwshredder which will get rid of most versions of it and CWS spyware. You can get it at www.intermute.com or www.downlload.com

If you decide you like and use these programs, I would suggest in the case of the freeware software of Spybot and Adaware that you purchase or send a donation to them. (Read the EULAs. The one at Spybot is interesting). They do not require you to buy or donate but it would be good to do. Adaware can be found in computer stores. CWShredder is freeware and has no purchase or donation request. The same for the online scan from TrendMicro, but you can buy their products in stores. Currently Microsoft says Windows Defender is free, but it is beta software (still being tested) and EULA says it will expire in December or sooner. However the way the site says free now, I think it may stay free. Previously I thought it would cost. Microsoft does have an anti-virus program coming but I have not seen it. Symantec and McAfee are supposedly taking legal action to block it. Back around 1990 Microsoft had an anti-virus program they got from another company and teh program was pretty good then, but it was for DOS and I think it was with version 4 of DOS.



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