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Privacy and Security
Spyware

Spyware is the name given to snippets of code that are capable of tracking your internet and computing activities, and doing an E.T. by 'phoning home' with all the saved data.
Originating from Adware, which was intended to be a means of a person getting access to a computer programme for free, and agree to the author making money by sending a few advertising e-mails, but it has become such big business that they now use sophisticated programmes to gather and analyze information about you and your surfing habits.
Some also use very questionable methods of getting their software into your computer and can be, by design difficult to detect and remove and although some companies use legal technicalities, the term spyware is now more appropriate.

Spyware is often hidden behind free games, software. music, films, applications, programmes, even fake spyware scanners are used as a cover to get spyware into your computer.  There also been an alarming increase in the 'loaded web sites' or pop ups infecting computers.

A multi-million pound industry has been created, many companies promote themselves as Marketing solutions, make their money by

1) Delivering pop up advertisements that appear to be connected to the web page you are viewing, although some will show ads even when you are offline. They can be targeted to match your preferences and lifestyle, gained from the information they have gathered about you.

2) Selling your information to other Marketing companies.

The more computers they infect, the more advertisements they can show and the more money they make. The problem is, they show no regard to the level of disruption, interference and annoyance they cause their customers, or maybe the term 'victims' is more appropriate.

Most infections will result in nothing more than a high number of pop up advertisements or advertising emails,
The more questionable ones can -

Record the letters you type on your keyboard (keystrokes), including your passwords and credit card numbers, some create a screen shot so the author can see what you were filling in at the time

Change your computers configuration and prevent or block attempts to undo the changes.

Redirect search results to their commission earning advertisements, even display them in a copy or spoof of reputable search engines like Google or Yahoo.

Hijack your homepage and prevent you changing it.

Replace or insert advertising banners on a web page.

Redirect links to generate or steal commissions.

Some Spyware programmers are constantly seeking new ways of preventing their software being detected and removed, often hiding the programme deep in the operating system,
More recently, they have taken on the appearance and characteristics of a Trojan. Some are capable of re-installing themselves or causing damage to the computers operating system if removed.

Symptoms of a computer infected with spyware include-

Regular pop up advertisements during surfing

Pop up advertisements are delivered whilst offline

Your firewall detects an unknown programme or application regularly trying to access the internet

You receive a large amount of advertising e-mails from one or two sources.

A slower internet connection

Search enquiries are redirected to strange sites

Reduced PC performance

Homepage changed

Add a toolbar to your browser or extra buttons a toolbar.

Add items to your favourites list or icons to your desktop.

Scan your computer with a reputable software programme that will find and remove them. Once you have a programme installed, you should keep it updated and scan regularly to keep your machine clean.

There are some free versions with some facilities disabled, but if you are serious about your privacy I would recommend buying the full version for maximum protection.

Such is the scope of spyware, it is nonsense to expect a single scanner to detect all forms of spyware from your computer, I recommend you find at least 2 that you are comfortable using.

Applications to detect and remove Spyware
Product Description Online scan Free version trial version Full version Cost
A squared Comprehensive scanner for spyware and other malicious software   £16.50
Ad-Aware 07 The webs most downloaded free spyware scanner     £14.85
Antispy Exposes spyware and other malicious software     £15.98
AVG Anti-spyware Previously known as Ewido. Comprehensive, powerful spyware and trojan security suite. For Windows XP & 2000 only   £19.95
Pest Patrol powerful tool that detects and eliminates all destructive pests   £22.11
Spyware Sweeper Safely remove spyware and adware from your PC. Free trial available.     £15.98
Spybot S&D Popular free detection and removal tool commonly used in conjunction with Ad-Aware SE       £--.--
Spyware Doctor Wide ranging malware detection and removal Free trial     £22.95
Windows defender Impressive detection, removal and repair capabilities from Microsoft.       £-.-
WinTasks 5 Not a scanner, lists all processes running on your computer, including hidden background processes like spyware.     £30
X-Cleaner Collection of useful security and system cleaning utilities     £27
Applications to help prevent spyware installing
Spywareblaster Well respected FREE tool that prevents parasites being installed       £-- --
Spyware Guard Not a scanner, runs in the background to prevent installation of parasites. Sister to Spyware Blaster       £--
Spyware jammer Works in a similar way to a firewall, by examining packets passing through your internet connection, for known spyware applications to prevent installation.     £22.04
PLEASE NOTE- Where a price is quoted from a company outside the UK, the actual price may be different as it is subject to exchange rates t the time of ordering

As public awareness of the problem increases, so does demand for the solution and developers of spyware have taken advantage of this by marketing spyware scanners, that contain their own spyware. Others are offering free scans which show non existent infections, and require your to buy the software to remover them.
Spyware Warrior is doing an excellent job at of trying to keep up with them all

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Install Hijackthis

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Roguefix -
Removal tool for Rogue spyware removers & Fake Warnings
removal tool


Kill E2Give

Kill MySearch

Kill Sdbot-ADD / lockx.exe

Kill seeve.exe / mediamotors pop ups

Kill Winfixer2005

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News/Articles

New Winfixer infection displays fake Blackworm warning

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