An Extension To Attention

There are times when Internet predictions are simply too easy. Last Monday, on these pages, there was an indication that there would be an increase in malware because of the news of the swine flu problem. Regrettably, this has come true. There has been an increase in spam, phishing, malware, and other nefarious online activity.

For this reason, the suppliers of SUPERAntiSpyware were asked if they would extend their promotion with us. They have extended the generous offer to our readers until May 8, 2009 to save ten dollars off the normal purchase price.

The other reason for extending this offer for our readers is that it gives an opportunity to address an issue that one of the commenters raised. There was a question about who in the security community recommended this product. Well, names can be listed and we will do so briefly:

  • Our very own Kat is a four-year Microsoft MVP in the area of Windows security. Kat has been working on malware-removal forums for nearly seven years now, and is an administrator at GeeksToGo. She highly recommends this program on a regular basis.
  • Catherine Forsythe and her software assessment group recommends this program. Catherine has been assessing security programs for over a decade now.
  • Mike Healan from the original SpywareInfo site and newsletter began recommending this product when it was first introduced.
  • Sean Roe, another Microsoft MVP and owner of 247Fixes calls SAS an excellent program.
  • All of the malware-removal Web sites that are “heavy hitters” in this field recommend this program to their users. The list of sites includes (but is far from limited to): GeeksToGo, BleepingComputer, SypwareInfoForum, and What the Tech.

We could go on and on, but there should be a point made here. No security program is absolutely faultless. Given the nature of the Internet and the pace of infections, absolute guarantees just do not happen. However, that being said, pains are taken to recommend the very best available. There may be disputes about which program is the most effective and that is bound to happen. What is recommended has been vetted thoroughly by literally hundreds of experts in this field on a regular basis. Each and every one of them still recommends this program to literally thousands of people every single day.

IF there was a dubious program recommended, the inbox would feel it within hours of the program being featured. This does not happen. One person raised an issue. Nevertheless, let there be no doubt whatsoever that computer security and keeping your data safe are taken seriously here. It would be wonderful if no security products were needed. That is not going to happen any time soon. Therefore, we present serious security software to our readers and do hope that, with the good prices, some time and focus will be paid to keeping the computer safe. It matters because it can have an impact upon you and others online.

Would You Want Microsoft To Protect Your PC?

Microsoft has been trying for several years to try and persuade consumer to use their anti-virus/spyware combo software. They first tried offering protection to us with their OneCare software products. I used OneCare while it was in beta testing. It appeared to work properly and also offered some other features such as backup/restore in addition to the standard anti-virus/spyware protections. At first companies like Symantec and McAfee felt threatened until consumers failed to embrace the new product from Microsoft.

I recall many had the opinion that allowing Microsoft to protect our systems was like letting the fox guarding the hen house. With products like AVG and Avast offering free anti-virus/spyware protection there didn’t seem a reason to use a Microsoft product. In a press release Microsoft states:

“Customers around the world have told us that they need comprehensive, ongoing protection from new and existing threats, and we take that concern seriously,” said Amy Barzdukas, senior director of product management for the Online Services and Windows Division at Microsoft. “This new, no-cost offering will give us the ability to protect an even greater number of consumers, especially in markets where the growth of new PC purchases is outpaced only by the growth of malware.”

Built on Microsoft’s award-winning malware protection engine, “Morro” will take advantage of the same core anti-malware technology that fuels the company’s current line of security products, which have received the VB100 award from Virus Bulletin, Checkmark Certification from West Coast Labs and certification from the International Computer Security Association Labs. The new solution will deliver the same core protection against malware as that offered through Microsoft’s enterprise solutions, but will not include many of the additional non-security features found in many consumer security suites.

So I have a question for you. Will you be using the new Morro on your system? Share your thoughts with us.

Comments welcome.


Special Gnomie WinPatrol Savings

Malware and spyware can infect your computer without your knowledge. Even if you are very cautious, a whole load of problems can happen with a simple mis-click or the wrong push of a button. Heck, your system can even become infected without your having to actually do anything. Some malicious sites have what are called “drive-by” malware installers. Their junk will install on your system without you having to do anything at all. Don’t worry, if you surf safe and stay away from unsavory sites, you shouldn’t have to worry about those. How do you surf safe? It’s simple, really:

This is where WinPatrol becomes critical to having a secure computer. Like a trusty watchdog, WinPatrol gives out a warning when there are any changes attempted on your machine. The icon for WinPatrol is (appropriately enough) a little “scotty” dog. This program runs in the background, and takes up little of your computer resources. You will notice WinPatrol when it spots a potential problem. You will be warned.

WinPatrol is on many “must have” lists. A recent example is Steve Erbach. This is a program that has an excellent history – and countless recommendations over the years. WinPatrol has been available for over ten years, thanks to the work of Bill Pytlovany. The improvement functions packed into this program will surprise you. Here is a list from Bill, with the included functions of WinPatrol.

For the Lockergnome / Chris Pirillo readers, we have an exceptional offer. Until February 17, 2009, we have a ten-dollars-off ($10.00) feature from WinPatrol. Use this link with coupon code Gnomes.

Consider this our Valentine’s gift to you (indeed, it would be a great ‘geek’ gift). This is a program that many trusted security people recommend. At this special price, it is more than affordable security software that will keep your computer settings under constant surveillance. Remember, this offer does end on February 17, 2009.

Malware Knows No Bounds

Just when you think you have seen it all, I today discovered this article that describes what I would call one of the most creative means of spreading malware that I have seen in a very long time. Imagine having someone who is not “aware” of malware in the same sense that we are, coming across a flier on their windshield. The paper explains that they are in some sort of violation of some random parking statute and you need to view some listed Web site for more information.

Once at home, the individual then browses to the Web site only to be prompted to install a toolbar to enable them to “better view” other included pictures of the car in violation, or something to that point. And so comes an unwanted piece of software that has nothing to do with anything other than lining someone’s pockets. Each toolbar installation likely pays the recipient with the affiliate I.D. a sum for each successful install.

Pretty scary, huh? I certainly thought so as this could be honed to target just about anyone who is not familiar with this type of scam right up front. To make matters worse, it is probable that the toolbar, while unwanted, would sit there while the user continues along with the daily routine. And without knowing the privacy policy of said toolbar, who knows if this is a simple matter of unwanted software being maliciously installed or actual spyware itself? Brilliant in its simplicity, I would be the first to point out that the individual that tries this in real life is taking a real chance of having the snot beat out of them should they try this and end up being caught. Call it a hunch.

How Did I Get Infected With Antivirus 2009?

I have Norton Internet security, yet my computer has been infected with the Antivirus 2009 program. How can this happen and how do I get rid of it? — Glenn

Your question underscores an often mistaken mindset of many computer users: “If I have security software in place, I shouldn’t get any infections.” Nothing could be further from reality.

Anti-virus/anti-spyware programs as well as firewalls are of no protection if the user of the computer decides to click on links that generate malicious code or download and run questionable files.

The user’s interactions can easily override the installed protection and in some cases, actually disable your protection programs, but make it look like they are still running.

The fake anti-virus program scams actually started last year as “Antivirus 2008” and it was so successful that it lives on as many variations including “Antivirus 2009.” A clever author of malware discovered a sneaky way to fool folks into installing malicious software into their computers, THEN extract money from them by posing as a legitimate program for removing the malicious software.

The reason that this approach has been so successful is that they very closely mimic Windows warning screens and legitimate antivirus programs. Virtually every legitimate antivirus company has a product called Antivirus 2009, which further confuses the uninitiated.

The most common ways to come in contact with this infection include maliciously coded Web sites that popup a warning message that you are infected, e-mail messages that trick folks into clicking on a link, Web sites that claim you need to download software in order to see a posted video and links or downloads that are spread through social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook as well as all of the Instant Messaging systems.

At this point in time, any form of popup or error message that refers to Antivirus 2008 or 2009 (including System Antivirus, Ultimate Antivirus, Vista Antivirus, Pro Antivirus or XP Antivirus followed by a number) should be considered extremely suspicious.

If you ever see any reference to a virus that is not specifically from the product that you have installed in your computer for protection, you should consider it to be a fake (Windows, itself won’t ever alert you of a virus infection).

In the same token, any Web site that claims that you need to download a new video program or “codec” in order to view a video should be considered a threat.

Users of file sharing networks are at a high risk of contracting malicious software as it’s often hidden within what appears to be a legitimate program (referred to as a Trojan).

The writers of malicious code count on users that are not really paying attention and at this point, they are fooling people by the millions around the Internet. This type of infection is amongst the worst that I have seen in my 20 years of servicing computers.

Getting rid of the code once it has infected your system can be very involved and is different for the various versions of the infections, so don’t attempt this without help if you are a novice.

Start by identifying the exact version of the malware that you have and placing it in quotation marks followed by the words ‘removal instructions’ in Google (Ex: “Antivirus 2009” removal instructions).

WARNING: There are so many people infected with this family of malware that many new scam programs that claim to specifically clean the code have popped up. Some appear to be free programs that will only scan your system for free, but charge you to remove the code and often they don’t even do that properly.

Since there are so many different variations of this infection, the exact steps are going to be based on the exact version of the malware that you have.

In our service business, we use a combination of several manual detection and removal processes (again, based on the exact version of the infection) along with multiple scanning programs to ensure that all potential re-infection avenues (temp files, restore points, modified dll files, etc.) have been removed or restored.

Depending upon how long and which version of the malware you have, you may also need to run a Windows repair after you remove the code as certain Windows files can become corrupted as a side effect.

If you know how to work with the Windows registry, operate in Safe Mode and have a current backup of your critical files, you should be able to find instructions online for removing the exact version of the infection that you have.

If not, consult a tech savvy friend or a professional as removing this infection properly (so that you don’t re-infect) is not for the novice.

Ken Colburn
President of Data Doctors Computer Services, Host of the award-winning Computer Corner radio show, and Author of Computer Q&A in the East Valley Tribune newspapers.

SUPERAntiSpyware For Lockergnome Readers

There should be an image here!SUPERAntiSpyware has secured terrific consumer reviews and continues to have wide support in the security community.

Protecting your computer and your personal data is serious business. We do not take the problem lightly and we have vetted this software thoroughly with people who fight spyware and malware on a daily basis. This review was done over weeks by an assessment team. SUPERAntiSpyware comes highly recommended.

The details are provided on the promotion page where Lockergnome readers receive a healthy 33% discount. The latest version of SUPERAntiSpyware is available for $19.95 and this offer is good until December 9th, 2008.

System Requirements: Windows 98, 98SE, ME, 2000, 2003, XP, or Vista

The discount is available through this link.

You can read about the program here.

About SUPERAntiSpyware

The founder of this product is Nick Skrepetos. Nick is well known for products like Pop-Up Stopper and SuperAdBlocker. These are well known and ‘super’ products. He brings decades of experience to the spyware wars. Nick and his team are in anti-spyware forums and keep tabs on current issues. That is important because dangers may appear daily and protection/security programs must be nimble enough to respond quickly. Nick stands behind this product, and emails/questions are answered.

SUPERAntiSpyware has an active user support system. If there are questions about the program, there is a means to receiving assistance. The product also has its own forum.

This is a recommended product at an excellent value for Lockergnome people. Buy it. Install it. Use it and protect your computer. This is a great gift that keeps on giving throughout the year. Shopping problem solved!

Microsoft Plans Free Security Offerings

Microsoft is planning a new security offering code name ‘morro’, which the software giant hopes with curb the tide of malware infecting our systems. In addition Microsoft will stop making the paid subscription version of Windows Live OneCare effective June 30, 2009.  According to the press release Microsoft states:

“Customers around the world have told us that they need comprehensive, ongoing protection from new and existing threats, and we take that concern seriously,” said Amy Barzdukas, senior director of product management for the Online Services and Windows Division at Microsoft. “This new, no-cost offering will give us the ability to protect an even greater number of consumers, especially in markets where the growth of new PC purchases is outpaced only by the growth of malware.”

Built on Microsoft’s award-winning malware protection engine, “Morro” will take advantage of the same core anti-malware technology that fuels the company’s current line of security products, which have received the VB100 award from Virus Bulletin, Checkmark Certification from West Coast Labs and certification from the International Computer Security Association Labs. The new solution will deliver the same core protection against malware as that offered through Microsoft’s enterprise solutions, but will not include many of the additional non-security features found in many consumer security suites.

Windows Live OneCare, one of the first all-in-one suites to be launched in the consumer market, includes a number of non-security features, such as printer sharing and automated PC tune-up. By shifting to focus on the core anti-malware features that most consumers still don’t keep up to date, “Morro” will be able to provide the essential protections that consumers need without overusing system resources, and will help more consumers have better protection against online threats.

It sounds like Microsoft may be coming out with a free version of their Windows Live OneCare product that didn’t make it commercially. Hopefully the new ‘morro’ software will consume less resources, since this seems to be what most of us are concerned with.

What do you think? Would you trust Microsoft to protect your system?

Comments welcome.


Washington A.G. & Microsoft Join Forces

The Attorney General for the State of Washington, along with Microsoft, Corp., have joined forces to take their fight directly to spyware and scareware purveyors. In a joint venture they are hoping that the A.G. will be able to sue those businesses that use scare tactics such as illicit warnings to solicit consumers to use their free online scans.

The announcement also stated:

“Microsoft is honored to assist Washington Attorney General McKenna in helping to protect consumers from online threats,” said Richard Boscovich, Senior Attorney for Microsoft’s Internet Safety Enforcement Team. “Cybercrime continues to evolve, but with public/private collaboration such as this, we can work to champion tougher laws, greater public awareness and, ultimately, stronger protections for online consumers.”

In 2005, Washington became one of the first states to adopt a law explicitly prohibiting spyware activities and imposing serious penalties on violators. The statute doesn’t stop at outlawing programs that collect personal information, but uses a broader definition of “spyware” and punishes those who mislead users into believing software is necessary for security. The law was updated last session to create additional liability for third-parties that permit the transmission of spyware and to address new types of deceptive behaviors, such as misrepresenting the need for computer repairs.

As of today, the Attorney General’s Office has filed seven suits under the statute.

Every time I read about any state or company attacking back at these scums, I feel good inside knowing something is being done. What about you?


5 Million Fake News Spam Per Hour – Is That A Lot?

Over at IT Wire they have a story about fake news articles allegedly from CNN or MSNBC, are being spoofed in an attempt to spread malware and spyware onto computer systems. The article states that the amount of fake news spam is about 5 million articles per hour. But is that a lot of spam? According to one source, a recent botnet could actually send out 7.8 billion spams per hour.

For years this has always been a problem that most of us just accept as everyday life on the Internet. We also have learned that our best defense is a reliable anti-virus/spyware program set to monitor the traffic coming into our systems. But these fake news articles are trying to attach themselves to alerts that may appear to be a valid link. What to do?

 If you haven’t subscribed to a web site’s alert service, don’t open emails that purport to be such alerts. If you have subscribed, think twice before clicking on the links. The safest approach is probably to open the real site’s home page in your browser and then navigate to the story of interest – if it’s actually there!

 In the longer term, a decent spam filter (either running on your computer, your mail provider’s server, or a third-party filtering service) should reduce the amount of spam that reaches you.

So what protections do you have in place? Have you experienced a fake news alert that contained suspected malware? What action did you take? Let us know.

Comments welcome.


Hardware Vs. Software Firewall

I recently had Zone Alarm on my computer and one of its updates stopped me from being able to access the Internet or email. I removed the software… and they came right up. Can you recommend a free firewall download? — Ken

The primary function of a firewall in the computer world is to limit access to and from other computers that are connected through a network. The Internet is the world’s largest computer network, so a firewall is an essential component to reduce the possibility of an unauthorized person gaining access to your computer via the Internet.

I have always used the ‘nightclub bouncer’ analogy to explain firewalls. Think of a firewall as a ‘bouncer’ at the door of your personal nightclub (computer). Only those that are authorized (have an invitation) are allowed to pass by the bouncer.

A nightclub with no bouncer has no way to ‘filter’ patrons as they come in, which makes it less ‘secure.’

A big mistake that will compromise the security of your nightclub (and computer) is leaving a back door open (the computer equivalent of opening file attachments that are infected), which will circumvent the security at the front door.

Unauthorized patrons can sneak in the back door and once they are inside, they can alert other unauthorized patrons on how to access the ‘back door.’

A common misconception surrounding firewalls is that they somehow prevent viruses and other malicious code from attacking your computer… nothing could be further from the truth.

Most malicious code generally comes to you as an attachment in email or text message or by visiting a Web site that attempts to silently download its malicious code (aka drive-by downloads). Once an infected file is opened or a drive-by download is executed it can completely compromise the security created by the firewall.

There are two general types of firewalls; hardware and software-based.

In general, hardware firewalls are easier to install, manage and protect a large number of computers in home or business networks all at once.

If you installed a "broadband router" which allows you to share your high-speed Internet connection with several computers, you have also installed a hardware firewall, which could be all you need if you are a conscientious Internet user.

Even if you only have one computer connected to a high-speed connection, such as a cable modem or DSL, I would highly recommend that you install a broadband router.

Software firewalls can add a second layer of protection, not so much from those that are trying to get in but as a way to alert you whenever a program is trying to access the Internet.

When your computer get’s infected by spyware, adware or identity stealing key loggers, they all try to "phone home" via your Internet connection.

A software firewall will alert you to the fact that a program is trying to access the Internet and block it until you give that program permission to do so.

For those with a technical background, this additional action is fine, but for most average users, this additional level of coverage causes a lot of heartburn (as in your case).

The heartburn comes from not knowing the difference between a valid program (such as your anti-virus, anti-spyware or other security programs) and a rogue program or in your case, how to tell the firewall which programs have permission to access the Internet.

When you first install a software firewall (or if an update resets your permissions), it will stop every access and ask your permission, which tends to drive non-technical folks up a wall.

Another issue to consider is what you do on your local network. If you need to be able to access files and drives from one computer to another on your own network, a software firewall installed on each machine can make that access more complex.

The technically astute crowd doesn’t give the Windows Firewall much credit, because in the past it did little to block outbound traffic. The latest version does a much better job and should be available in any computer that has all the current updates installed (open the Control Panel and then the Security Center to see if it is turned on).

Ken Colburn
President of Data Doctors Computer Services, Host of the award-winning Computer Corner radio show, and Author of Computer Q&A in the East Valley Tribune newspapers.

Protecting Against Spyware In Vista Part VII

In the previous installment of this article, you learned about some of the additional tools and options included with Spybot-S&D. In this final installment, we will look at Spybot-S&D’s System Startup menu, how to view a report, and the Spybot-S&D Immunization function.

The System Startup menu lists all programs that are started when Windows is started. This menu allows the user to change the path to a Startup program, or change the command used to execute the program. You can also delete any program from Startup or insert a program to be started with Windows.

To view any item in the System Startup list, select the item, and click on the info button at the top of the System Startup screen. To disable a program run at startup, or to allow a disabled program in this list to start with Windows, select the program and click on the Toggle button at the top of the screen. To change the path to a program run at startup, or to change the command options run with the program, select the program from the System Startup list, and click on the Change button at the top of the screen.

One good feature of this menu is the ability to add and configure new startup programs. To add a new program to the Startup list, click on the Insert button at the top of the screen. Make the program available to All Users On Startup, or only to the Present User. Select how the program will be run. There are three selections available:

  • Run the program as a normal program
  • Run the program as a service
  • Create an autostart group link

Provide a name for the registry entry and select the path to the executable file. A new entry with the value you enter will be added to the list of programs run at System Startup.

The View Report menu is used to generate a report of your system configuration, including the configuration used for Spybot-S&D. The results from a Spybot-S&D scan can also be included with this report.

The Spybot-S&D Immunization Function is controlled through the Spybot-S&D tab. It provides four very useful functions:

  • Permanently immunizing Internet Explorer from spyware
  • Preventing Internet Explorer from downloading known spyware installers
  • Preventing spyware from making changes to Internet Explorer configuration
  • Locking the Hosts File

To provide immunity for your browser and Hosts File, click on the icon labeled Immunize under the Spybot-S&D tab. In the first configuration panel, titled Permanent Internet Explorer Immunity, click on the Immunize button to immunize Internet Explorer. The next panel is labeled Percent Running Bad Download Blocker For Inter-checkboxes available to lock the Hosts File and to net Explorer. In the drop-down list, select Block All prevent spyware from reconfiguring Internet Bad Pages Silently. Click on Install. Explorer when immunization is activated.

In the third panel, labeled Recommended Miscellaneous Protections, click in each of the three check boxes available to lock the hosts file and to prevent spyware from reconfiguring Internet Explorer when immunization is activated. Spybot-S&D blocks all entries that are in its database.

Protecting Against Spyware In Vista Part VI

Spybot-S&D‘s Tools menu controls several tools associated with Internet Explorer and services that run at startup. One of the programs you will notice here is the Resident tool. The Resident tool is a continuously running security program. Presently, the Resident tool section provides a browser application for Internet Explorer that prevents downloads of known malicious software, such as spyware installers.

Spybot-S&D also monitors ActiveX controls currently installed on your system. ActiveX controls are categorized by color. Green entries are legitimate ActiveX controls. Red entries mark controls related to spyware. Black entries are not known to the Spybot-S&D database.

The BHOs tab displays information about Browser Helper Objects (BHOs). BHOs are small programs-often ActiveX controls-that extend Internet Explorer’s capabilities. Because they are integrated with your browser, BHOs have access to each Web site you visit. Green entries are legitimate BHOs. Red entries are associated with spyware.
Black entries are unknown to Spybot-S&D.

If you have any concerns about a BHO in this list, you can easily disable it. Click on the BHO to be disabled. At the top of the BHO window, click on the toggle button. Disabled BHOs will then appear grayed out in the BHO list.

On the Brower Pages tab, Spybot-S&D also provides protection against browser-hijacking agents that can reset the start or search page in Internet Explorer. If your browser start page or search page is changed and cannot be reset through IE, the new URL will probably show up in this list.

To reset the offending URL, and ensure the URL is added to the next Spybot-S&D update, click on the URL your browser has been redirected to. At the top of the screen, click on the Change button. Enter the new URL. After changing the URL, mail the offending address to [email protected] The URL will be added to the list of known bad URLs.

Spybot-S&D comes with its own hosts file that contains an extensive list of Web sites known for spyware that you can view on the Hosts File tab. When this file is installed, no content from any of the sites in it will be displayed. To install the Spybot-S&D hosts file, click on the Hosts File tab.

At the top of the Hosts File screen, click on Add Spybot-S&D Hosts List. The Spybot-S&D Hosts File will now be used instead of your default Hosts File. To remove the Spybot-S&D Hosts File, click on Remove Spybot-S&D Hosts List.

The Process List tab displays all processes running on your system. Although any process may be killed (stopped) through this menu, it is intended primarily as information for technical support, and to be included in a system report.

To kill a process in this list, select the process you want to kill from the list. At the top of the Process list window, click on the button marked Kill. Spybot-S&D will then stop the process.

Protecting Against Spyware In Vista Part V

After updating Spybot-S&D with the latest signatures, the next step is to run the scan of your system. To run a Spybot-S&D scan, click on the Spybot-S&D tab in the left hand navigation and click Search And Destroy. Click Check For Problems – this is the button to click to start scanning your computer.

When the scan is complete, Spybot-S&D will display the results. Problems are divided into three categories. Red entries indicate spyware. Spyware problems are always selected to be fixed by Spybot-S&D. Green entries indicate usage trackers. You probably won’t cause any problems by removing these from your system. Black entries are system internals.
Make sure you know exactly what areas of your system will be affected before removing any of these entries.

Spybot-S&D automatically selects spyware problems to be fixed, so the next step is to click on the button marked Fix Selected Problems. If there are any problems that cannot be fixed because a program is in use, Spybot-S&D will attempt to correct the program automatically the next time the system is rebooted, before the spyware program is started.

Along with running a basic scan of your computer for spyware, Spybot-S&D also includes several other tools that you can use to protect your computer. We will look more closely at these additional tools in the next article.

New Version Of SpywareBlaster Available

There is a new version of SpywareBlaster available for free download that includes the following fixes:

  • Mozilla Firefox 3 support
  • Fixed problems updating in some instances
  • Fixed errors on load
  • Fixed errors when attempting to enable/disable Firefox protection
  • Fixed hang on some Vista machines when trying to update
  • Fixed improper detection of AutoUpdate enabled status on some Vista machines
  • Fixed occasional error with AutoUpdate on limited user accounts on Windows XP
  • Many additional small bug fixes and tweaks

So what does SpywareBlaster do:

Spyware, adware, browser hijackers, and dialers are some of the fastest-growing threats on the Internet today.
By simply browsing to a web page, you could find your computer to be the brand-new host of one of these unwanted fiends!

The most important step you can take is to secure your system. And SpywareBlaster is the most powerful protection program available.

  • Prevent the installation of ActiveX-based spyware, adware, browser hijackers, dialers, and other potentially unwanted software.
  • Block spyware/tracking cookies in Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox.
  • Restrict the actions of potentially unwanted sites in Internet Explorer.
  • SpywareBlaster can help keep your system spyware-free and secure, without interfering with the “good side” of the web.

    And unlike other programs, SpywareBlaster does not have to remain running in the background.

    Get your free download from here.

    It is free for personal and educational use only.

    Comments welcome.

    Protecting Against Spyware In Vista Part IV

    Even though Vista includes its own tool for protecting against spyware, you might choose to use one of the many third party tools that are available. One such tool is Spybot-S&D. Spybot-S&D is a freeware tool that detects and removes spyware and adware from your system, and it performs this job remarkably well.

    Spybot-S&D is donation-ware from Spybot-S&D. Donation-ware means that you do not have to pay for it, but that the organization does take donations to support future development. You can obtain the latest version of Spybot-S&D from the Spybot-S&D Web site. Download the installation file, currently Spybotsd15.exe, to a temporary directory on your hard drive and you are ready to install it.

    To install Spybot-S&D, double-click on the self-extracting archive, and follow the prompts in the Setup Wizard. Spybot-S&D installs like every other Windows program you’ve ever used, with no confusing prompts or gotchas during the wizard. Once the installation is complete, you’re ready to start running Spybot-S&D.

    To start Spybot-S&D, double-click on the desktop icon. The first action to take when Spybot-S&D runs is to check for updates by clicking the Search For Updates button. This will ensure that the spyware signatures used by Spybot-S&D, and the program itself, are up to date. If there are any updates, click the Download Updates button to download and install them.

    In the next installment of this series, we will look at how to scan your computer for spyware using your newly installed Spybot-S&D program.