With spyware becoming a larger threat, especially to dialup users, we've
decided to give out some general guidelines for removing spyware and
preventing its installation.
Spyware ranges from mildly annoying popup generators to dialers that call
foreign countries, adding huge charges to your phone bill, to spam bots
that send out a large percentage of the spam sent from the US.
Here are the tools that I use to eradicate spyware:
Search & Destroy
Make sure to update them before you run the scan, so that you catch as
much as possible.
For non-commerical use, I use both of these at the same time, because they
catch different programs. Ad-Aware has a more restrictive license, so I
don't use it within the department.
Don't download software that claims to be spyware removal software, unless
you confirm with a geek that it is, in fact, spyware removal software.
Many nasty programs purport to be spyware removal software.
In addition, I recommend moving away from MS internet explorer, in favour
of Mozilla. Mozilla is much less
likely to install programs without telling you. It also has
integrated popup-blocking and tabbed browsing.
If you still want to use IE for some things, I suggest that you install
the Google toolbar. It blocks
popups, which can be the source of spyware infestations.
In addition to these tools, make sure that the computer gets regular MS
patches and updates. Some problems can be prevented by having the
latest security patches. On windows 2000, xp, etc, there is an automatic
updater, whose settings are in the control panel.
A fully up-to-date virus scanner is also a great way to prevent the
accumulation of malware. I set the department scanners to update
themselves and scan the computer every day at 04.00.
On some systems you have to disable the "scan floppy disk" feature in McAfee,
otherwise the system will hang up at system shut down.
One of the best ways to stop spyware infestations is te be careful about
what you download and where you go on the internet. Many programs that
claim to be free actually install other programs on your computer without
asking permission. Notable examples are Gator/Claria, weatherbug, and