As with most computer threats, spyware has spawned its own hype and misinformation. To help you sidestep the drivel, we've rounded up some of the better resources: Ten Web sites that offer current information on ways to deal with spyware headaches.
Information about spyware is becoming almost as prevalent as the scourge itself. But not all of the information is reliable, and finding accurate, useful details about the many varieties of spyware is difficult even for technology professionals. To help you zero in on the best information available, we've compiled this list of Web sites. All of these sites contain up-to-date spyware information. The majority of them are geared toward both IT professionals and users. If you have a question about spyware, at least one of these sites is almost guaranteed to have the answer.
Computer Associates is one of the largest companies in the
industry. Its PestPatrol anti-spyware product is very good, and its
Directed at technology professionals, the
Counterexploitation, or CEXX.org, is a Web site dedicated to preventing the exploitation of computer users. Part of its service is an Adware/Spyware page that contains a wide variety of links to explanations of the various forms of spyware.
This site is extremely useful for advanced users, but novices might find it a bit intimidating. If you're having trouble ridding your system of a particular spyware program, CEXX.org is one of the first places you should consider looking for help. The vast resources provided by this Web site are impressive, but you'll have to dig for the information you need.
Download.com Spyware Center
Download.com is known for providing download links to nearly every type of software imaginable. However, this site also boasts a good spyware information center. Not only can you download reputable anti-spyware applications, but you can also read reviews of those products and learn how to use them.
The Download.com Spyware Center offers links to a host of spyware-related articles that are applicable for every level of user. Although you may have to click through a number of links to get the information you're looking for, if you're patient, you can find well-written articles on almost any topic you're interested in.
Sunbelt Spyware Research Center
Sunbelt Software produces one of the most comprehensive spyware resources on the Web: the Sunbelt Spyware Research Center. Much of the material is geared toward promoting its CounterSpy product, but there's a good bit of other information that's up to date and highly useful.
The Sunbelt Spyware Research Center contains a wealth of spyware-related information on topics such as spyware prevention, organized cybercrime, spyware education, corporate spyware infections, and spyware removal costs. The site is organized well and easy to navigate. Users of any level will benefit from the information provided by Sunbelt Software.
PC Pitstop provides many useful spyware articles for average computer users. IT pros may scoff at some of the titles, such as "Kids and Spyware," but the average computer user will appreciate the straightforward, informative articles.
PC Pitstop also has a spyware forum and free e-mail-based technical help. Although the ultimate goal of the site is to generate members — and revenue — for PC Pitstop, the amount of free, basic information makes this an attractive site for end users.
The SpyChecker Web site offers links for downloading a wide assortment of anti-spyware applications and utilities. The site doesn't contain much educational material, but the utilities and other links make this a useful site to visit when you're looking for software to rid your system of forms of spyware that other anti-spyware programs can't remove.
This is definitely a site for advanced users who understand spyware and Microsoft operating systems very well. Many of the tools offered at SpyChecker are written for specific spyware applications or involve highly technical operations such as cleaning the system registry of spyware-related keys.
Another Web site dedicated completely to spyware is Spyware Guide. This helpful site offers a great deal of spyware education, as well as many useful links and resources.
Spyware Guide enables you to look up any known form of spyware and receive an explanation of what it does and directions on how to remove it from your system. The list can be sorted alphabetically by program name, or you can search by spyware category or by company name. If you already know the name of the pesky program, you can simply type it in to retrieve the information. If you want an accurate description of the spyware that's infesting your system, spywareguide.com is definitely the place to go.
The SpywareInfo Web site contains quite a bit of technical information related to spyware. Aimed at advanced users, SpywareInfo also publishes a weekly spyware newsletter. You can read the Spyware Weekly online or get the latest spyware news delivered via e-mail.
SpywareInfo also hosts a user forum and a chat room. These resources are handy when you're having a spyware problem. The SpywareInfo members are knowledgeable and provide excellent troubleshooting advice.
The Spyware Warrior Web site offers tons of information about anti-spyware programs, including a list of rogue anti-spyware sites. Just because a tool or Web site claims to remove spyware doesn't mean that it actually does what it says. The Spyware Warrior site lets you ensure that a particular anti-spyware tool will do the job it says it will do.
Webroot Spyware Information Center
Webroot Software Inc. produces Spy Sweeper anti-spyware software. As part of its strategy to combat spyware, Webroot has developed the Spyware Information Center. The material contained in the center educates users about basic spyware topics, such as defining, removing, and protecting against spyware.
The Web sites listed here are excellent resources for all computer users to become familiar with. Although many are directed toward technology professionals or advanced users, novices will find enough information at some of these sites to help them learn how to recognize and eliminate spyware.
Each of these sites offers something unique. Once you become familiar with their offerings, you'll have a good idea of where to turn when you need to remove a rogue spyware application from your computer or network.