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Is spyware replacing the virus?

Hi guys. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the computer virus would have to be outdated now since spyware seems to be more destructive. I find that with my job, I spend more time on security jobs where I have to remove spyware than I do on removing viruses. A virus usually does one thing and masquerades as a system file. Spyware on the other hand can be annoying and quite dangerous, especially to your hip pocket. Spyware such as Spy Falcon and WinFixer, which are easy to remove, just annoy the **** out of users and try to trick them into paying for software they don't actually need and does nothing in the end. I setup a clean system and knowingly put Spy Falcon on it and within the first few minutes it was telling me my system was infected and that I should pay up to protect my system, even though I knew it was clean. Spyware effects range from pop-ups, email address catching and browser hijacking right through to getting you to pay for something that does nothing or doesn't even exist. I've the latter seen it happen three times to customers over the past two weeks.

This is a serious issue and while we bust our guts and clean the systems and install software to protect the customer, the spyware makers just keep coming up with new versions of spyware that can't be removed or take longer to remove, or if removed , render the OS inoperable. Granted most spyware is made for and targeted at Windows users but I'd like to hear what people have to say on this, do you think Spyware is now a bigger threat than viruses and what do you think the worst spyware for is for Windows, Mac, *nix and other OSes.

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For Windows

by Neil Higgins In reply to Is spyware replacing the ...

it has to be programs such as,Gator/GAIN/Claria and Grokster.
Also which tracks web use patterns.
Download Accelerator Plus,can change browser settings,and transmits info to home base,without your permission.And of course "illegal" peer to peer software,with all the nasties that brings.

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Maybe the simplest trick

by nappy_d In reply to For Windows

The first foremost thing you should do is remove the users' admin privileges.

In my corporate environment, none of my users are given admin privileges. I have never had any malware or spyware because of this.

If I am correct, many of these applications require administrative privileges to install there files to your Windows directory or to add key to the [HKEY_LOCAL_COMPUTER] section of the registry; "no permission, no install".

Also since no premissions, many ActiveX controls will not run.

With ActiveX controls, if you have an Active directory infrastructure, only allow administrator approved ActiveX controls; this link will give you ammo to config controls that you trust -->,289625,sid45_gci1015063_tax299589,00.html?bucket=ETA

Finally, if you trust the "signed" ActiveX controls that are out there already, you can take a leap of faith and enable the GPO that woulld allow you to accept and trust signed controls for downloading to your computer.

If you have stand alone machines not in an Active Directory environment, you can run <gpedit.msc> from the run window to make these same local changes.

I have been doing these things for about 4 years now on w2k and XP and have never had a bout with spyware and malware.

PS, stop(if you are doing this) installing the freeware, smilies, dancing baby etc, these are also a major source of these things. Your users don't need them. If you can justify your case to your CFO, CIO or whomever, you will be much better off.

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by cmanas In reply to Is spyware replacing the ...

how do I get rid of this pest from my machine? I can't find them.

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removal aid

by noorman In reply to

try XsoftSpy (Pareto Logic)

It 's auto-updating its program & its database (if you choose to) and it finds over 43000 of them ...

I 've been using it for about 2 years; I 'm very happy with it.

I also use the freeware Spywareblaster to try and PREVENT spyware from getting to me.
The freeware has to be updated manually; the program isn't ON all the time. It 's just used to update the database and install its data where it 's needed. So, NO resources lost there.

hope this helps.

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xoftspy IS spyware

by Dr Dij In reply to removal aid

they may recently have changed but they started as a bogus spyware removal company that lied about effectiveness and may have installed spyware itself

It's kind of a pyramid scheme scam - they get a whole bunch of bogus websites promoting it and making money off it, kind of like zombie religious fanatics.

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SpyBot, Adaware, AdAware

by mintol1 In reply to

I would storngly recommend Spybot (Search and Destroy) for spyware removal. Despite the childish subtitle, it does a great job for FREE. Another free spyware removal software I recommend is AdAware - free and fast with many options. If you find your browser hijacked (going to wherever it wants as you click links on any site) you will find HijackThis to be a very powerful tool. You have to be careful when you work with HijackThis, bc it has the power of removing malicious registry keys.

All of those need to be updated manually.
With all those 3 pieces of software ran every couple of days, your PC should be clean.

Good Luck.

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Use all the free ones

by Dr Dij In reply to SpyBot, Adaware, AdAware

I'd add trendmicro's free online spyware scan, found a keylogger that m$ had not.
here's link

m$ antispyware - now called somethign else. not sure if still free.

and ca has pest patrol free online scan

spysweeper is #1 rated but you can only use it for 30 days as trial vsn; I've had it find stuff adaware didn't

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no doubt

by meson.storm In reply to Use all the free ones

spysweeper and adaware search for different types of malware
use this setup for at home use or for wondering teens (all free prograns)

AVG Free edition (Better than everything available except f-prot)
Adaware SE
Spybot S&amp
Spyware Guard
Spyware Blaster
Zone Alarm Free edition
Windows Defender BETA (as long as it is free)
Clean Up

Use of these programs will help you avoid having to use programs like High Jack This (but if you need it, it works great.)

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I agree with that combination!

by jaymanson In reply to SpyBot, Adaware, AdAware

I've always found that using a combination of Spybot (Search & Destroy), AdAware and Hijack This keeps the spyware in check on my PCs. Obviously make sure these free programs are regularly updated, and make good use of the logfile scanner at as an inexperienced user can make some destructive changes using this program!

Get them for free at:

Spybot -
AdAware -
Hijack This -

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Be careful with Freeware, you get what you pay for

by djpo001 In reply to SpyBot, Adaware, AdAware

I had been using Spybot (Search and Destroy) for many years and noticed a steady degradation of my system's speed on the net. Then it finally happened, my son went to a site and ended up with spyware that couldn't be removed by Spybot. I am an IT professional and now specialize in Information Security, so I knew to update as often as I could and made it a habit to do so weekly. It still didn't do any good. That was when I went over to the dark side and paid for my first Spyware removal program and was exceedingly pleased when it found and removed 136 different iterations of spyware. Moral of the story is in the title of my reply.

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