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Spyware

By pctech ·
One may ask why I would start this discussion about spyware under the Security topic. Simple, I see spyware as a possible security threat. If not now, certainly in the very near future.
The term "spyware" is becoming more and more ambiguous. At it's conception, spyware was nothing more than a cookie placed on your computer to collect rather benign information about your system and your preferences on how a page was displayed when you visited a website. This is no longer the case. The only true distinction between viruses and some spyware is that the spyware does not conatin a "harmful" payload that could damage your system. Once spyware does carry a harmful payload it is then reclassified as a virus or a worm. Even this distinction is becoming muddied because spyware can have a direct effect on system performance and your ability to use your computer reliably.
So, as techs, what do we do about it? We are not limited in what we can do to rid systems of spyware. One at a time. We can do this by using the very valuable, and very free tools we can download off the intenet. As good as these applications are, they are not the definitive answer to the problems of spyware. This process is simply too slow and is more and more an ineffective method, for too many systems remain infected. Using this tactic, spyware wins. Hands down. We, as techs, must also be information sources to end users and let them know of the problems spyware creates and how to keep their systems clean. Our chances improve with this method but, too few voices to be heard by too many ears. Some lack the skills to use the tools we can help them obtain. We must teach the use of these tools as well. All for free for any true impacts to be realized in the war against spyware. I do not imply that the initial service of "cleaning" their systems should not be without a charge but, teaching them how to avoid future infections and cleaning of their own systems in the future should be a free service we provide to them. We need to inform users that some of the "tools" available to them also are spyware within themselves. Trickery is a standard practice for spyware programmers.
We can have better success as consumers. We, as consumers, need to let these advertisers know that their products will NOT be used from any company that employs the use of spyware to sell their products. A larger and more effective voice that advertisers will have to pay heed to. For this to have an impact, consumers must be resolved to stand firm in their commitment to avoid buying products sold by these companies. This method of fighting the war on spyware will have a better chance of succeeding.
What about as members of society? What can society itself do to combat the onslaught of spyware? This will take legislation. Strong, very effective legislation. Society will need to decide what is just treatment for those that invade and take over our computers. I have my own proposals but, I can not speak for society.

Mike Rankin

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Spyware Removal Virus

by eric In reply to Spyware

Someone needs to write a virus that would remove spyware from machine then send itself to everyone in your address book. Just like a worm or virus.
Like Sasser.
It would look for machines that have the spyware and infect that machine and remove the spyware.
Can we not learn from these virus writers activities, to create something good.

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by scott.quillen In reply to Spyware Removal Virus

You mean like W32.Welchia? Bad idea - first off, how do you know the 'virus' is really a 'good' virus?, second, it's still unauthorized code on your boxes, and third - these types of things create as much bandwidth problems as any other virus.

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Bad Bad Bad

by VirtualGardener In reply to

No virus is good. Sounds good on the face of it, but you sasser worm, while seemingly benign, still brought several major networks including a major airline in Canada to it's knees. Bandwidth hogs kill networks, even when they don't mean to.

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You must be joking

by QldTech In reply to Spyware Removal Virus

Not good. What about bring commercial interests who are invading users PCs under control.

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Why not? We already have a Spyware Addition Virus!

by BloodyUsername!! In reply to Spyware Removal Virus

It's called Internet Explorer.

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BLAH BLAH BLAH, BloodyUsername

by Jrats_Revenge In reply to Why not? We already have ...

You, my friend don't seem to have any direction whatsoever in your posts. From your participation in the previous posts above, I should have known better than to expect something of clarity come from you. Instead of knocking AOL, Christianity, Goverment, and MS IE, why not try a novel approach and make additional comments about this discussion that make a contribution. In my opinion you are just another holier-than-thou DLU.

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HOSTS file for partial local protection

by tech In reply to Spyware

There are a few places out there that have been collecing URLs of known spyware companies for some time. By adding these URLs to your hosts file, and having them point to localhost, spyware may get in, but has no route to get out. Some places often make an updated hosts file available to you on a weekly basis so all you need to do is overwrite the old file (though you need to make sure you don't have any usefull entries in HOSTS already). While certainly not a huge fix, it can at least stop the biggest offenders from getting your information. While not terribly practical in a corporate environment, this may be useful to some home PCs, especially if they are sans firewall.

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by justinr In reply to HOSTS file for partial lo ...

I have seen this in the KazaaLite program as an option.


What we need now is one of these spyware removal programs to autoupdate and install new HOSTS files.

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Publish home addresses

by gfblack In reply to Spyware

I don't think the spyware purveyors fully appreciate how their infections affect emotions.

A website listing their home addresses and phone numbers would enable incensed individuals to reply in kind. Or kinder.

Does anyone know of research being done in this regard?

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Phone Home

by Kaldanzia In reply to Publish home addresses

This would be awesome. I know that approach has worked around here with an issue we were having with our state Department of Transportation a couple of years ago. The workers at one of the road construction areas were putting up roadblocks during rush hours, and causing all sorts of traffic problems due to lack of common sense.

The mayor got really mad and put up a huge sign (right where everyone sitting in the jams during rush hour could see it and call on their cell phones) with the state DOT commissioner's personal phone numbers (including cell) to call for complaints (the mayor had tried everything else to get the problem solved). It was absolutely amazing how quickly things straightened up.

Maybe he should be in charge of the war on spyware?

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