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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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AdAware Enterprise Version

by jagibbo In reply to Would be Nice

Lavasoft is currently developing an enterprise version of AdAware that will allow IT to remotely control and protect PC's from spyware, much like Symantec's System Center Console. Lavasoft estimated that this product will be available by late 3rd/early 4th quarter of next year.

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Only (1) got Through in (3) Months

by joeandre1 In reply to AdAware Enterprise Versio ...

Maybe I'm Crazy here but I've read of Crazier souls out there. I'm running XP Home with NO Updates of any kind, Panda AV, built-in XP firewall, Spybot to initially destroy spyware, and Spywareblaster to completely keep them out since Spybot doesn't keep Anything out. Without Spywareblaster just 24 hours after getting rid of them they're all back in full force. As far as I'm concerned Spywareblaster is the most effective tool out there in this war.
In 3 months time only (1) has gotten by but it's never been back. And concerning Updates I re-installed XP 3 months ago to get rid of all the garbage we seem to collect over time, and have never installed even one of them, and my computer has never run better.
Personally I think the biggest breach of our personal privacy and security, is the fact that untold numbers of people out there know your name, address, s.s.#, yearly income, and All has been led to believe that they can safely do business over the internet using their credit cards. Sure their numbers may be somewhat safe being delivered over the web, but how safe is it once it gets there. You might not trust your kids with it but here you are blindly trusting a total stranger with the keys to your bank account.
And doesn't anyone ever wonder why these online companies absolutely insist on you using one or you don't get what they have to sell. For instance, I don't and won't use credit cards for many, many reasons and last month I tried to purchase access to an online radio station. Can you beleive that they actually refused me even after offering them a full years payment , in advance with a Cashiers Check ? I don't know about everyone else but it really makes me wonder what they are really selling here. Think about it. Joe

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Would be Nice, but....

by mbaumli In reply to Take Ghost images of HD

1. Ghost software costs around $50 or more per PC depending on the licening that you use.

2. Very few applications happen to work in limited accounts. My list includes, Lotus Notes Client, 5250 Emulation, Lansa Client. Basically anything that doesn't have Microsoft's name on it.

3. Customized settings that take place by the user over time. IT can not handle every specific application or they would have a 1 to 50 admin to user ratio. Which is the Corporate world is why to small.

4. Training end users to ghost their PCs everything they make a modification, and hoping that they don't get spyware in there as well.

5. Getting PCs with sufficient hardware such as a spare drive or CD burner. In which case, alot of blank CDs.

I would have to agree with the fact that some spyware is so bad that Computers cease to boot. I have witnessed this many times and have even made some money fixing PCs because of this.

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No such a thing as FREE!

by Hebel In reply to Take Ghost images of HD

One time a friend asked me, if I could help him figure out what was wrong with his computer. When I asked what?s going on, he said, that his computer takes forever to boot, despite the fact that he has 800 MHz, 512 MB Pentium 3 Gateway with Win XP Home Edition.
Right there I knew that his computer didn?t lack the power to boot up, but was dragging with Spyware.
I went there, downloaded Spybot (Search And Destroy) from Downloads.com and started to do some cleaning. I could not believe that Spywares could and will take over your system so badly one would be a fool not to call them Virus or Worm.
The Task manager was totally disabled by them, Ctrl-alt-Del was absolutely useless. Spybot did clean what it could even tried to reboot the system so spybot would delete them before they register with system boot, but all came and went in vain and lost hours without progress.
I finally realized that the OS was beyond repair. We saved what we could as far as his personal files go, on CDs and end up formatting the drives.
As we were battling with Spywares we kept on coming across to some so-called ?Sharewares? and ?Freeware? like Kazaa PTP and Wave To MP3 Converters. I said who downloads these? He said; my kids. He even had poker and casino software that he said were free in the system, some lousy screen savers that he said were free were there too. I keep shaking my head and said to him; who in his/her right state of mind would spent so much time programming software so you could have it for free?
There is no such a thing as free; you have to pay for everything one way or the other. But this time I will pay for what your kids downloaded. Next time there will be charge.
Most people (Employees, Kids) loooooooooove to download stuff. Who can resist watching the download bar go zoooom?

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Re: Spyware

by SmartStuff In reply to No such a thing as FREE!

I too have had problems in the past with Adware, mainly. But also Spyware. I think it got onto my computer when I installed Kazaa.

After using a Spyware Remover (from http://noadwares.1found.com) the problems along with the Spyware and Adware were gone!

AND I'm still running Kazaa.

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Websense will help

by PSX In reply to No such a thing as FREE!

Purchasing a corporate filtering software such as Websense will help you restrict access and, with the latest versions, block certain network protocols from being used by certain clients and/or sections of your network.

I do use Spybot for my home and company network but deploying and maintaining this software on a corporate network is such a pain. Hopefully AdAware Corporate edition will help once it comes out.

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Why me

If I have to make the image, so do several million others, a GODD..N wate of time...I say kill theis systems, hunt them down and flush the machine, same **** they do to us!

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Cost of "free" software

by TheChas In reply to Spyware

Spy-ware and Ad-Ware are just the latest tactic that some web site operators and free software producers and distributors are using to recover their costs.

On a corporate level, the easiest way to deal with these programs is to lock users out of installing software and restrict websites that deliver mal-ware payloads.

With the escalation of money making tactics since the days of banner ads, I wonder what's next?

As with many web based problems, the only way to stop mal-ware is to remove the profit motive that entices web-site operators to use or allow it.

A nifty system would be to tap into the data the spy-ware collects and change the data to useless or bogus data.
If the data collected by the spy-ware has no value, then there will be no profit motive for creating spy-ware.

At the present time, legislation blocking spy-ware will not work. The spy-ware producers will simply cross borders and be out of the reach of the law.

Chas

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Crossing borders

by pctech In reply to Cost of "free" software

Chas,
Escaping across borders may allow them to escape prosecution from any laws placed on them here. Refusing to buy the products of those that use spyware to gather their info to target sales to us can not escape across borders. They can run, but they can not hide.
Spyware users can be traced quite easily. End the sell of their products and it matters not what borders they reside in. They are history and one less user of spyware for us to contend with. Those that do not get the message, from the collapse of a business using spyware, may soon face extinction as well. Virus writers are hard to find and harder to prosecute. This is not the case for those that use spyware. Their identity can be easily discovered. Yahoo's software use to be laced with spyware. They soon learned, through complaints and users refusing to use their products, that they were facing hard times if they did not remove it. Yahoo learned not to infuriate people. The others will learn as well, or cease to exist. Either way works for me. Learn or the company dies is all I have to say to the companies that use spyware.

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End users

by pctech In reply to Crossing borders

Chas,
I agree with you that corporations can take better control of their systems and they are doing so. Locking out installations and restricting which websites that the end user has access to works well within a corporate environment. This does nothing to help solve the problem on personal computers. You can not lock users from installing software on their personal systems nor can you restrict which websites they choose to go to. This is their system and not a corporation's. Herein lies a much bigger problem than that of corporate users.

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