NEWSLETTER – MAR 2007
One of the programs we typically install on new computers and during
system tune-ups is an excellent Anti-Spyware program called Spybot
Search & Destroy. It is currently a free program provided by a programmer
in Europe and its distribution is now
worldwide via the Internet. Many University Computer Science Programs utilize
it to keep their computers free of performance robbing and intrusive software
that is all too easy to pick up on the Internet today. There are two main
malicious program groups that Spybot removes, Adware
and Spyware. It also provides protection from deliberately malicious web-sites
that install software without permission.
Adware, in general, primarily causes additional ads to pop-up, most
frequently when you are on the internet, but they can even pop-up on your
desktop with some of these silly programs.
Adware is usually packaged with other software that you have downloaded.
Free Screensavers, Tool Bars, Search Assistants and even some free Anti-Viruses
come bundled with Adware. If you read the small print before you click OK you
might even find a small warning to that extent but not always. The Internet is
very difficult to regulate.
Spyware consists of programs that effectively spy on what you do with
your computer. Some programs just report back to various marketing companies
the web-sites that you visit frequently and such basic information. Others will
even try to capture your credit card numbers, passwords and personal data for
various fraudulent reasons.
Spybot 1.4 can be
downloaded free of charge from a number of sites but requires a little
knowledge to keep it up to date and protecting you against the ravages of the
large variety of software menaces floating around out there. While the program
is free to download and use, the owner suggests donations to maintain and
further improve the product and to that extent I have donated several times
since I find it quite useful.
The home web-site of the developer is:
There are a number of other sites you can download from. A Google
search will direct you to other download sites. Be careful since several other
products have adopted similar names, which can cause confusion when downloading
it. Once you install the product it will guide you through the initial updates,
but you are far from finished at that point if you want the level of protection
to be maximized and maintained.
At the end of the installation and at least once a month thereafter,
preferably once a week, you need to do the following within the program:
Check for Updates & Download Them
Check The Immunization Status after each
update and re-immunize if recommended.
Run “Check For
Problems” each month and whenever you suspect problems.
Select “Fix Problems” at the end
of the procedure to remove unwanted guests.
Please note that removing unwanted Adware may
deactivate the program that it was packaged with. Programs like Kazaa detect the removal of their Adware components and
refuse to run once they have been removed, as part of the monetary agreement
with the related Adware company.
Remember, Spybot is not a
substitute for a good Anti-Virus but rather a valuable addition to your
Internet protection arsenal. Also, remember that with a few notable exceptions,
there are few things free on the Internet. Most companies are in the business
of making money. They do this by either charging for
their products, distributing a partial program version with upgrade options or
packaging their software with Adware.
Notable exceptions are:
AVG Free Anti-Virus
Adobe Acrobat Reader
Apple Quicktime & iTunes
Search and Destroy