Links and Other Materials
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Never is that more true than when dealing with spyware and malware. It is FAR better never to become infected than to need to deal with the consequences of being infected. The best advice for avoiding running unwanted software on a PC can be summed up with the following:
Always keep your system updated with the latest patches
This is always important, since many malicious programs trick your SYSTEM into running their code. But it is NOT enough, since many more malicious programs trick YOU into running their code** . . .**
“Don’t talk to strangers”. Never forget that the Internet is like any big city: Much of it is safe and relatively secure, but there are definitely places you don’t want to go at all. When surfing around the Internet it’s very easy to end up in a dark corner with a single click. Always be careful.
Use the safest tools possible
There is much less malware targeting Macintoshes than Windows, and much less for non-IE (Internet Explorer) browsers than for IE.
If you must use unsafe tools, use them as safely as possible
Disabling scripting is the single best thing you can do, but it’s also the most cumbersome. Eric Howes has some good information about locking down Internet Explorer.
The top three spyware detection tools:
Microsoft Windows AntiSpyware (Beta) – Microsoft is now getting into the business of protecting people from online threats. Unfortunately, most of these problems have been created by Microsoft’s deliberately insecure security policies, such as web-based ActiveX controls.
Lavasoft, home of Ad-Aware – Lavasoft is the grand daddy of anti-malware utilities. They came along shortly after my creation of the first anti-spyware utility, “OptOut” which removed the widespread “Aureate” advertising spyware. They agreed to always offer a free anti-spyware utility, so I halted further development of my own OptOut freeware.
Spybot Search & Destroy – This is a top-rated terrific program for locating spyware and “questionable-ware”. It’s free and requires a lot of time from its authors. Consider sending them a little donation if you find Spybot useful.
The excellent SpywareInfo site contains lots of current information about spyware on an ongoing basis. Periodic articles, and back-issues, provide great overview and plenty of specific information for everyone concerned about and fighting the fight against Spyware.
The excellent SpywareGuide site maintains a comprehensive list of spyware-carrying software and has a search facility that makes lookups quick and easy. It also contains many terrific solutions for dealing with the spyware threat.
Eric Howes Anti-Spyware testing and research pages. Eric is a graduate student in the school of library and information science at the University of Illinois. He has done a great deal of terrific research into spyware and malware, including extensive testing and comparisons of malware detection and removal utilities.
Be sure to check out Eric’s** . . .**
The war against spyware is escalating daily with spyware becoming increasingly difficult to both detect and remove. This problem has grown to the point that spyware removal is a full-time business for many computer consultants, and is truly more of an art than a science. It requires deep experience and knowledge about the inner workings of the operating system and key applications, as well as intuition informed by extensive experience with past successes and failures.
The spyware removal challenge is a moving target because spyware is becoming extremely aggressive as the battle over the end-user’s computer escalates. Today’s spyware is much more resistant to automated removal tools, and it often goes so far as to prevent infected host computers from running anti-spyware tools, or even from visiting or downloading anti-spyware utilities. (It’s difficult to use an anti-spyware utility that your already-infected computer refuses to run.)
This means that a badly infested machine either needs to be reformatted and reinstalled from scratch <<shudder>> or restored from a (hopefully recent) backup which was made before the infection.
Since, by far, the best solution is to restore the system from a recently made backup “snapshot”, spending some time beforehand to optimize the system’s configuration for easy baskups and restores can pay off tremendously if anything bad ever happens.
Optimizing a system for backup and restoration:
Unfortunately, most systems are initially setup with a single monstrous partition “C:” occupying and filling the entire drive**:**
(source: Prevention | Detection | Removal)