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Tuesday 9 August 2005

Evil Spyware [vagga]

I was having dinner at an aussie mates house the other night. He is off home to kangaroo land so it was a boozy farewell affair.
Anyway late in the night he was moaning about his PC being slow. He is the least tech literate person known to man. He bought a top of the range lappy from Dell about 8 or 9 months ago, with money from his old work. He rang them and said "I have 2 grand and I want a laptop" - lol. You can imagine the look of glee of the phone sales moneky's face. He was sold all manner of patethic usless software along with an insanly priced machine. Dell really are cunt0rs.
So given all he does on said machine is email and surf for porn he should not have paid more than 600 or 700 quid for a basic machine with a chunk of ram. Anyway, said machine should be dead quick!
But I started IE and he had no fewer than 5 of those annoying search bars. Yahoo, Google and 3 random ones - such as the CoolWebSearch crap. He said he liked having options when searching the web :)

I cleaned it all out for him (removed links to IE and Outlook Express and installed Firefox and Thunderbird!) and hey-presto it was not slow anymore. It was lightning quick. He had no fewer than 4 different viruses and AdAware found about 4 million things it had to delete! The internet is dangerous for muppets :)
But I was reading this today :
CoolWebSearch Bar installing spyware and nicking info and more worrying ident's
I bloody knew those search bars were evil!


  1. Just rebuilt a friend PC - or rather new hard disk, XP SP2 etc and installed everything again cos he picked up a dialler that disconnected and reconnected quietly behind the scenes. I had already tried every remedy - all my usual + anything suggested on the net (we knew what it was) and still it wouldn't budge. I suspected it was cos he was running win98 and the fixes work with xp?
    Also while on hols in Oz, my sister mentioned she had given up using the net cos it as so slow which was a bugger when we were trying to make hol arrangements with her. We were talking make a coffee per page sort of time. Turned out she had loads of spyware eating all her modem bandwith - easily sorted - if you've heard of it and can spot it.
    I wonder how many people get stuffed with this stuff and have no idea how to fix it?

  2. Despite being extremely careful in the past, in the last six months of my old PC, I was running Search & Destroy and Microsoft's Anti Spyware Beta every few days in order to curb spyware that had come in from God Only Knows Where.
    When building my new PC recently (about a month or so ago) I chose the DFi LANParty UT nF4 motherboard which has NVidia's ActiveArmor and Firewall on board.
    I was somewhat sceptical of the claims, after all, real time packet analysis on both inbound and outbound is not something you see on most motherboards - but I gave it a whirl anyhow.
    Its simply brilliant; the mobo has everything you'd need anyhow (including 10 onboard USB and jumpers for attaching four more, Firewire and dual gigabit NIC) but when you whack in the ActiveArmor gubbins too, I've now got a machine that is online near enough 24/7, and hasn't got a single jot of spyware or malware on it - whereas the Nvidia logging is chock full of "- unknown inbound traffic on port n - denied" type warnings. So its doing its stuff.
    Also put on the Microsoft Spyware Beta again, and will probably put on Symantec's AV as soon as I remember to do so, so I don't see how much safer I can make it.

  3. Well hang on a mo, if your OS is patched up, you're not getting spyware and viruses out of thin air. You're installing stuff that loads on spy ware. I'm all for these sorts of apps and extreme measures being used for idiots but I really wouldn't have thought you'd need telling how you get these things in the first place?