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Thread: Spyware Help

  1. #1
    FORT Fanatic imajunkie2's Avatar
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    Spyware Help

    Let me start off my fully admitting I am a computer nim wit. I turn it on, I check emails, surf a bit and turn it off.

    Anyhow my anti virus/firewall just added some features and one was a anti-spyware thing. This all comes from my net provider if that makes a diference. I really had no clue what it did so I read the learn more bit and to be honest it kind of scared me. Anyhow I have a few questions about it if anyone would care to help.

    I did a scan and it came up with 120 things of spyware so I deleted them all (took forever) and deleted a bunch of programs I had downloaded and thought everything should be better. I turned on the computer tonight (1st time since Friday) and next thing I knew my spyware thing came up that I had 24 new spyware
    Question 1. In order to get spyware do you have to download something or does it just show up when you visit a site?
    Question 2. What is a registry, tracking cookies & a hijacker & are they dangerous?
    Question 3. The name "spyware" in itself is scary, is it as scary as it sounds?

    Thanks in advance for any insight you all can give me

  2. #2
    The race is back! John's Avatar
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    1) Usually you have to download something. This is as simple as a box that pops up that asks if you want something, and you click "yes". Once you have one, if it's the right type, it can allow the auto-downloading of more without your permission - you've opened the door.

    2) A registry is in your computer, and is the "brains" of how your computer accesses programs. Tracking cookies aren't bad, they just "monitor" your surfing on sites and build an anonymous database of surfing habits. Hijacker's really bad. You should always get rid of those. They allow other systems and people to take over your computer or get access to it at any time.

    3) Most spyware isn't bad - "spyware" just means programs that you didn't specifically authorize to be installed on your computer, for good or bad. For example, the fairly popular "weatherbug" module that people have is a Spyware program. It reports data back to the owners that you may not want reported and didn't specifically authorize, behind your back.

    120 spyware hits, depending on the software you use, isn't too bad actually. On a regular basis, I get a few hundred detections.

  3. #3
    Kanai Nemeses's Avatar
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    John gave great answers as usual.

    However, I do have to respectfully disagree with the answer to #3 regarding Spyware usually not being bad. I think you'll have to decide for yourself how you feel about Spyware. I personally feel most Spyware is bad, simply because I want to be the one controlling my system, but that isn't the same as saying all Spyware is dangerous.

    Weatherbug, as the example, was pretty harmless up until the recent 6.x versions which now causes known conflicts in some standard systems. I used to have Weatherbug loaded automatically in my taskbar until I had to uninstall it recently due to system problems that were traced to the upgraded version of Weatherbug. After I uninstalled it, everything works fine now.

    There is a lot of spyware (sometimes called malware) that can indeed be dangerous to your system, especially if you aren't an advanced user, knowledgeable about software and system tweaking, or don't always look closely at what you're clicking on. A couple of good articles about this subject were just seen on CNN's site yesterday, if you want to read through them. They're easy to understand and may help you understand a bit more about how it works:

    (CNN) Spyware - Sneaky, annoying threat

    (CNN) Review: Testing anti-spyware programs


    Probably the best thing you can do regarding spyware is to learn more about it and understand how it works and how it can get into your system. Also, regarding your anti-spyware software, make sure you always do a deep system scan, rather than a quick-scan.
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    FORT Fanatic imajunkie2's Avatar
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    Thanks so much for the info John & Nemeses. It's great to have it explained in English as opposed to Computerese. Also the articles were helpful. Thanks again

  5. #5
    It's all a Mystery to Me KaiCee's Avatar
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    I understand the Spyware that is put on our computer to collect information for their advertising, etc. I use Spybot Search and Destroy and AOL's Spyware protection program.

    Usually, they just find annoying things like Webrebates and Cydoor...but last week AOL's protection program found Spybuddy on my system (it's a keylogger spy program that can run in stealth mode according to my google search). Spybot missed it. My question is: is there any way to find out how it got there? I don't download most files that are emailed to me, but I do open emails with pictures in them. Could that have done it? Or would a program like Spybuddy have to be put on my system by someone who had access to my computer or our home network?

    I would really like to know if a certain individual that I live with is putting spyware on my computer....is there any way I could tell?

    I am a computer dunce, I admit it. That "certain individual" is a programmer...so he probably could easily put a stealth mode program on my computer. Grrrrrr.
    When you learn, teach. When you get, give. ~ Maya Angelou

  6. #6
    FORT Fanatic imajunkie2's Avatar
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    One of the links in Nem's post says that spybot isnt a very good spyware detector. On my spyware program I can look at the details of the spyware. What kind it is, the level of threat ets. It also shows me if it knows who the author is. Sometimes it says unknown. Your AOL may have something similar.

  7. #7
    What's a sitcom? Toxic's Avatar
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    If you have spyware problems, you may want to think about switching to Firefox . Most spyware is targeted at Microsoft's Internet Explorer. Using this browser will drastically cut down on your popups and spyware. Its free, and is pretty compatible with every type of Internet site.

    Also, you might want to use Startup Watchdog (30 day free trial) This program looks at EVERY program that is initiated at startup. Any foriegn ones (non-Windows related) it will ask if you want to delete them. Take that file name, and you can do a Google search, and there will be answers on how to get rid of that pesky file. It takes a wee bit more tech saavy then pressing a button, but it will work wonders if you have patience.

  8. #8
    Wonky snarkmistress Lucy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KaiCee
    Usually, they just find annoying things like Webrebates and Cydoor...but last week AOL's protection program found Spybuddy on my system (it's a keylogger spy program that can run in stealth mode according to my google search). Spybot missed it. My question is: is there any way to find out how it got there? I don't download most files that are emailed to me, but I do open emails with pictures in them. Could that have done it? Or would a program like Spybuddy have to be put on my system by someone who had access to my computer or our home network?
    Kaicee, I'm no computer expert, but I googled "Spybuddy" and it looks like a program that someone would have to buy, download and purposely install on your computer.

    From a site where you could buy it:
    SpyBuddy is the ultimate solution for monitoring spouses, children, co-workers, or anyone else! SpyBuddy allows you to monitor all areas of your PC, tracking every action down the last keystroke pressed. SpyBuddy has the ability to log all AOL/ICQ/MSN/AIM/Yahoo chat conversations, all websites visited, all windows opened and interacted with, every application executed, every document printed, all text and images sent to the clipboard, and even every keystroke, including system keys! SpyBuddy also allows for screen capturing for visual surveillance! Recorded data can either be viewed using built in log viewers, or can be e-mailed to your e-mail address for remote viewing.
    http://www.hot-shareware.com/utilities/spybuddy/
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  9. #9
    FORT Fanatic imajunkie2's Avatar
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    EEEEEEEEK!! Nice detective work Lucy

    Holy crap Kaicee, I think its time for a new roommate.

  10. #10
    It's all a Mystery to Me KaiCee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucy
    Kaicee, I'm no computer expert, but I googled "Spybuddy" and it looks like a program that someone would have to buy, download and purposely install on your computer.
    Yeah, I suspected it was that kind of program, Lucy. I was hoping that some computer expert would say "no, it could have been attached to that little doggie gif picture that your aunt gertie sent"....

    Oh well, there is only one other person who has access to my computer, so at least I know who the culprit is.
    When you learn, teach. When you get, give. ~ Maya Angelou

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