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Getting rid of Spyware

by Tasuki / July 19, 2005 12:57 PM PDT

I've got Adaware 1.06r1 (the free personal SE edition) and I've got Spybot S&D 1.4. Both have the latest updates. Every time I run them, I find a few spyware programs, data miners and the like. Curiously, both programs problems, no matter which one I run first. I guess they're using different algorithms, or something. My questions are as follows:

1) Are there other FREE programs out there that might pick up yet more spyware junk on my computer?

2) Is it worth the money to pay for a spyware detector? If so, which one(s) have met with general approval, and which ones should I avoid?

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Programs for getting rid of Spyware etc
by Northern Lights / July 19, 2005 3:19 PM PDT
In reply to: Getting rid of Spyware

I use these programs with tremendous success.
Adaware Free
Spybot Search & Destroy Free
Spywareblaster (Most important one) prevents spyware from communicating home. And it prevents new ones from being put on your harddrive.
Spywareguard free

All of these programs are free and can be found by typing in the name in your browser and downloading from a sight such as pcworld, download.com, webattack(has as new name of snapfiles)and several more main ones.
The most important thing is to run them weekly if you do a lot of surfing and check for updates each time you run them.
Good luck and hope this answers your questions. JL

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great info, thanks
by Tasuki / July 20, 2005 4:35 AM PDT

Thanks, NL, this does indeed answer my question. I'll go check 'em out today!

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by phil66 / July 20, 2005 10:37 AM PDT
In reply to: great info, thanks
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more great stuff
by Tasuki / July 20, 2005 4:10 PM PDT
In reply to: Taz

Ray, mucho thanks. I'm such a literalist that I thought the antivirus forum wouldn't include other related stuff. I guess that's where my question should have gone. Tx. Taz

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by nyctrainman / August 10, 2005 5:54 AM PDT

I used those too. I found Counterspy, and it finds and removes more than all of these!

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RE Getting rid of Spyware
by caktus / July 21, 2005 8:34 AM PDT
In reply to: Getting rid of Spyware
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MRUs, should I worry?
by Tasuki / July 21, 2005 6:16 PM PDT

Speaking of MRU's, I thought they were harmless, and I was afraid that if I deleted them I might find there was something useful. What's the real status of MRUs?

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RE MRUs, should I worry?
by caktus / July 22, 2005 5:01 AM PDT
In reply to: MRUs, should I worry?

MRUs, or Most Recently Used, are as they say - a list of the items you have recently used or looked at when using certain applications.

If you open a program - MS Word, Excel, Photoshop and so on - and go to the File menu at the top, you will see all the usual options such as Open, Save, Print, Preview...

At the bottom of this list you will see a short list showing the last few documents you opened. The idea of this list is to provide quick access to documents you recently read or worked on, without having to go to Open File and then search for the file you need.

A similar thing can be found in Internet Explorer (or any other web browser. If you click the downward-pointing arrow to the right of the address bar you will get a list of the addresses you have recently typed in. This is another example of a MRU list.

They are safe from the point of view that they cannot harm your system. They are, in effect, just signposts which provide a shortcut to things you may wish to access later on. For this reason they are classed as 'negligible' - they do no harm by being there.

The reason people like to know they are there and have the option to remove them is to guard their privacy - they perhaps don't wish others to know the last document they worked on was a job application, or the last spreadsheet they used was entitled MyBankAccountNumbers.xls, or the last web address they typed in was for a gambling site.

So it comes down to personal preference - keep MRUs and make life a little easier or delete them and preserve your privacy. MRUs are picked up by many malware scanners now, and it is up to you whether you keep them or delete them. At least you get the choice

In your case you can choose to remove the MRUs with no ill effects. It would still be possible to find the files you last worked on but it would be a lot more difficult and time consuming to do so. To see the effect in action I suggest you open your web browser and click the arrow next to the address bar to see the entries there. Close your browser, run AdAware and remove the MRUs. Then open your browser again and see that the MRU list is now empty. I delete MRUs as a matter of course, partly to save a little (not much) disk space and partly because I like to clear out unimportant (to me) things when I can.

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MRUs, I'd be lost without 'em
by Tasuki / July 22, 2005 12:37 PM PDT

Thanks caktus, for your great explanation. I had no clue what MRUs were. Frankly, now that I know what they are, I'll be sure to leave them alone---they're so handy!

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(NT) (NT) They can be a help!
by caktus / July 22, 2005 3:57 PM PDT
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Oh! I foregot to mention...
by caktus / July 22, 2005 4:03 PM PDT

I've noticed on occasion some online scanners as well as trial ware indicating they've found alot of spyware to entice you to buy the're product when in fact all they have found are the MRU's.

So, let the buyer beware.

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MS SPyware
by jacomo / July 28, 2005 11:55 PM PDT

I ran the beta on Microsoft SPyware for 2 Months and never got one hit on a spyware.
AT the same time I ran Spysweeper and Spybot and repeatedly got 2-3 Spyware hits.

You decide value of what MS has.


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The Claria position. (Gator bite)
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 29, 2005 12:09 AM PDT
In reply to: MS SPyware
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Free vs Pay
by jkuykendall / July 30, 2005 4:25 AM PDT

I have used most of the free ones out there, SpyBot and Adaware are decent ... BUT.... they did leave alot left on my system. Try running free trial of one of the pay ones and see what you have left. Most will at least scan system. I presently use Adware Filter by PCSafe. Keeps me clean.

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Here's a good list from another posting by R. Proffitt
by lonestar4me / July 23, 2005 8:30 AM PDT
In reply to: Getting rid of Spyware
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And still the best prescription
by Alan Copeland / July 23, 2005 10:41 AM PDT

I have that link in My Favorites along with other pearls I have gleaned from Bob over the years.

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I have the answers!
by thegame102 / July 29, 2005 12:21 AM PDT
In reply to: Getting rid of Spyware

As a person who has work on hundereds of computer with infected spyware I can certainly tell you this, Not one program finds them all. The two programs you have are awesome so keep them but think of downloading the free program called spyblaster and the microsoft anti-spyware. But what I find that is worth the money and to me is one of the best anti-spyware programs is Spysweeper but if you get that then there is no need for the microsoft one. I would also recommend downloading the free program ccleaner which under options you keep only the important cookies, so this way when you use the cleaner you will be getting rid of the bad cookies (spyware tracking cookies) and this will help also to cleans your tracks.

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Get Microsoft Anti-Spyware!
by tercar / July 29, 2005 12:35 AM PDT
In reply to: Getting rid of Spyware

I'd like to address question#1: I, too, have Ad-Aware Personal SE and Spybot S&D (to which I have sent a donation, by the way. They deserve it!) I run them every day and I, too, found that each of them discovers what the other misses. A most important addition, however, is Microsoft Anti-Spyware. My browser was hijacked when I went where I shouldn't have, and the result was quite vexing. Microsoft Antispyware left my PC as clean as a whistle. And it's FREE!

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Paid versus Free
by Rocker452 / July 29, 2005 1:24 AM PDT
In reply to: Getting rid of Spyware

I myself use the usual free apps with great success, but have also added the paid app. Counterspy which is similar to the Microsoft Anti-Spyware program but they use their own database for their def. updates. It is one of the best paid programs out there and is rated best by PC World Mag.(July 2005 issue). At $20 it is worth the added protection. It also has active protection which protects from getting infected in the first place.

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Use several free and paid for programs
by lancre / July 29, 2005 1:36 PM PDT
In reply to: Getting rid of Spyware

My computer was slowing down and a friend suggested installing anti spyware. I downloaded free and trial programs to see which was the best and discovered that several found spyware that others had missed.

At first friends laughed and said that I was over protected but now, after being infected, they're as bad.

I have Norton 2005, Zone Alarm Pro, Trend Micro Anti Spy Centre(formerly spy subtract), Aluria Security Centre, XoftSpy and Webroot Spy Sweeper which are all paid for. The free programs I use are Spyware Blaster, Spyware Guard, Ad Aware, Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool and SpyBot. I also use McAfee Stinger (free) once a month after checking to see if there is a new version.

Spyware Blaster protects your computer before you go online and most of the others while you are on line. Others simply remove spyware. I'd also recommend a Registry Repair program. There are free ones but I use Registry Mechanic which I pay for to obtain the updates. Spyware often interferes with your Registry and after removal this needs repairing.

When I turn on my computer I open Spyware Blaster and go online downloading updates and scanning with 75% of the programs as I go along. It takes about 1/2 hour. It's rare that I pick up any spyware now and it's quickly removed. Any problems and I report the spyware. A download to remove it completely is usually available with 48 hours or less.

There are a lot of free spyware removal programs out there but BEWARE some are actually spyware themselves. It's just another way of taking over your computer. Use the ones available from here. Try them and uninstall the ones you find unsuitable.

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RE: Use several
by Alan Copeland / July 30, 2005 7:18 AM PDT

I do much the same as you, and some days I think all I do is run spyware and AV programs. Wink

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Are you using Internet Explorer by any chance?
by ShadowTiger26499 / July 30, 2005 6:14 PM PDT
In reply to: Getting rid of Spyware

I've noticed repeatedly people in these forums tend to use about FIVE different spyware scanners and tend to do so quite frequiently (once a day for some, once a week for others).

I personally only use two scanners, Spybot S&D(free) and Adaware (free), okay, so I also use spyware blaster, but that is a permanent fix.

So how often do I use these? Almost never (Maybe once every month or two)

How many hits do I get when I use them? Zero, unless that is I've been using Internet Explorer.

I currently use Firefox for all of my browsing and my spyware scans tend to come up clean, however I've actually scanned before using IE, browsed for a few minutes, and scanned again and had about 5 tracking cookies appear (the sites were non firefox compatable).

All of you people talk about this tool or that tool for removing spyware, how about using a browser that dosent have technologies like active-x that let spyware deep into the heart of your system (did you know Internet Explorer is integrated so deeply into windows if a program can gain control of it it gains control of the entire computer?).

Internet Explorer is full of security holes, yes, even post service pack two, don't believe me? Try searching on google. It apparently is possible to configure it to be more secure, but really one is better off switching to something along the lines of Opera or Firefox.

Well, that's my two cents.

If anybody has any information or experiences contradictory (that is having Internet Explorer be more secure for them than Firefox) I would like to hear about it, it seems quite odd, but I suppose could happen, and I'd like to hear about it if it did.

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Curse you Billie Gates
by Tasuki / July 31, 2005 9:16 AM PDT

In point of fact, I use Opera, Avant, Firefox, Firebird, Mozilla and IE, keeping segregated the different types of work I do to different browsers. To answer your question, however, I do use IE frequently. I've noticed that every time I visit CNN.com, I get at least two tracking cookies attached. I should try using Firefox or Opera and see if those same two cookies get put on my machine as they do when I use IE. Hmmm. Worthwhile experiment. Maybe the answer is to just boycott IE (and Avant too, I gather, since it seems to work so closely with IE).

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paid spyware programs
by grover48 / July 31, 2005 1:51 PM PDT
In reply to: Getting rid of Spyware

Lets look at the ethical aspect of paying, then the practical. If you are a programmer, wouldn't you like to be paid for your labor? Do you pay your dentist? Your doctor?
I always check out the software for a few months to a year and if the software does the job I need on my computer, I pay them.
Now the practical, what incentive would you have to work for nothing. Sure, some programs have advertisements, thats a way to pay the bills while developing software that people RELY on. And with all paid suscriptions, you get some extras, like no ads, automatic updates and a clear conscious for showing your appreciation for a great product.
I cannot remember once in my life that I looked for employment that did not pay.

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(NT) (NT) Well spoken. Thanks.
by Alan Copeland / July 31, 2005 10:07 PM PDT
In reply to: paid spyware programs
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are paid versioins of anti-spyware demonstrably any better?
by Tasuki / August 1, 2005 8:15 AM PDT

Here's a question for you all---is there any evidence that anti-spyware programs you pay for any better than the free ones? To be more specific, I use AdAware and Spybot, both free, and I feel pretty good when they catch a bunch of stuff each week, but I have absolutely no idea how much stuff they might be missing. Can anyone provide any reliable information that I would be much better off with this or that anti-spyware program which you have to pay for, and if so, which paid program(s) would you recommend?

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No one program
by Alan Copeland / August 1, 2005 9:47 AM PDT

will catch all the gremlins. I use AVG, Syybot, AdAware, Zone Alarm, Stinger, MS Anti-Spyware, Spam Inspector, CW Shredder, Spy Subtract (came with the PC) and Spyware Blaster. I feel that a free program may work as well as or better than a paid for program, but if a company offers freeware and pay ware there are some advantages such as tech support and no ads with the paid version.

In closing, there is no crime or shame involved with using freebies.

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Yes SpySweeper!
by thegame102 / August 1, 2005 2:38 PM PDT

Spysweeper always caught adware and spyware that those miss in the past and tested plus spysweeper gos further in prevention as means of active protection and cookies handling since I got spysweeper I don't get anymore spyware. I have ad-ware and spybot also they alway find nothing since owning that program. This is why in my book spyweeper gets an 5 star. Remember those programs plus Microsofts doesn't have cookie handling which helps to prevent adware and spyware getting on the computer in the first place. Ad-ware and spybot only gets rid of the parasites they dont prevent you getting them.

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Spysweeper---other opinions, plus, minus or otherwise?
by Tasuki / August 1, 2005 6:11 PM PDT
In reply to: Yes SpySweeper!

Wow, that's a pretty ringing endorsement. Anybody else use Spysweeper and have good things to say about it?

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by nyctrainman / August 10, 2005 6:02 AM PDT

I used all these mentioned. I still check them once in awhile, but if you want to really clean out the crap, get the paid version of Counterspy. It works, and boy does it work. I ran all the others, then I ran Counterspy. It found 128 things the others missed! MSN Beta is almost worthless. I have it also, but don't do any manual checks with it. It runs once a week at night and rarely finds anything but cookies.

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