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Most effective way you protect yourself against spyware?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / March 31, 2005 2:11 AM PST

What's the most effective way you protect yourself against spyware?

Visit only trusted sites
Download programs from trusted sources only
Regularly scan my computer with one or more spyware utilities
Use a pop-up blocker
Other
None, I live life on the edge

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reply
by Berfert / March 31, 2005 5:08 AM PST

never connect to the internet in any way. never have a Ethernet or modem cable even plugged into your PC. Not much of a modern computing life I agree but that is the best way I can think of.

A more realistic approach I think is a Router with NAT and SPI firewall, pc firewall, virus program, various spyware apps.

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Protection against spyware
by Tony Bidgood / March 31, 2005 6:54 PM PST
In reply to: reply

Mac OS X is my answer. So far so good, I trust!

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anti-adware, anti-spyware
by felixu / April 1, 2005 8:34 AM PST

I, too, was once plagued with a particular adware program that would not go away. I found programs that would identify and remove it, EXCEPT...it kept coming back on every restart. Not wanting to waste more money on something that might not work, I tried a number of trial versions for anti-adware, but with no better success. After some time, I came across PestPatrol and it did the job. Occassionaly, something gets through to my system, but a scan easily eliminates it. Combined with a good anti-virus program, I have fewer worries.

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Spyware Protection.....
by Larry38 / March 31, 2005 7:08 AM PST

In the Quick Poll, I would have added "All of the above" with the exception of the last choice. Anyway the more utilities one has, the safer they will be, as long as they update and scan on a regular basis. Personally I use all the utilities suggested on the forums, such as AdAware SE, SpyBot S&D, SpywareBlaster, and SpywareGuard. I don't have a lot of faith in Microsoft, however I do use the Microsoft AntiSpyware Beta, it seems to be a good tool, at least for now. Also a good Firewall is important, I use Zone Alarm rather than the SP2 Firewall since it blocks both in and out, I can also lock ZA when I leave the PC alone for awhile. I use The Firefox Browser, which has an excellent popup utility. Between SP2 and Firefox I never have a popup. My utility programs never find anything other than a low grade tracking cookie. I update daily and scan daily, whenever possible. Whenever I am away for a few days, my PC is unpluged and disconnected from the phone jack.
HTH
Larry

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Blocking the ip from those that send malware
by Satyrlire / March 31, 2005 3:45 PM PST

I'm simply using PeerGuardian (A ip blocking tool)

I'm using that with the spyware list and the ad blocking list.

That way you can see to were the spyware is trying to send or receive the data

http://www.methlabs.org/ (I'm using the Peerguardian 1, not the 2 beta .. and you better use the version 1 if you try that)

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This Looks Very Interesting, But
by dougjp / March 31, 2005 8:50 PM PST

I've never been to as confusing a web site. And please explain your comment above about better not use the 2 beta!

I see 2 download files, a binaries and a source, for PeerGuardian Lite, no explanation there. I'll get them both in hopes there is a readme.

Using it with " the spyware list and the ad blocking list ". What files or programs are you referring to here?

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Hegemony Technology treatment
by bd_v1_13 / March 31, 2005 6:54 PM PST

I normally use a hodgepodge of the listed techniques, starting with a REPUTABLE spyware blocker ( if I can't find any info about the program online, it doesn't get installed), followed by setting up a 'Trusted Sites' list and routine maintenance.
It helps... and mystifies others as to why I 'waste so much time doing all that junk' [a direct quote from my girlfriend's eldest, right before he crashed his mother's computer - again - with 'free' music from a peer-to-peer service].

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No ONE single solution for this issue ...
by trattner / March 31, 2005 6:54 PM PST

While each & every of the suggested "best practices" can contribute its part to prevent SpyWare from doing its thing, none -- on its own -- is enough.

The way to prevent SpyWare from harming the environment is by a combined approach:

1. Visit only trusted sites & download only from trusted sources, in the first place;

2. Install, update, & use on a permantent basis, on-access prevention software (anti-virus, firewall, anti-spyware/ anti-adware, anti-phishing, anti-spam);

3. Harden the definitions of your PC (don't use an administrator's account for daily work, block sites under the Trusted Zone, use reliable passwords/ pass-sentences, ...)

4. Keep your software, and especially the OS, updated with all security patches available from the software publisher;

5. Perform scheduled (daily/ weekly) scans for viruses & other malware, using more than one utility;

6. To counter potential disabling of the security software by some vandals, perform every now and then also online scans (they forcefully re-install their own infrastructure, thus being unharmed by previous attacks on the machine)

7. Stay current on the types of attacks one may be subjected to by reading/ monitoring info on specialty magazines (PC-Mag, ...) or on the Internet, as new types of attack appear constantly, and the tools to combat them may be new as well.

Hopefully, by following the suggestions above, as well as -- mostly -- using good common sense(!), the PC may remain clean for the benefit of its User Happy

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There is ONE answer
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / April 3, 2005 3:06 AM PDT

There is ONE answer to this problem.
Stop using Windows and move to an OS, any OS, that is secure and which does not have these problems.
Mac OS X springs to mind. Spyware, Malware and Viri do not run under OS X, unless the Administrator supplies the required username and password and gives if permission to install itself.
How long will you guys put up with this rubbish from Redmond?

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Try Linux for x86 boxen
by gopherbyrd / April 9, 2005 12:59 PM PDT
In reply to: There is ONE answer

Don't want to spend the bucks to buy a Mac? Try Linux. There are several bootable CD distributions out there that you can try before you commit to installing on your hard drive. If you have a broadband connection all it takes is approx. 1 to 2 hours of dl time then another 20 minutes to burn the cd. Set up your bios to boot from the CD first, reboot your PC with the CD inserted and away you go. My favorite bootable Linux CDs are Knoppix, Mandrake Move and PCLinuxOS.

Linux has gotten so easy to install compared to several years ago a little basic knowledge is all you need. Is it different than Windows? Yep, but there is enough simularity that most folks are up and running without problems in no time. If you run into problems check out the forums or Usenet newsgroup for the distro you installed. You will find many knowledgeable folks just waiting to help you. The RTFM folks are not common on the newbie oriented groups, just try to help yourself by searching google before asking.

Don't want to try Linux, the next best thing to do is not run your WinXP as the Admin login. Create a user for normal work that does not have admin or superuser privileges and only login as admin when you need to do an admin type chore such as install new software. Of course with Win a firewall, virus checker, and spyware checker are required.

Cheers

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Most effective way you protect yourself against spyware?
by coralrae / March 31, 2005 7:00 PM PST

How about utilizing all the suggestions you list. Visit only trusted sites; download programs from trusted sources only; regularly scan your computer with several spyware utilities; and use a pop-up blocker. Only by incorporating all available resources can we keep a step ahead of the plague.

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nobody can put it in better prospetive than you
by uzistar / April 4, 2005 12:57 AM PDT

you on the money mister it is a plague and all you said is very corect if can do all of what you mentioned he'll be alot safer isaid earlyer use the program from AOL clear my footprints it's a very good one as well (clears = cookies + cashe + history)

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spyware protection
by ratslaya / March 31, 2005 7:05 PM PST

Use Mozilla Firefox and zonealarm combined. I run a spyware program once a month but find very few if any spyware programs. Those i do find are minor.

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spyware
by hogan / March 31, 2005 7:06 PM PST

Vicious stuff, nothing keeps you free. One day you will have to reformat your disk. Playing safe helps but all sorts of comapnies have all sorts of junk these days.

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Spyware protection - best I've seen
by tao51nyc / March 31, 2005 7:15 PM PST

I use a product from Allume called "Internet Cleanup" that has all the different search features built-in in one handy menu, plus dynamic services called "Spyalert" and "Netblockade". In addition, the latest versions of many browsers have improved pop-up blocking utils built-in.

But most importantly, I own a Mac with OS X (10.3.8). Between its built-in firewall and the fact that the platform simply isn't a target for virus and malware writers, life is as happy as can be, and I get a lot more accomplished in a day.

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active x
by johnfood / March 31, 2005 7:21 PM PST

i block active x on some websites

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There is no single answer
by actingmark / March 31, 2005 7:31 PM PST

Today it is impossible to protect yourself from all of the various "bugs" out there without taking a comprehensive approach to protecting your computer, and this means using multiple program types. First and foremost is a good firewall. Personally, I use Sygate because of its smaller footprint but many prefer ZoneAlarm. Second, you simply must have a quality--and this does not necessarily mean free--antivirus program. In nearly all independent testing that I have seen, NOD32 has been given the highest score. Third, you need some proactive measures to further stop spyware, adware, malware, and the like from getting into your computer. I use I.E.Pad which is a small program--continually updated--that adds known dirty sites to your internet blocked zone. In addition to this program, I also use Spyware Blaster and Spyware Guard. By the way the aforementioned three are all free! Fourth, are the old standbys AdAware, and Spybot Search and Destroy. These are worthwhile and free but should not be relied on other than for some quick daily scans. Fifth, there is a relatively new program on the market called Ewido Security. It has thus far one of the largest signature databases of any of the antispyware tools (over 102,000 as of today's date). It updates daily (sometimes two or three times daily), it is free, and it is especially good for finding and eliminating trojans and keyloggers. Sixth, after seriously testing the major anti-spyware programs which also have realtime protection, my tests give the relatively new Counter Spy by Sunbelt the nod. It is fast, thorough, and while not free, very inexpensive. The new Microsoft Anti Spywaree Beta, which is free, is my second choice but because Counter Spy found three objects which Microsoft missed, my recommendation is for Counter spy. Finally, either manually or using a program such as CC Cleaner (also free) delete your temporary files, temporaray internet files, and history files daily. A good portion of the time you will find that this is where a lot of malware hides. When you delete the files, you delete the bug. The added advantage is that this routine "housekeeping" not only frees up space on your hard drive, but speeds up your computer as well.

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Use Mozilla Firefox instead of IE
by Peter / March 31, 2005 7:36 PM PST

The most effective protection is to use a program that is FAR more secure than Internet Explorer. Use Firefox.

PS. Of course you should also use antivirus, firewall, Ad-Aware, but those are onyl secondary defenses.

http://www.getfirefox.com/
.

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I agree... GET MOZILLA!!!
by Crash2100 / April 1, 2005 1:09 AM PST

I use basically nothing but Mozilla and I don't even understand what everyone is complaining about because Mozilla comes close to completely preventing spyware. About the only way it can get on your computer through Mozilla is if you download and install something manually that has spyware in it.

Using Mozilla is sweet even if you do have spyware on your computer, because a lot of spyware is directed towards IE. Actually, I have GAIN spyware on my computer that goes along with Divx Pro. What's funny is, since I use Mozilla, I didn't even realize I had spyware on my computer until I used IE, because I don't get any pop-up windows except when I use IE. But since I rarely use IE, it doesn't even bother me.

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Better than spyware removal!
by Hodgelett / March 31, 2005 7:49 PM PST

It exists - prevent it being installed!
I used Adaware every week and reguarly got between 4-13 hits. Spybot...had problems running. Then I looked around and found SpywareBlaster. It's brilliant, works in the background continually, needs manually updating unless you donate but that's easy enough, and prevents spyware being installed on your pc/laptop like a firewall. It's brilliant. I check up every now and then on Adaware to see what's happening, and I can say that after the first deep scan (including archives) I have not had a single spyware hit!
It's for IE and Firefox users in theory, but I use Opera and it's fine.
Go get it!

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Mac users don't have this worry.
by jaydee / March 31, 2005 7:52 PM PST

I don't have to protect myself against spyware because I have a Mac! It's completely immune to spyware and viruses out of the box - nothing else needed to keep it clean. The built in firewall is great too - rock solid according to all the tests I've run.

Blissful!!

And please, no "Yes, but that's because a Mac is.....", because that's just stupid.

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What's spyware? Mac User
by JADickey / April 1, 2005 6:27 AM PST

Right you are, Jaydee. I had to go read up on spyware to find out what it was. I've been an Apple user since 1983.

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Amen to that!
by tom_strode / April 1, 2005 8:26 AM PST

I've been using a Mac since 1985, and enjoy a completely virus- adware- spyware- free life. Yes, in the old days (1987-93 or so) there were a few mac viruses that infected the old operating system (OS 5-9) but OS X with its unix foundation is rock solid and virtually impervious to attack.

Let's face it, Macs have no viruses NOT because of market share--its because Windows is so much easier to hack!

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I agree.
by macG4 / April 5, 2005 6:25 AM PDT

I am a mac user since junior in high school (2001). And I have no worry about this neither. Mac is a fine plataform for personal an development use. I am pleased with the $1,800 I spent on my PowerBook (2004) and still going strong.

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ways to protect against spyware etc.
by raynev / March 31, 2005 8:17 PM PST

After you run all anti virus & spyware tools & find you still have problems insert your xp cd reboot your computer press any key to boot cd and choose install it will check for any previous xp installations and offer you the choice to do a complete install or repair installation press the key(r) and let it do its thing(you wont lose any files) when finished remove cd & reboot your done.If you like install(privacy mantra (freeware)will clean your cache.

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Use Giant Anti-spyware
by kjeldc / March 31, 2005 8:41 PM PST

Nothing installs itself without your permission, if you use Giant Anti-spyware. I installed it, and run a check every day with 3-5 spyware cookies eliminated every day.

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Sigh... Switch to Linux or BSD
by jeffrob / March 31, 2005 8:42 PM PST

Spyware and its host of attendant problems and frustrations are a sad commentary on our society. The headache isn't going to go away. You have to make a choice: stay with Windows and be prepared for the constant fight or switch to another OS and breathe agian... for a while.

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I agree with 'for a while'
by whitehaven / March 31, 2005 8:56 PM PST

Virus and spyware programmers are interested in 'bang for the buck', just as any other 'entrepreneur'. It takes as much effort to write malware for Linux or BSD, but will affect a small minority of computer users only. If and when an alternate OS achieves the usage level of Windows (I carefully avoided saying 'popularity' as Windows has a sort of love/hate relationship for many)that OS will be subject to just as many attacks as Windows currently is. I don't believe it is possible to write any sort of major software without including some code that could be used as a security 'hole'.

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most effective way to protect against spyware
by bryanvackar / March 31, 2005 8:48 PM PST

There is no silver bullet that I have found, but after having experienced a nasty malware problem (including a hijacking) last June, I currently run a number of anti-spyware applications (Xoftspy, Ad-Aware, Spybot), pop-up blockers (Pop-up Manager, Free Surfer, Windows Pop-up blocker) and of course, an updated Norton Utilities/AV, all of which are always on, plus I run a scan at least weekly. I also use a firewall, plus a router, but I travel a lot with my laptop and connect in all sorts of hotspots. No, all my apps don't remove everything, as I still have a VX/2 that won't go away. Yes, it is a drain on my system resources. However, I don't know of a better way, and I have been pretty clean (except for the persistent VX/2, which is, at least, locked down and kept from doing whatever it is meant to do) since that problem last summer.

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Silent Runners.vbs
by aaronoff / March 31, 2005 8:52 PM PST

Head over to www.silentrunners.org and download the freeware "Silent Runners.vbs" script. It detects everything that starts up with Windows (the "Launch Points" list shows everything the script checks) and puts it into a text file. Run that, say, weekly, compare the results (with a text comparison program -- instructions are on the site in the "Procedures" section), and make sure you understand any differences that crept in. IMHO, that's the most effective way of identifying junkware infections. Getting rid of them is another matter. To avoid them, see the advice provided on the site.

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