Tenebril SpyCatcher 2006
Tenebril's SpyCatcher 2006 is a powerful and elegant solution for protecting your system against spyware. In testing done by Download.com, SpyCatcher did very well, finishing at the top of our list for removing known spyware and ranking third for overall performance. Bought separately, SpyCatcher 2006 costs $29.95. It's also included with the Platinum version of Tenebril's popular GhostSurf anonymous-surfing program, which costs $39.95. A scaled-back free version, SpyCatcher Express, uses the same antispyware technology as SpyCatcher 2006 but offers fewer features. For example, SpyCatcher includes a Hosts File list analyzer and antiphishing monitoring. If you can live without those features, don't mind manually checking for program updates, and are running Windows 2000 or higher, then the free SpyCatcher Express is an excellent choice.
Setup and installation are a snap. The helpful Configuration wizard walks you through the process of adjusting the program settings to perform an initial scan of your system. We found SpyCatcher's interface clear and intuitive, with all features and settings easily accessible via logically grouped tabs. The Spyware Scan window displays tasteful graphic animations that show current tasks and the progress of system scans.
Both versions of SpyCatcher identify and remove spyware from your system. Besides antispyware protection, the paid version of SpyCatcher offers Cookie Manager, which removes unwanted tracking cookies, and System Explorer, which provides detailed information about the applications running on your computer. The paid version also has an alert system that can be configured to prompt you about various suspicious events. The paid version of SpyCatcher 2006 performs automatic updates while running in the background. You can also use SpyCatcher's Scheduler to automate system scans for spyware on a daily, weekly, biweekly, or monthly basis. If your computer is off at the time of a scheduled scan, the scan will run the next time you boot your PC. SpyCatcher uses a unique profiling technology to help identify new and mutating forms of spyware. It also has a patent-pending technique to avoid phishing scams--something other antispyware apps don't offer. By doing a real-time comparison of the sites you're visiting and the actual sites of popular phishing targets, SpyCatcher 2006 warns you if a visited site appears to be an imposter. Unique to SpyCatcher is a feature that allows you to specify a protection level and have any file that exceeds that level automatically quarantined or removed.
In testing performed by Download.com, SpyCatcher ranked among the fastest antispyware apps tested, completing a full scan in just less than eight minutes. SpyCatcher further distinguished itself by identifying almost every piece of known spyware we threw at it, including one crafty app that most of the others apps consistently missed. After scan and removal, SpyCatcher left behind only one app, BargainBuddy, along with a trace element of Search Exe. Unfortunately, Tenebril offered us scant information about the specific apps it removed.
Technical support for both the free and paid versions of SpyCatcher is readily available. Tenebril's well-organized Web site includes a detailed manual and helpful FAQs. Tenebril offers e-mail support only to users of the paid version. Phone support does not come with purchase of the product, but you can buy it separately for $9.95 per year.