Copyright Michael Karbo, Denmark, Europe.
Chapter 17. Spyware
Spyware is one of the most widespread types of malware. These are small spy programs which creep softly into a computer via other types of data. For example, a lot of spyware is spread via a so-called peer-to-peer file sharing network such as Kazaa etc. Spyware can also be built in shareware programs.
So Spyware is software, which as a hidden function can send information back to a software firm (or maybe a marketing firm). This might be information about, which websites you visit and much more.
There are almost 100.000 different kinds of spyware but fortunately it is quite easy to scan a computer for them. There are two well-known programs, which can be used to fight spyware.
The program Spybot Search & Destroy is completely free of charge; the German Patrick M. Kolla has made it his own personal mission to fight against dishonest software. The program can freely be downloaded at the web address www.safer-networking.org.
When the program is installed, you just click on Check for problems. Then Spybot scans your computer and finds the problems. Evil software is deleted by clicking on Fix selected problems.
If Spybot cannot get through a scanning without stopping then this is a sign that Windows is in such a poor condition that it needs to be reinstalled.
Figure 92. Spybot is a great tool.
Lavasoft is a Swedish/German software house, which also produces scanning software against spyware.
Figure 93. From Lavasoft's homepage
Try visiting www.lavasoft.de, and download the program Ad-aware, which is designed to remove Data-mining, aggressive advertising, Parasites, Scumware, selected traditional Trojans, Dialers, Malware, Browser hijackers, and tracking components.
It might be expected that Spybot and Ad-aware work in the same way. But often one of the programs finds spyware, which the other hasn't found. So I would really recommend that you use both Spybot and Ad-aware. Both tools can be downloaded free of charge.
Figure 94. Ad-aware found a spy program, which Spybot had missed..