Spyware can easily bypass your
anti-virus, anti-spam and firewall protection
Programs that piggyback on legitimate downloads in order to
secretly install on your computer system without your knowledge
are amongst the most common types of spyware. One effective means
to reduce spyware cookies is to adjust
how your web browser handles the cookies
sent to you. Running anti-spyware programs from safe mode can
often make them more effective. Network
Chico uses a preinstall environment to scan for viruses
and spyware which often makes removal of malware easier and more
complete. It should be noted that sometimes a system can become
so infected that the only solution is to back up all important
data and then reinstall the operating system in its entirety.
The number of spyware programs grew 25% in 2004 and is on track
to surpass that in 2005. Even worse, spyware makers are getting
sneakier, constantly modifying existing programs to avoid detection.
Six signs your computer might be infected with spyware:
- Popup windows or web site redirection
- Frequent computer crashes
- Strange hard drive/modem behavior
- Unusually slow computer and/or Internet connection
- Search tool bars appear in your browser or your home page
- Stolen credit card numbers, identity theft, or phone charges
to 1-900 numbers
Network Chico recommends
the following solutions to help Windows
users cope with spyware:
is the best free program available today for removing unwanted
browser cookies and various types of
adware from computers running Windows.
Use it often and keep it updated with the current reference list.
The latest version called Ad-aware SE scans more completely
and quickly than any previous version. Network
Chico recommends the regular and frequent use of this
program to all Windows users.
Search & Destroy is an excellent program for removing
unwanted spyware, trackware and adware. The new version (1.4)
also includes the ability to immunize your system from future
malicious programs and cookies. Network
Chico recommends the use of this program.
uses a heuristic approach to detecting attacks and violations
of your computing environment. Traditional security programs
scan your hard drive searching for previously identified threats.
WinPatrol takes snapshot of your critical system resources and
alerts you to any changes that may occur without your knowledge.
- Windows Defender (beta 2) from Microsoft.
Microsoft Windows Defender (Beta 2) is a security technology
that helps protect Windows users
from spyware and other potentially unwanted software. Known spyware
on your PC can be detected and removed. This helps reduce negative
effects caused by spyware, including slow PC performance, annoying
pop-up ads, unwanted changes to Internet settings, and unauthorized
use of your private information. Continuous protection improves
Internet browsing safety by guarding more than 50 ways spyware
can enter your PC. Participants in the worldwide SpyNet
community play a key role in determining which suspicious programs
are classified as spyware. Microsoft researchers quickly develop
methods to counteract these threats, and updates are automatically
downloaded to your PC so you stay up to date.
- SpywareBlaster can help keep your
system spyware-free and secure without interfering with the "good
side" of the web. And unlike other programs SpywareBlaster
does not have to remain running in the background.
- Spyware Warrior is a web site that
maintains a list of rogue or suspect products of unknown, questionable,
or dubious value as anti-spyware protection. Network
Chico does not recommend the use of
the products listed on this page.
- Always read the license agreement before installing any
software downloaded from the Internet. While this will not
always allow you to avoid spyware being installed it can sometimes
help you prevent it.
- Close all advertisement popups and windows by clicking
the 'X' in the upper right corner
of the window. Some windows will offer you the ability to
click 'cancel' and this should be avoided as there are no guarantees
what will be the result. Only closing the window with the 'X' or 'Alt+F4' offers you
protection from possible spyware or malware being installed.
offers a free
online spyware scan though you would need to purchase their
software for automated removal. Manual removal of some spyware
can be difficult and risky.
- Adware: Adware causes
ad banners to pop-up on your screen, changes banners on websites,
can replace your Yahoo and Google search results with advertisements
instead of your true results, and place Windows advertisements
on your desktop, start menu, and in your web browser Favorites
- Spyware: Spyware is installed
on your computer without you knowledge. You might be surfing
web sites, checking email, downloading music, sharing photos
or downloading a program. Spyware installs keyloggers, monitoring
software, web site loggers and also common adware, web parasites,
tracking cookies and many other annoying
devices used to invade your privacy.
- Browser Hijacker: A browser
hijacker changes your home page without your permission and can
also install parasites in your software that acts like spyware
- Key logger: A Key logger
is an invisible program to secretly monitor and record a user's
activities on a computer. When a key logger is installed on your
computer people can see exactly what you have been doing off-line
and online without you knowing you are being watched.
- Trojan Horses: A trojan
horse is a program in which malicious or harmful code is contained
inside apparently harmless programming or data in such a way
that it can get control and do its chosen form of damage, such
as ruining the file allocation table on your hard disk. A trojan
horse may be widely redistributed as a part of spyware.
- Malware: Malware, for
"malicious software," is programming or files that
are developed for the purpose of doing harm. Thus, malware includes
computer viruses, worms, and trojan
- Dialer: A dialer adware/spyware
attack is when a program hacker launches when you visit certain
web sites. It could be a web page with pornography, underground,
hacker, warez, crack, or illegal program downloads that explain
to access restricted pages you need to download a free dialer
which is in fact dialer spyware. In the worst case the dialer
sets up an expensive number as the default Internet connection
meaning the user will have to pay high rates for being online
without even knowing it until receiving their next telephone
For more terms and definitions please visit the glossary
of computer terms or the security
Check out the Network Chico
for links to more information and tools to combat spyware. And
don't forget about the computer security
terms glossary for definitions of common security related
Network Chico also offers
a mirror of the Startup Applications
list which provides searchable information about startup
items and whether they pose possible threats or not.
Tip: Avoid installing
or using any peer-to-peer file sharing software as these popular
programs nearly always either install spyware or make it easy
for spyware to be installed on your system.