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How to Avoid Spyware

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How to Avoid Spyware

By Hottman Computers & Consulting Co

www.HottmanComputers.com


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What is Spyware

  • Software that gets installed on your PC that directs ad via pop-ups, collects information about where and what you do or buy on the Internet. Most of it is relatively benign but some are working on identity theft.

  • PC Magazine - Opting into Identity Theft http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1759,1625608,00.asp

  • PC Magazine - Identity Theft: What, Me Worry? http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1759,1522469,00.asp


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Do I have spyware & what now!

PC Magazine March 2, 2004 issue

11 Signs of Spyware http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1759,1524266,00.asp

Spy Stoppers http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1759,1522489,00.asp great article that reviews some 14 different software packages.


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Getting rid of spyware

  • Ad-Aware www.lavasoft.de

    • Instructions on web site www.hottmancomputers.com

  • Spybot Search and Destroy 1.3 (new version) www.spybot.info

  • Both free, found Ad-aware the most effective but often install both

  • Most often require manual removal from the registry

  • On occasion but rare, wipe the computer and reload everything new


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How to avoid Spyware

  • PC Magazine has an article with the same title http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1759,1522568,00.asp


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Other things

  • Windows update

    • Automatically download critical

      • Only available WinME, Win2K, & WinXP

      • Win98 has an alert that needs to be installed.

    • Manually

      • From the Start button

      • Within Internet Explorer, Tools, Windows Update

      • Windows XP install all except

        • Microsoft Windows Journal Viewer

        • Microsoft .NET Framework


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Additional items

  • Delete files in Windows Temp folder

    • Location differs depending on the operating system

    • C:\Windows\Temp

    • C:\documents and settings\username\localsettings\temp (hidden by default)

    • Created a shortcut that will dump these with one confirmation using the deltree.exe


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Additional items

  • Delete Temporary Internet Files

  • Control Panel, Internet Options, General Tab, middle section is labeled Temporary Internet Files, click the Delete Files button, check the box labeled Delete all off-line Content

  • Also click the Setting button and change the Check for newer version to Every visit to the page, and change the Amount of disk space to use 100MB (this is a one time change)


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Additional items

  • Spyware and viruses like to hide in the Windows Temp & in the Temporary Internet Files

  • By deleting these you may rid the PC of some of these.

  • Some are marked read only or in the case of XP will change the Rights so you can not delete them


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Change browsers

  • InfoWorld Enterprise Windows “You know you’ve got a browser problem when…” http://www.infoworld.com/article/04/07/09/28enterwin_1.html

  • InfoWorld security adviser“Dropping Internet Explorer http://www.infoworld.com/article/04/07/16/29secadvise_1.html

    InfoWorld security adviser “The worm that wasn’t quite” http://www.infoworld.com/article/04/07/02/27secadvise_1.html


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Choices

  • Are the Browser Wars Back?How Mozilla's Firefox trumps Internet Explorer. http://slate.msn.com/id/2103152/

  • Mozilla organization http://www.mozilla.org/

  • Mozilla

  • Firefox


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Anti-Virus

  • Keep your anti-virus updated

  • Run a Live Update weekly

    • Definitions may be automatic

    • Product or other core part of the program will only be updated with a Live Update.

  • Symantec (Norton) & McAfee have attempted to detect spyware but so far what I’ve seen they are next to worthless.


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Safe Computing

  • Has changed radically

  • You are not longer prompted before something installs on your computer.

  • Turn off ActiveX or use a different browser for searching

  • Banks and many others require Internet Explorer to access but than you know these sites and should be safe


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“And Hey – Let’s be careful out there!”

Hill Street Blues


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