Spyware Removal and Tutorials
Spyware is abundant and we are here to help make the removal of spyware much more painless!
Spyware is computer malware (not software) that gathers personal information from a person's computer. This information is gathered without the person's permission and, often, it is acquired without the person's knowledge. The following is what YOU need to know about spyware and how WE can help you with your quest of spyware removal!!
The History of Spyware
Spyware was developed as a marketing tool by advertising companies. It is often placed inside programs and activex controls, which once they are run are then installed into your system to begin their malicious activities.
Spyware was originally developed in order to send anonymous statistical data to ad companies. In this way, the companies could better target their products to the right customers. According to the privacy policies of these companies, no sensitive information is to be gathered through their "software." But the definition of "sensitive" has been stuck in a gray area for a couple of years now.
The Problems of Spyware
Unfortunately, there is no way for a computer user to control what information is actually gathered. This is where spyware becomes a concern for computer users. In a world filled with identity theft scares and con artists, what pertinent information might be getting gathered?
While reputable advertising companies willingly disclose the type of information they collect, there is nothing stopping dishonorable companies from gathering information of a more personal nature. Despite the many concerns people share about spyware, it remains legal for companies to utilize. For this reason, the job of protecting yourself from spyware falls into your own hands.
Common Spyware Programs
Spyware programs can be devastating to a computer, yet every day people intentionally install spyware onto their computers. Of course, this is often done with the misguided belief that they are downloading a useful internet tool or game. For this reason, it is important to be aware of some of the most popular spyware programs on the net.
Nail.exe (aka aurora)
Nail.exe is designed by Direct Revenue under the name Aurora. Its purpose is to deliver ad content to the computer. The executives at Direct Revenue claim it is compliant with Federal legislation, but those who have become infected with it know that it can be tricky to remove. Manual spyware removal instructions for Nail.exe/Aurora can be found on this site.
Winfixer 2005/Winfixer 2006 (aka Trojan.vundo.b, virtumundo)
Winfixer 2005 is an advertisement for a "registry cleaner" software that continually asks the user to download the software every time the system receives a reboot or through various points of browsing the web. We refer to the actual spyware as "Winfixer 2005" and "Winfixer 2006" due to the program that it advertises. These messages continue to appear even after the user says no. This spyware tends to confuse and even frighten computer users with its continual barrage of pop-ups.
CoolWebSearch is adware that makes more than $300 million a year. The spyware program comes in many forms, but once on the computer it hijacks the web search errors screens and takes over the browser's home page. It can even modify settings in Internet Explorer. Recent computer audits showed that CoolWebSearch is currently installed on about 50% of computers online at any given time.
Gator/Gain is adware that displays banner ads based on a person's web surfing habits. This adware gets often gets onto computer systems because it is included in free software packages. One popular software program it was included with is Kazaa. Gator is a very not very malicious and has mostly disappeared from being installed on computers. You may remember as it as the little alligator that used to pop up in the bottom right hand corner of your screen.
180search Assistant Spyware
180search assistant is another pervasive adware program. It creates pop-up advertisements on the user's computer based upon the user's web search activity. Every time a user searches a keyword, 180search assistant opens its own browser window. It then shows an ad from a company that relates somehow to the key word that was searched. 180 search assistant is usually installed on a computer by another spyware program. Therefore, a person infected with 180search assistant is most likely infected with other spyware programs, as well.
ISTbar is a tool that is used to search pornographic websites. It is often installed by an ActiveX drive-by download on affiliate sites, which are typically porn sites themselves. Once installed, ISTbare will display pornographic pop-ups and it will hijack the users homepage as well as internet searches.
Guarding Against and Detecting Spyware
The best method to avoid having to go through the process of removing spyware, is to not become infected in the first place!
To ensure that personal information, such as credit card numbers, bank account numbers, and your social security number, are not being obtained through spyware, it is essential to install anti-spyware and anti-virus programs on your computer. There are two main categories of programs: real time protection and scanning and removal.
Real time spyware protection prevents spyware from being installed in the first place. This is done in a similar method as antivirus protection. The software scans all incoming disk files and network data as it is downloaded and/or executed. It then blocks out all activity from spyware components. Oftentimes, real time protection anti-spyware programs also intercept attempts to modify the settings of the browser and to install startup items.
Scanning and removal, on the other hand, is perform just as their name implies. These programs inspect the contents within the operating system files, the Windows registry and the installed programs. They then remove all files and entries that are known to be spyware files or to have spyware components. NOD32 is an excellent virus scanner and also is our preferred real-time spyware scanner. Explore this site further to learn more!
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