by June 7, 2004 0 comments



Whenever you surf the Net or download any software, you generally end up installing stuff that you never wanted, or were not aware of. This is done without your consent and knowledge. At times the software would still install even if you close the window. Or sometimes a program installs itself from a pop-up ad where clicking any button results in downloading software. Also, if you want to uninstall such software from your PC, it doesn’t let you do that. All these are termed as
spyware.

Spyware is capable of doing a lot of harm to you and your system since it collects data about you, private or otherwise, and stores it in a database, without specifically telling you what it will do with it. It’s also capable of hampering your system’s settings by changing your browser’s home page and making it difficult to change it to the one that you may want. Besides this, spyware steals memory resources since it uses your PC’s memory and also eats the bandwidth as it sends information back to the spyware’s home via your Internet connection. Because of this, the applications running in the background can lead to system crashes or general system instability. The loss in terms of the number of working hours cannot be overlooked either, with users having to delete and monitor these file types.

Direct
Hit!
Applies to:
PC users
USP: Protect your privacy
Links:
www.sourceforge.net 

Having said all this, let’s now take a look at how you can get rid of them. The market is filled with loads of adware and spyware-removing software (free, shareware and paid). You can download these from websites and use them. Also, there are pop-up (that may have been generated by spywares) blocker add-ins, which you can easily find from websites such as Google and MSN. And with the new Service Pack 2 update for Win XP coming up, IE will come with the feature of blocking
pop ups, and make your lives much easier.

From the Options tab, you can select the setting that you need

This month’s Essential CD has some good anti-spy software. You can use SpywareStopper (a shareware for 15 days, but you can buy it for $20 from its website www.spyware-stopper.com/spystop/buys ws.shtm), a utility for detecting and blocking spywares with more than 350 known ActiveX signatures. Another good feature of the software is that it blocks any kind of change in the IE homepage. And without the explicit consent of the user it cannot be changed in any case. The software also allows you to enable or disable any cookie getting downloaded from any website. It is also capable of disabling the add-ins of your IE. The best part is that it monitors all the ports and shows you which ports are active and which applications are using these ports to get connected with which sites. This is very useful in case there is a new spyware, which this software cannot detect at that point of time. It can still let you know that some unwanted application is doing something in your system, and allow you to disable it.

There are other spyware-removal software available in the CD as well, such as X-Cleaner freeware, AntiSpy WebTunnel and Aluria’s spyware scanner (all are shareware). 

Neha Shamshery

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