Anti-spyware software - are they worth the money?

  Red Devil 12:23 08 Jun 2006

Hi all,

I'm starting to feel what is the point of all the anti-spyware protection I - and no doubt others - take and is all the expense worth it?

I have several of the better, recommended products available - or they were when I got them - (SpyBot, AdAware, Ewido, Windows Defender, SpySweeper, A-Squared and SpywareBlaster), run 4 scans a day with 4 of the programs and periodic scans with the others as well as have SpywareBlaster sitting, supposedly, resident on my machine preventing the spyware from getting onto my PC in the first place.

So what happens? The first program does it's scan and reports that it found some spyware and has removed it. The second one runs and promptly finds the same piece of spyware and that IT has removed it. The 3rd one then runs and IT finds the same piece of spyware and that it.....well you can guess what happens next.

I can even run the same program that has just completed a scan, reported some spyware and has removed it and it will promptly find the same piece of spyware again!

So, it would seem, these anti-spyware programs can find spyware but none of them seem to be able to remove it.

Then there's the other downside. These programs are all incredibly resource hungry. Whenever I run one of these programs it slows my system down to a crawl and my PC is, to all intents and purposes, unusable. It's not as if these scans are quick either. SpySweeper can take an hour and a half on my PC to do a scan on a bad day.

So are we getting value for money with these products? If anti-virus programs were so poor at removing virii they wouldn't sell a copy but the majority of these products cost good money to buy them - and I've even bought the ones that are shareware and are still usable to a degree if you don't pay for them - yet they seem incapable of doing the job for which they are intended.

Luckily for me the spyware being found itsn't that much of an issue as they are, generally, tracking cookies associated with website hitcounters (Statcounter, Webtrends, etc) but my concern is - what if a piece of truly nasty spyware or malware got onto my computer. Could I rely on the programs I've bought to protect and/or immunise my PC? From what I've seen of them to date I don't think I could.

Anyone else feel that way? Or is it just me?

  Devil Fish 12:50 08 Jun 2006

some antispyware progs quarentine spyware so it is quite feasable when you run the scan with different software it is picking up the spyware in quarrentine

cant say that i have had this personnaly but then i only run defender and ewido

  961 13:02 08 Jun 2006

Well I think a couple of good ones is all you need. One of them can be spywareblaster which will prevent spyware running and, if it is kept up to date rather negates the need to run any scans at all. The free version will do you fine

As to another you could try Spyware Doctor which is not expensive and not too resource hungry. Of the others, I agree some of them have huge databases and take forever to scan. But, as I say, scanning is not something you need to do IMHO provided you are not trawling round sites which provide trouble with a capital T

One good virus checker, one good firewall, two good spyware products and you really are home and dry. And, to be honest, if you are a home user, you don't need to pay for any of them

  gudgulf 13:34 08 Jun 2006

It's also worth bearing in mind that some scanners list and remove tracking soon as you revisit any website which uses them......most do,incuding this one,then they will be reloaded on your pc.

Microsofts Defender plus SpyewareBlaster and a regular clean up of temporary files/unwanted cookies with CCleaner click here will shift or prevent nearly all adware/spyware worth worrying about.And don't underestimate the value of CCleaner as most unwanted item live in the temporary files that it clears.

Add a free av and firewall plus a liberal dose of common sense and you will be fine.

Using the above I haven't had more than a handfull of positive results from any scanner for more than 18months.

Other programs such as Adaware,A2,SpybotS&D,Ewido and the rest can be kept on the pc as standalone backups for occasional use......they wont use any resources unless called upon to run.

Running more than one scanner several times a day is overkill....let Defender run a daily quickscan and run ccleaner a couple of times a week.That should be all you need.Don't forget to scan with your av too.

Chuck in an in-depth scan every so often and or a scan with another scanner if you must.

Incidentally all of the programs mentioned are Freeware........If I were going to pay for my protection I would use NOD32 with Sunbelt/Kerio firewall and Sunbelt Counterspy.SpywareBlaster would stay as would regular cleans with CCleaner.

  freaky 13:41 08 Jun 2006

I use AVG Free for Virus protection, and the Kerio Firewall. I also have SpyBot Search & Destroy - SpywareBlaster - Ad-Aware SE Personal.

Tuesday morning on bootup, AVG informed me that a Trojan Horse Downloader Zlob.exe had been found.

I was pleased that AVG was awake, but was surprised that SpywareBlaster did not notice this Trojan!

  beynac 14:02 08 Jun 2006

SpywareBlaster blocks certain websites and cookies and prevents the download of known, malicious ActiveX controls. It is not an anti-virus program.

  freaky 15:25 08 Jun 2006

I was under the impression rightly/wrongly, that a Trojan was not a virus as such. Therefore an AV program would not detect it.

As AVG detected this Trojan it would appear I was wrong!

  spuds 15:29 08 Jun 2006

It can be a case of getting rather paranoid as to installing every type of security or protection device.In the end the results will lead to utter confusion for you and the computer.

Stick to the free well recommended programmes like MS Defender, SpywareBlaster and/or perhaps Ewido/a2squared for misc problems.

  spuds 15:33 08 Jun 2006

Of course AVG or Avast (not both), Zonealarm are essential for major anti-virus and firewall protection.The computer will need these!.

  GANDALF <|:-)> 15:48 08 Jun 2006

As I have often written, all you need is AVG/Avast, Windows Defender, Spybot or adaware (in reserve only) and COMMON SENSE you will have no problems. There is no use having oodles of spyware protection and cookies are usually classed as 'spyware' by programmes. They are harmless and can be left on for ages.


ps .....a firewall as well if you feel thast you need one.

  Totally-braindead 18:58 08 Jun 2006

Its interesting but I've been tempted to say something about spyware to someone else who was running 7 or it might have been 8 different spyware programs which is getting a bit beyond a joke. You can end up spending all your time running all the different spyware programs and have no time left to do anything else.

I run 2, adaware which is free and counterspy which isn't free but got a very good review in a couple of mags and is only $19.99 for a year, £11 or £12 a year. I run each program perhaps once a week and thats about it. The majority of the things they find are not really harmful to your PC. No ad removal program is 100% efficient which is why most people say use 2 different ones that way you should be able to get rid of almost all of them. Running too many programs is to me a bit of a waste of time.

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