Spyware cripping pc's

  Tecno Dan 09:56 28 Jul 2004

Morning All,

In my job im constantly dealing with computers that have just been completely crippled with spyware.

In a newsletter I read other day where Microsoft was claiming a third of all application crashes were down to spyware.

Seams like we have only just got people educated into having anti-virus software. Now we have the problem of spyware which most users are completely oblivious to.

The highest amount of spyware I have seen on a clients pc recently was 1300items.

Just wondered what the views were of the other forum users about this problem that the vast majority of people don’t know about?



  spuds 12:19 28 Jul 2004

At one time, my local PCWorld use to display how many virus or spyware had been caught on the machines they had in for repair.They don't seem to display this now,but previously it was in the very high figures.

I generally find that people tend to forget to check and update. I have downloaded and installed various good and well recommended 'free' programmes on friends computers, only to find that they are well behind with the updates when I visit, as they have forgotten to check.Doesn't matter, how many times you explain the situation, it never seems to make any difference.

  JYPX 13:48 28 Jul 2004

Tecno Dan, This is a huge issue. No other pc topic currently compares with this in terms of importance. I just don't know where we are going with this problem. When the mag (pcadvisor) ran a feature 3 or 4 months ago with clear advice that we should obtain and run FOUR different anti-spyware apps I though that someone was having a laugh but that article is proving to be spot-on, ie spyware is the new threat. I very much hope that Microsoft are throwing huge resources at trying to come up with some solutions, because if not we are heading for trouble.
Your thread should be sparking some serious debate right here right now.

  GANDALF <|:-)> 15:30 28 Jul 2004

Providing people keep their AV updated and use Adaware and Spybot, combined with a few simple measures, they will have no problems whatsoever. A lot of the perceived problem is due to laziness and not following a simple regime. The 'problem' is grossly over-stated.


  Old Shep 15:57 28 Jul 2004

I have had a similar thread on speakers corner click here and unlike GANDALF <|:-)> I find it a nightmare constantly checking for various updates and scanning. Again, I just hope that Microsoft get their sp2 spot on and it should be an end to this nightmare.

  Nellie2 16:19 28 Jul 2004

I spend a lot of my free time helping people who have had their systems compromised by spyware/adware/malware.

I do this voluntarily because in my view if this carries on then the internet will become unusable for all of us. It is a constant battle and the anti-spyware apps that are available are excellent. But time and time again I see problems that can only be fixed with detailed in depth knowledge and understanding.
The worst thing is that a lot of these spywares are so badly written that they make a persons system almost unusable and therefore defeat the object for which they were unleashed.

It is an intrusion into our lives and our property, it is a battle that I will continue to fight in my own little way and the best thing that everyone can do is to make sure that your AV is up to date, that your firewall doesn't let anything 'phone home' if you don't know what it is, that you scan and clean your systems regularly and that you find out about preventative software like spyware guard, ie/spyad, spyware blaster etc. Merijn, the author of Coolweb Shredder has also just released a Patch called BugOff... which should patch some holes that the Coolweb problem has been taking advantage of.

Rant over! :)

  DanTi - (Formally Tecno Dan) 18:22 28 Jul 2004

I suppose like virus protection the end user needs to be educated into the threat that they are facing.

Unfortunately on a daily basic I speak to your average "Joe" who still doesn’t see the need for anti-virus software, and when you try and explain about spyware he think MI6 are on his trial. :)

My company had a client in the past week who phoned up about massive ISDN bills they were getting. A look on some of there client pcs found various diallers that were dialling with via the isdn router for long period during the evening. This was producing ISDN bills in the thousands of pounds.

Our of interest what programs do you all find the best for removing spyware?



  Forum Editor 18:39 28 Jul 2004

(apart from those on corporate networks) is usually riddled with spyware.

Many of my private clients have no idea that spyware exists, and some people find it difficult to grasp the concept of spyware - they simply don't understand what it is, what it can do, and how it can get there in the first place. Viruses are pretty well into the mainstream of conciousness now, but spyware is still a largely unknown danger as far as the average computer user is concerned.

  Dorsai 19:39 28 Jul 2004

It is a problem.

You only have to visit these fourums on a regular basis to see that the 'my homepage has been hijacked' thread crops on a regular basis, and the solutions, ADaware, Spybot, A^2, etc are not exactly 'close kept secrets'.

The main problem is that people are not arare of the problem. it is simple to avoid, but if you don't know it exists, how do you avoid it?

when i first went on line i got well stuffed by numerous malware's, as i did not know such stuff existed. I had a virus program. I thought that was all i needed.

Tracking cookies, trojans, spyware, home-page hijacking, etc??? never heard of any of it, and i read PC mags regulaly, and they don't seem to mention it too much.

  gudgulf 23:51 28 Jul 2004

HHHHMMMMMMMM....Just wondering if this might be part of the problem.Reading GANDALF <|:-)>'s response could it be that many of the peole who clearly know what they are talking about are completely oblivious to the lack of technical expertise of the average pc owner?

I would hazard a guess that the vast majority of pc owners and users have never ventured near a computer magazine,let alone checking out a forum such as this one.As has been mentioned above, the sheer weight of threads from people having this sort of problem suggests that even those that do have enough interest to visit this site are constantly being caught by adware/spyware .

I for one salute the likes of Nellie2.....Many members of this forum would be lost without you and others who champion the fight against adware/spyware/hijacking threats.

  Forum Editor 00:30 29 Jul 2004

use computers primarily for email, for the odd letter, and to check holiday details on the web. They aren't knowledgeable about the inner workings of their machines for the same reason I'm not knowledgeable about my car's engine management system - I would rather watch concrete set than delve into that.

People who read computer magazines and visit web forums are very much the minority. They're outnumbered many times to one by the 'normal' home computer user, so it's not surprising that most people don't know a virus from a hijacker - why should they?

Hold that thought, and then watch the helproom for a couple of days. There are the slightly more computer literate people by the hundred - the ones who have more than a passing interest in computers. They've registered with a web forum, and they possibly read the magazine and they are posting thread after thread about spyware and browser hijackers et al. That should give as good an indication as it's possible to have that there's a massive problem out there, and most of the people who are affected haven't a clue what to do about it.

On saturday I was asked to go to the home of one of my corporate clients. His company network has 700 desktops and he's nobody's fool when it comes to business. The problem was that his three childrfen - all in their early teens - running identical Dell machines all had major difficulties with internet access on the wireless network. A quick check showed me that there were 84 instances of spyware spread over the three machines and two of them had hijacked browsers. Nobody had the faintest idea what had happened, or how, or what to do. None of these people could be classed as complete novices, but they were completely lost.

Multiply that by a few million and you have a rough idea of the sheer size of the problem.

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