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SpywareBlaster, Ad-Aware, Spybot-S&D, Windows Defender (freeware anti-spyware software)

Ryan Kulla - November 1, 2006

I’m recommending all four of these anti-spyware tools because they make a great team to keep you spyware/adware free.

Spyware is a relatively new kind of threat that common anti-virus applications do not yet fight very well. If you see new toolbars in your Internet Explorer that you didn’t intentionally install, if your browser crashes, or if you browser start page has changed without your knowing, you most probably have spyware. But even if you don’t see anything, you may be infected, because more and more spyware is emerging that is silently tracking your surfing behavior to create a marketing profile of you that will be sold to advertisement companies.

SpywareBlaster

SpywareBlaster doesn’t scan for and clean spyware–it prevents it from being installed in the first place. SpywareBlaster prevents the installation of ActiveX-based spyware, adware, dialers, browser hijackers, and other potentially unwanted programs. It can also block spyware/tracking cookies in IE and Mozilla/Firefox, and restrict the actions of spyware/ad/tracking sites. With the built-in Check for Updates feature, you can help ensure your protection is up-to-date. SpywareBlaster also includes a System Snapshot feature, which lets you take a snapshot of your computer in its clean state and later revert, undoing many changes made by spyware and browser hijackers.

To use SpywareBlaster:

  1. Open SpywareBlaster
  2. Click on the “Enable All Protection” link under Quick Tasks on the main screen
  3. Exit the program – you’re done!

SpywareBlaster does not need to remain open for its protection to be active!

You might be thinkng that SpywareBlaster should be enough since it prevents spyware but it’s goal is to prevent you attaining spyware while surfing the Web–and there’s more ways to get spyware than just the web–plus there’s no way to be sure it can truly prevent all web based spyware. So also scan your system with the programs mentioned below.

Ad-Aware

Ad-Aware Personal provides advanced protection from known data-mining, aggressive advertising, Trojans, dialers, malware, browser hijackers, and tracking components.

  • Scans fixed and removable drives, memory and Windows registry
  • Detects known and unknown variants of malware by using the Code Sequence dentification (CSI) technology
  • Removes aggressive spyware and malicious content
  • Logs information about scans and malicious content removals.

Spybot-S&D

Spybot-S&D (Search & Destroy) can detect and remove spyware of different kinds from your computer. To see a list of threats that Spybot-S&D can remove, click on Support in the navigation bar at the left, and there on Threats.

Spybot-S&D can start in two modes: Easy mode for new users who want just the basic features, and Advanced mode for professional users and those who want more control. Both modes are available in the free version. For a list of the features that are available in the different modes click here

Windows Defender

Windows Defender is a free program that helps protect your computer against pop-ups, slow performance, and security threats caused by spyware and other unwanted software. It features Real-Time Protection, a monitoring system that recommends actions against spyware when it’s detected, and a new streamlined interface that minimizes interruptions and helps you stay productive.

TIPS

If you can’t see a download link for Windows Defender on its web site it’s because you have to use the Internet Explorer web browser, since it’s on microsoft.com and Microsoft doesn’t want to support other browsers than their own. I am proud of Microsoft for finally caring enough about security to provide this fine and free security tool.

These four programs, along with using Firefox when you surf the web–and being careful of programs you download and install–should be more than enough to keep you adware/spyware free. Beyond them you can manually check if you have any spyware with a process probing tool such as Process Explorer; doing an online virus/spyware scan with Housecall (note: this scans very slowly); using an anti-malware tool such as Ewido; and if you’re more advanced, definitely check out Hijack This (Read this and this tutorial first)

I also highly recommend that you use a program called DropMyRights which is a tool that allows administrators to run internet-facing applications (such as email clients and web browsers) as a non-administrator.

If your system is already totally infested with spyware and you’re not a Windows expert I recommend that you backup your important files, format your harddrive and reinstall–then use these tools from a fresh system. Unfortunately, you can’t just rely on anti-spyware applications to completely save you from all the evils of the world.

Read this article if you use FireFox.

Remember that security is all about having the latest updates and patches for your security software–so make sure to update these things all the time!

This entry was posted on Wednesday, November 1st, 2006 at 10:56 am and is filed under Main. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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9 Responses to “SpywareBlaster, Ad-Aware, Spybot-S&D, Windows Defender (freeware anti-spyware software)”

  1. Bill Says:

    Please immediately remove the ALT tag reference to my web site attached to the image of the “inspector”. You have 24-hours to remove any reference to my web site name.

  2. Margaret Says:

    Can I run all of the above with McAfee?

  3. Marge Renchin Says:

    Yesterday, I got a popup that told me I had 200 plus tracking cookies that needed to be removed and I could have Windows Defender do it for free. I pushed to install, but somehow lost the site before getting the job done. How can I get that back?

  4. Tarja Says:

    Actually, you can use the combination of all of the above antispyware tools as long as you don’t enable real-time protection. Just install them and use to scan your computer from time time and remove found spyware. Otherwise things can get really messy.

  5. Man Van Says:

    I get where you’re coming from. Having done my time in the transport game myself I’ve seen more crazy things then I’d like to mention. Thanks for the great post.

  6. graphic design careers Says:

    You actually wrote about many curious things in this posting. I found it by using Google and I have to admit that I already subscribed for your blog site, it is extremely good 😉

  7. Bookem Says:

    Sounds like a really good program. I think I;’ll do a little more research before I take the plunge. Thanks for sharing this.

  8. technology blog Says:

    Great look at ways to clear malware from your computer. Thanks

  9. Randee Grajek Says:

    Its what i was looking for thanks a lot

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