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Topic Title: Guide: Spyware, what it is and how to clean it.
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Created On: 02/18/2005 09:40 PM
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 02/18/2005 09:40 PM
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Joined: 10/27/2004

In my opinion, spyware is the biggest problem we face while browsing the internet.

So, we need to figure out these 4 things:
[color=green]1. what is spyware
2. how can I tell if my computer is infected
3. how do I clean my computer
4. how do I stay clean[/color]

So let's start with #1
What is spyware?
here's a definiton:
[quote]A technology that assists in gathering information about a person or organization without their knowledge. On the Internet, "spyware is programming that is put in someone's computer to secretly gather information about the user and relay it to advertisers or other interested parties." As such, spyware is cause for public concern about privacy on the Internet[/quote]

But what does that mean to us?
I consider spyware to be anything that harms your security/privacy while you are on the internet.
Spyware includes, but is not limited to these things:
[color=blue]1. tracking cookies (the most beign of spyware, but spyware none the less)
2. dailers- these are programs that use your modem to dail to premium phone #'s
3. Browser hijacks- your start page is changed, you cant get to certain web pages, you are redirected... etc
4. general spyware- records and reports your activities on your computer
5. general adware- displays advertisements on your computer[/color]

These types range from almost acceptable to downright dispicable.... which brings us to point 2:

[quote]how can I tell if my computer is infected?[/quote]
2. You already are. I am dead serious. Over 90% of all computers have spyware of some kind on them.
The thing is that most spyware can get on our computers silently, and are unobtrusive so we don't know that they are there.

When you get alot of spyware, or the bad infections, you may notice one or more of the following symptoms:
[color=red]Well these are some symptoms of computers with BAD infections:
1. sloooooow computer
2.sloooooooow internet
3. Popups galore
4. Your browser keeps changing or acting funny
5. Your internet connection always seems to be downloading something
Ok, so we have spyware on our computers, what can we do about it?
Well, this is where the problem starts. There is no one program that can stop all spyware, or even a majority of spyware.
We are accustomed to anti-virus programs that are actually on the ball. AV companies can quicly identify virii and update definitions.

On the contrast, spyware is much harder to contain/control.
The thing is, there is alot more spyware than virii. There are no programs that have comprehensive spyware coverage.

This means that we have to do these 3 things to combat spyware already on our computer:
1. identify which spyware we have on our computer
2. find the files where it is running from
3. find how the spyware is starting up.

For low-level spyware, automated scans do the trick.
here are the basic 3 scanners:
[color=green]1. adaware
download it here:

Then see this tutorial to see how to set it up:

[color=purple]2. spybot.
download here:

then see this tutorial on how to set it up:

download here:

Now let's say you've run those programs, and you still have problems,
It's time to go to the best spyware detector around: hijackthis

HijackThis works differently from other programs. It doesn't try to identify spyware. Rathere, it detects certain settings and posts a log. The log will contain legitamate items and maybe some spyware.
Download the program here:

here is a tutorial:
**I don't recommend looking at the whole tutorial. Just look at the setup part.

Then you need to have someone go over the log.
Here are some great forums that I am also enrolled in:

Post a log there, and you will get answers.
[COLOR=purple]Please don't post the same problem in more than one forum.
Why? It is disrespectful. Spyware fighters are few and far between. We go out of our way to help you. We don't expect anything in return. It is a real waste of time for someone to make an individualized fix for a person only to have that person say they posted it somewhere else and got it fixed[/COLOR] Just so you know, it takes at least 1/2 an hour minimum to make a fix for a hijack this log!!!
4. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. After you are clean, follow the steps below:
Well congrats, it appears your system is [size=7][color=green]all clean[/color][/size] Are you still noticing any problems? If not, it's time to clean up your system.


[color=purple]Lets reset system restore[/color]
Reset and Re-enable your System Restore to remove infected files that have been backed up by Windows. The files in System Restore are protected to prevent any programs changing those files. This is the only way to clean these files: You will lose all previous restore points which are likely to be infected. Please note you need Administrator Access to do clean the restore points.

1. Turn off System Restore.
On the Desktop, right-click My Computer.
Click Properties.
Click the System Restore tab.
Check Turn off System Restore.
Click Apply, and then click OK.

2. Reboot.

3. Turn ON System Restore.
On the Desktop, right-click My Computer.
Click Properties.
Click the System Restore tab.
UN-Check *Turn off System Restore*.
Click Apply, and then click OK.
[color=blue]NOTE: only do this ONCE,[size=7] NOT [/size]on a regluar basis[/color]

We need to rehide system files. To do so, please follow the steps below:
[List=1][*]Double-click [color=blue]My Computer[/color].[*]Click the Tools menu, and then click [color=blue]Folder Options[/color]. [*]Click the [color=blue]View tab[/color].
[*]Put a check by "Hide file extensions for known file types." [*]Under the "Hidden files" folder, select "[color=blue]Show hidden files and folders." [/color] [*] Check "[color=blue]Hide[/color] protected operating system files." [*]Click Apply, and then click OK.[/list]


IMPORTANT: You Need to Update Windows and Internet Explorer to protect your computer from the malware that is around on the internet. Please go to [url=][color=blue]the windows update site[/color][/url] to get the critical updates.

If you are running Microsoft Office, or any portion thereof, go to the Microsoft's Office Update site and make sure you have at least all the cirtical updates installed (Free) Microsoft Office Update.

If the service pack 2 download is too large, you can get a FREE copy on cd from microsoft [url=][color=green]here[/color][/url]

[color=purple]Make your Internet Explorer more secure[/color]

This can be done by following these simple instructions:
From within Internet Explorer click on the Tools menu and then click on Options.
Click once on the Security tab
Click once on the Internet icon so it becomes highlighted.
Click once on the Custom Level button.
Change the Download signed ActiveX controls to Prompt
Change the Download unsigned ActiveX controls to Disable
Change the Initialise and script ActiveX controls not marked as safe to Disable
Change the Installation of desktop items to Prompt
Change the Launching programs and files in an IFRAME to Prompt
Change the Navigate sub-frames across different domains to Prompt
Change the allow paste operations via script to Disable
When all these settings have been made, click on the OK button.
If it prompts you as to whether or not you want to save the settings, press the Yes button.
Next press the Apply button and then the OK to exit the Internet Properties page.

The following are recommended third party programs that are designed to keep your computer clean. A link as well as a brief description is included with each item.

[list][*][color=red]Download Adaware[/color]
Adaware is a free program. It scans for known spyware on your computer. These scans should be run at least once every two weeks. For more information, see this [url=]tutorial[/url]
The program is available for download [url=][color=red]here[/color][/url]
[*][color=green]Download Spybot[/color]
Spybot is a scanner like adaware. It scans for spyware and other malicious programs. It is important to have both Adaware and Spybot on your computer because each program provides unique detection and pretection measures. Spybot has preventitive tools that stop programs from even installing on your computer.
To see how to set this up as well as more spybot features, see [url=][color=green]here[/color][/url]
Spybot can be downloaded at [url=;subj=dl&tag=but][color=green]this location [/color][/url]
[*][color=orange]Download SpywareBlaster[/color]
Spyware blaster is a program that stops known malicious activex controls from installing on your computer. It works by changing settings in your registry. It makes "kill bits" in the registry, so that certain activex controls can't install.
If you don't know what activex controls are, see [url=][color=red]here[/color][/url]
You can download SpywareBlaster here [url=][color=orange]here[/color][/url]

[*][color=blue]Download iespyad[/color]
It puts many bad webpages on your restricted zones list. This means that you can still view the "bad" webpages, but the webpages cannot do certain things (such as use javascripts and cookies).
If you need help understanding how it works, there is a turorial [url=]here[/url]
Download it [url=][color=blue]here[/color][/url]

[*][color=purple]hosts file:[/color]
[list=i][*]Every version of windows has a hosts file as part of them. [*]In a very basic sense, they are used to locate webpages. [*]We can customize a hosts file so that it blocks certain webpages. [*]However, it can slow down certain computers. [*]This is why using a hosts file is [size=7]optional!![/size][/list]
Download it [url=][color=purple]here[/color][/url]. Make sure you read the instructions on how to install the hosts file. There is a good tutorial [url=] here [/url]
If you decide to download the hosts file, the slowdown problems can usually be avoided by following these steps:
[list=1][color=green][*]Click the start button (at the lower right hand corner of your screen [*]Click run [*]In the dialog box, type services.msc [*]hit enter, then locate dns client [*]Highlight it, then double-click it. [*]On the dropdown box, change the setting from automatic to manual. [*]Click ok[/color] [/list]

[*][color=blue]Use an Anti Virus Software [/color]- It is very important that your computer has an anti-virus software running on your machine. This alone can save you a lot of trouble with malware in the future. See this link for a listing of some on line & their stand-alone anti virus programs:
Computer Safety On line - Anti-Virus

[*][color=red]Update your Anti Virus Software [/color]- It is imperitive that you update your Anti virus software at least once a week (Even more if you wish). If you do not update your anti virus software then it will not be able to catch any of the new variants that may come out.

[*][color=orange]Use a Firewall [/color]- I can not stress how important it is that you use a Firewall on your computer. Without a firewall your computer is susceptible to being hacked and taken over. Simply using a Firewall in its default configuration can lower your risk greatly.

Just a final reminder for you. I am trying to stress these two points.
[color=green][size=7]UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE!!![/size][/color] Make sure you do this about every 1-2 weeks.
Make sure all of your security programs are up to date.
Run the spybot and adaware regularly. (Once or twice a week minimum.)
[color=purple]Visit Microsoft's Windows Update Site Frequently[/color] - It is important that you visit [url=][/url] regularly. This will ensure your computer has always the latest security updates available installed on your computer. If there are new updates to install, install them immediately, reboot your computer, and revisit the site until there are no more critical updates.

Once again, please post and tell me how things are going with your system... problems etc.

[marquee][color=green]Have a great day,[/color]
[center][color=white]alkabc[/color]wng <!--emo&B)--><img src='' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='cool.gif' /><!--endemo-->[/center][/marquee]

(Parts of all clean speech courtesy of [color=blue]Chris RLG[/color])
If you have questions, or spyware issues of your own, PM and I will help you.

*Dok's Law*: The simplicity of a solution is directly proportionate to its elusiveness.
HijackThis, Adaware, Spybot search and destroy, <a href="
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