News Letter 2

Spyware

This month’s news letter is on SPYWARE, also known as adware.

So what is spyware?

Here's a definition:

Any software that covertly gathers user information through the user's Internet connection without his or her knowledge, usually for advertising purposes. Spyware applications are typically bundled as a hidden component of freeware or shareware programs that can be downloaded from the Internet. Once installed, the spyware monitors user activity on the Internet and transmits that information in the background to someone else. 

So, if you have spyware on your computer you may notice that the Internet gets slower. If you or your kid download all kinds of free software, your computer can get real slow because you now have a whole bunch spyware programs that report every web page you visit to home base. Home base is usually a marketing company that sells that information to people who want to advertise on the Internet. Where people surf is valuable marketing data.

Here's an example of what happens when you go to a web page with a computer that has two spyware programs attached to it.

You open your Internet browser and from your Favorites and you click on your bank's website. You have just sent a command to the bank's server* that says "Send me the log-on page" but this command now doesn't go there. Instead it goes to Marketscore's (an actual company) server where the data is stored then sent onward to the bank's website. But wait! You have two spyware programs, so instead of going to the bank's website it now goes to Rawhide Internet Services to be recorded. Unfortunately, the Rawhide Internet Services server is very, very busy talking to other computers that have spyware so your request takes a 5 second delay, but after that it goes to the bank's server and the bank sends you the log-on page.

Hopefully that bank has encrypted (converted to secret code) the contents of its log-on page because some spyware programs can gather information about e-mail addresses, passwords and even credit card numbers.

The Solution

There are many spyware removal programs out there but many of them just scan your computer and tell you that you have spyware. Then you are supposed to buy their program to remove it. I recommend SpyBot Search and Destroy which not only removes the crap, it's also free. If you don’t have it, click on the below link and click on the “Download Now” button to get it.

Spybot Search and Destroy

After you have setup and run the program, you will see a list of files it has found. Destroy them bastards!

Here is a link to a MAC spyware program http://www.macosxspyware.com/index.php.

Talk to you next month!

Need a web site? Check out these templates*:  Cornerstone Software

*Server - a computer on the Internet that usually serves web pages to people who request them. When you click on a link, you are sending a request to a server to see a web page. The server finds the web page and sends back the information and pictures to you. This computer has special software to handle these requests but sometimes they don’t serve any web pages, they just record the data that is sent to them as in spyware.

*template - A document or file having a preset format, used as a starting point to create a web site (or other files) so that the format does not have to be created.

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