Saturday, July 23, 2005

Adware and Spyware

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Any software application in which advertising banners are displayed while the program is running is called Adware. And any software that sends data back to a third party - WITHOUT ASKING the user - is Spyware.

This means that a software can be Adware and Spyware at the same time! More importantly, not all Adware is Spyware and most Spyware is NOT easily detected by displaying ads.

The primary problem folks have with these things is the privacy issue. Like most folks, I don't want someone I've never met and I'll never meet, knowing what web sites I go to, what applications I use or even specifics about my computer. As far as Advertising showing up, this is MY computer. I didnt say, "Sure, sell me something while I'm trying to do something."
That was rather simplistic, wouldn't you agree. Actually, I may not have a problem with one or two Spyware programs running on my system. Unfortunately, though, there are dozens of research companies trying to collect information and each one uses several Spyware programs to collect data. I could wind up with over a hundred programs on my system trying to collect and report information to all those companies. Now, if they are all running on my system, I don't have enough memory to run my applications like my Browser, Word Processor, etc. My system becomes slower and slower until I throw up my hands in disgust and shut down the computer. I lose the ability to be productive or, whats worse, play my favorite games.

So, what can be done? Actually, quite a bit. There are several good eradicator programs available that will make short work of removing all those programs. If you go to Downloads or Tucows you can search with the words adware or spyware and youll be presented with a nice long list of packages that are either Freeware, Shareware, or Commercial. I use Lavasoft's AdAware and Spybot Search & Destroy. The Lavasoft packages are inexpensive and efficient. They do a very good job of cleaning your system. If you purchase the AdAware packages on CD, they include a few treasures to make it a really terrific value. One of the programs included is called AdWatch. It blocks the installation of adware so you won't get it installed in the first place. Microsoft has a nice package in Anti-Spyware. The Microsoft package is in Beta, which means they are testing it using your system (not a problem since the paxkage is not being tested for operation but for data gathering). It is also free. I have it installed and it does a creditable job of cleaning while not causing additional problems. All of these use Definition Libraries similar to Anti-Virus Software so there will be occasional on-line downloads (2 or 3 times per month) that take very little time. The nice thing about the Lavasoft software is that you can download free trial versions to try out. They don't clean everything but registration will get you a license key that will enable all the features and you're off to the races.

These are installed on my system and they work well for me. But, you can take the opportunity to try out several others to find a combination that will work for you. The important thing to keep in mind is the goal of keeping your system healthy.

With all that being said, the last point is to enjoy your system. HAVE FUN!


At 4:56 AM CDT, Blogger thur said...

Hi Doug,

I have noticed your blog when you introduced it last thursday.
A great thing to do: your writing is well (so your content obviously too) and the Rounders template is a good choice.

And I have seen your last Blogger Forum topic.
About that Translator: true it is 'close to correct' on (in ?) being able to understand what is written/intended originally.
So that's a good thing.

On the other hand: being a European I do read German and French (don't know enough about the Spanish and Italian) and I wouldn't dream using that Translator on my pages. The translations are poor and laughable and I really would consider that an insult for my ( ) foreign guests.

Sorry to bother you with this and no offence meant (to you or anyone else).

Q: Then why bringing this up?
A: Hmmm ... good point!

Good luck with your writings and have a nice weekend.

(And I do hope the above is at least grammatical correct )


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