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all right, computer geeks. Tell me what "spyware" is and --

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Nordic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-12-04 11:45 PM
Original message
all right, computer geeks. Tell me what "spyware" is and --
Edited on Sun Sep-12-04 11:48 PM by Nordic
how I can tell if I have it.

Thanks!

on edit:

Is computer "geeks" PC? I have no idea. I use the term with affection
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salvorhardin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-12-04 11:53 PM
Response to Original message
1. Well...
Spyware is software that reports your activities back to a host site.
Adware is software that monitors your activities and uses them to display ads, sometimes by hijacking your browser's homepage or even inserting ads into the web pages you are viewing.

Both are a subset of a group of programs known as malware (bad software) which can also includes viruses, worms and trojans.

Spybot Search & Destroy and AdAware are the two programs I recommend most. What one doesn't catch the other will.
http://www.safer-networking.org/en/download
http://download.com/3000-2144-10045910.html?part=69274&...

Further, I highly recommend switching from Internet Explorer to Mozilla Firefox. The current version is 0.9.3 but version 1.0 should be out in a few days.
http://www.mozilla.org
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Lady Effingbroke Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-13-04 12:01 AM
Response to Reply #1
6. Self-delete
Edited on Mon Sep-13-04 12:12 AM by Lady Effingbroke
on edit: removed preview release of program - don't want to mess up anyone's computer!
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salvorhardin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-13-04 12:05 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. That was the preview release
I've been running it since this morning. :-)

The official 1.0 release is scheduled for Tuesday morning. I didn't want to recommend something that might be obsoleted after a couple of days or might have an unseen major bug.

http://weblogs.mozillazine.org/asa/archives/006438.html
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Lady Effingbroke Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-13-04 12:10 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. Ok, I'll delete it - don't want to mess anyone up!
n/t
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salvorhardin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-13-04 12:27 AM
Response to Reply #8
10. Oh, I didn't mean to imply anything bad
Highly unlikely that 0.10rc will mess anyone up. The firefox team has a history of incredibly reliable releases and they're working off a pretty solid codebase anyway (the mozilla core).

The big reason for waiting is just in case there's a major bug that's discovered you'll save yourself the trouble of updating later.

Also, it's good to give the extensions authors a little time to make sure their extensions will work with the 1.0 release. Some will be broken and need recoding, others just need their max version number changed in the install.rdf file (such as one of my favorites - Super DragNGo).

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blackcat77 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-13-04 12:22 AM
Response to Reply #7
9. I've got 1.0 PR
No real difference from 0.9.3 except that the print icon has vanished and you still can't load some themes and extensions. I may roll back if that situation doesn't straighten up in a few days.
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salvorhardin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-12-04 11:56 PM
Response to Original message
2. Geek is a term of self-appellation
http://www.catb.org/~esr/jargon/html/G/geek.html

No one will get upset if you use it. :-)
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Sydnie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-12-04 11:57 PM
Response to Original message
3. It is exactly what it sounds like.
It is usually a little bit of code downloaded to your computer that tracks and reports (to whom ever made it) your surfing habits. It can control pop up ads, sending you targeted ads that fit your surfing habits, it can hijack your software so that things don't work properly as well. It can, in its most malicious forms, capture information from your computer much like a hacker or a virus, and report your personal information to the creator, leaving your computer vulnerable to attack.

Some cookies are laced with spyware as well. Most cookies are not the real problem causing agents though.

They can have built in dialers that will dial your modem to foreign countries, leaving you with astronomical phone bills.

All in all, not a good thing to have on your computer.
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Lady Effingbroke Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-12-04 11:59 PM
Response to Original message
4. A good definition of spyware is here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spyware

two good programs to remove it are:

Spybot Search and Destroy:
http://www.safer-networking.org/en/download/index.html

and

Ad-Aware:
http://www.lavasoftusa.com/software/adaware


A good program to keep spware/adware from ever infecting your computer is SpywareBlaster - works with IE and Firefox:
http://www.javacoolsoftware.com/spywareblaster.html

That's just for starters, hope it helps! :-)




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Lastgasp Donating Member (182 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-12-04 11:59 PM
Response to Original message
5. Spybot S & D is good . . .
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Nordic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-13-04 12:52 AM
Response to Original message
11. what a great bunch of replies! Does any of this apply to MAC's?
I'm running a mac but my wife runs a PC, so it's all great for her, but I'm curious if I need to worry about my mac.

Just the other day I got my very first weirdo-thingy where ad windows would pop up on the screen even when I wasn't websurfing. It was all very bizarre, although I've seen it happen on my wife's PC.

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briang5000 Donating Member (115 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-13-04 12:59 AM
Response to Reply #11
12. no spyware on the mac
as far as I know there is no spyware on the Mac. (assuming you're running OS X).

Spyware is very common on Windows systems, because Internet Explorer is able to automatically install software when instructed by embedded tags in websites.

OS X will not allow anybody to install any software onto the system without first entering your admin password. So nothing can sneak into your system without your knowing.

Plus, software doesn't write to the system the way windows software installs things to the registry. OS X apps are all self contained as "packages" that are bundled within the application. If you need or want to delete or un-install a program.. you simply drat the icon to the trash. that's it.

there's a good article about the lack of OS X spyware here:


http://daringfireball.net/2004/06/broken_windows

WIndows users who are plagued by viruses, spyware, pop-ups, and other angst causing problems can eliminate most of their problems by switching to a Mac.

http://www.apple.com/switch/whyswitch /

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aePrime Donating Member (676 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-13-04 01:39 AM
Response to Reply #12
14. Firefox
And if you're wondering, Firefox does run on the Mac. That's what I run on OS X, but Safari's a pretty good browser too. I run Firefox on Linux, and I think I use it on OS X just because I'm used to it. My wife uses Safari on the Mac and Firefox when she uses one of my Linux boxen.

Just don't let your wife run Internet Explorer :)
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salvorhardin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-13-04 06:39 AM
Response to Reply #14
17. The Mozilla team also does Camino for Mac OS X
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starroute Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-13-04 01:17 AM
Response to Reply #11
13. There is apparently some MAC spyware -- just not much
Here's one site I found with a quick Google:

http://www.unwantedlinks.com/macsupport.htm

"The good news for Mac users is that the majority of the adware & spyware industry is focused on developing their 'malware' to target PC users through ActiveX controls and DILLs that only work on Windows based computers.

"We have found only one product that states that it can scan and remove adware & spyware on a MAC. MacScan claims that it can detect, isolate and remove spyware, keystroke loggers and trojans from your Macintosh which could have been maliciously or inadvertently installed on your Macintosh. It supports both Mac Classic & Mac OSX. On our tests our Mac computer came up clean. For more information see http://macscan.securemac.com "
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briang5000 Donating Member (115 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-13-04 02:14 AM
Response to Reply #13
15. there's still a big difference
On a windows system the spyware can be installed without the user knowing.
This installation is often invisible and when you finally discover you have the spyware it is often very difficult to find where it's been hidden within the windows registry.

With OS X it could be possible for somebody to install a keylogger or other malware on a computer, but they would need the admin password. Don't give that out and you're pretty safe. Software cannot be installed into a Mac running OS X unless you provide the password. And then it can only be installed within the user folder, shared folder, or on the root level of the hard drive. You can't bury the program inside the system. It wouldn't be able to hide. Once you found the offending program dragging it to the trash removes it completely.

Yes, it would be possible that malware was installed on a public computer. However this risk is far greater on a windows computer than a mac. Simply because there are probably tens of thousands of spyware and malware programs for windows and very few (if any) on the Mac.

All that being said; I still have never read of a true spyware program on a Mac running OS X. There was a recent report of a trojan email attachment that tried to hide itself as an applescript but that problem has been corrected many months ago via a software update.

No system is perfect, Mac included, but the current setup of OS X is far more secure than the current setup of Win XP. This is one of the reasons MicroSoft is keen to get there Longhorn OS ready and shipping. They hope to close the many security holes found in the current XP. The trouble is that Longhorn isn't expected until late 2005 or sometime in 2006.



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4morewars Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-13-04 02:27 AM
Response to Reply #15
16. I'm migrating to LINUX
I've just about had enough of MicroShit.
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