February 2005 Issue
Anti Spy Software
By Mon Nasser
Recently my computer was acting very strange - whenever I did a search in Google, the first page was hijacked and replaced with links to unrelated commercial sites! After some investigation I discovered that a spyware program has taken over my web searches! I probably got the spy program from downloading a 'free screensaver' for my kids. Note only was the Sponge Bob screen saver bad, but it turned out that the purpose of it was to embed the Spy program on my computers.
To fix this problem, I researched anti-spy software to clean up my computer. There are many of these software packages available. However, most would only 'identify' the spy programs on your computer but would not remove them unless you paid the software registration fee. I found a couple of exceptions to this:
Microsoft® Windows AntiSpyware: Yes Microsoft now has
its own anti spy software. Actually this was a product of another company
that Microsoft acquired. At the time of this writing, you can get a beta
version of this software from Microsoft for free. Simply search for
"Microsoft AntiSpyware" in Google for other search engines to
find the download link.
When you first run an anti spy software, you will be amazed of the the number of spy programs found on your computer! I cleaned them all using the above utilities and learned my lesson - never download 'free' stuff from unknown sources again!