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Page created 4 April 2005, updated 13 June 2008.

SPYWARE

There is a new menace on the Internet. Programs are being downloaded onto your computer, which then take control of many functions. These programs are not Viruses, so Anti-Virus programs don't detect them. There are many Spyware removal programs available, and at the moment, I am looking for one that works.

SYMPTOMS

If your computer suffers from any of the following symptoms, you are probably infected:

  • The computer won't shut down properly.

  • The browser is slow to operate.

  • You get unexpected pop-ups.

  • Other programs don't operate correctly.

After reading this article, you are advised to check for new Spyware programs, at the first sign of a symptom. For example, a moment ago, I noticed that the browser had slowed down, I checked for files, and found one in the Temporary Internet folder.

PROTECTION

My problem started when a Toolbar appeared on my browser which came from Web Search. The full story about 'Web Search' can be found by clicking here. Eventually, I restored my computer back to normal, and I have found various ways of detecting Spyware programs.

PROGRAMS

Press Ctrl + Alt + Delete on the keyboard, and a dialog box will open, which lists all the programs that are running on the computer. Make a note of all of these programs, so that you can spot any new ones which appear in the future. The programs which should always be there are:

  • Scan Registry

  • System Tray

  • Load Power Profile

  • Task Monitor

There will be other programs running, so you will need to know what they are used for. My method was to type the program name into a search engine, and eventually I found out what they were used for. You may of course, put a message on the blog.

SYSTEM CONFIGURATION

Locate the program msconfig.exe and run it. Click the 'Startup' tab, and make a note of all the programs that are set to run at startup. Again you can search for information about any files, which you are not sure about.

THE MESSAGE BOARD

Please use the message board regarding any problems. If we all contribute information about Spyware, we will be able to find a solution.

CHECKING FOR PROGRAMS

Once you have cleaned up the Spyware programs, you can use the following procedure to find any programs which have attached themselves:

  • Click 'Start', select 'Find', and click 'Files or Folders'.

  • Type *.exe in the search field Named.

  • Click the Date tab.

  • Click the radio button During the previous, and select whichever number of days you want to check.

  • Choose Created from Find all files.

  • Click Find Now.

  • You can save the settings by clicking File and Save Search.

This procedure will find any exe programs that have attached themselves during the specified time. Some of these files may be located in the Temporary Internet files folder.

TEMPORARY INTERNET

To delete the files from this folder, follow this procedure:

  • Open the browser.

  • Select Tools.

  • Select Internet Options.

  • Locate Temporary Internet Files.

  • Click Delete Files.

  • Check Delete all off-line content.

  • Click OK.

Note, make sure that you don't have anything in the off-line content that you want to keep!

DELETED FILES

The files which I have removed from my computer, are listed below. To the best of my knowledge, they are all Spyware. However, if you decide to delete any of these files from your computer, you must take responsibility for your own action. So please take care when deleting files from your computer. All that I am prepared to say, is that my computer works much better without these files:

TBPS.exe

exul1.exe

exdl1.exe

exclean.exe

exul.exe

exdl0.exe

exdl.exe

zeta.exe

verinst.exe

nc.exe

tb_setup.exe

unvise32.exe

A~NSISu_.exe

iExploreSkins.exe

WEB SITES TO AVOID

At the moment, I only know one web site, which is causing problems. If you know any others, please post a message?

Update 5 April 2005

SPYWARE SITES

I have noticed that after searching for help, the SpyWare sites seem to be infecting my computer. I believe that they are doing this deliberately, so that you will buy their Spyware products!

OTHER FILES

There are many other files associated with Spyware, some have a dll extension. However, the best course of action is to avoid becoming infected, and post a message when you are. Then you are advised to consult your computer shop, and have an expert available, if things go wrong.

ONE AT A TIME

The procedure that I followed, was to delete the files one at a time. Fortunately, everything went reasonably well, although I had to reinstall a few programs.

SPYWARE REMOVAL

I recommend that you use Ad-Aware from Lavasoft. It is free and can be downloaded from this link. I also advise you to also check your computer regularly, as detailed in this article.

Update 10 April 2005

OPERA WEB BROWSER

Click here to download the Opera browser. The problem with Internet Explorer, is that it allows SpyWare to download through 'Active X'. So I suggest that you use Internet Explorer for sites that you are absolutely certain about, and the Opera browser, when you surf for unknown web sites.

DIFFERENCES

I have noticed that the Opera browser doesn't support frames, and scrolling Marquee's. Apart from that, most other things work just as well, and many other things are actually better. You have a choice of either buying the browser, or using it free of charge. There are other browsers, such as Firefox Mozilla, but Opera is in my opinion, much better.