Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Big Trio Tackle Badware

Google, Lenovo Group (who bought IBM's laptop business), and Sun Microsystems are sponsoring a nonprofit effort to fight what they are calling "badware," a collective term for spyware, adware and computer viruses that get installed on computers without the consent of the owner. You can get details at

If you think because you have an antivirus program installed on your computer that you are protected, then think again. Most antivirus programs offer little or no protection against spyware and it's estimated that 85% of internet-connected PCs are infected by some form of spyware. You might think that installing anti-spyware software on your computer will sort you out. The problem is that there are over 180 known bogus anti-spyware programs being offered for sale. These are either programs that take your money and do nothing in return, to programs that you pay for which install even more spyware on your machine. Caveat emptor indeed!

PC Medic recommends Sunbelt Software's Counterspy and Webroot's Spysweeper as two effective and legitimate programs that can keep your system safe from infection. While all legitimate anti-spyware programs can remove spyware from infected machines, don't think that these programs are the answer to all your problems if you have a badly infected machine. It has been PC Medic's experience that when a machine is badly infected with spyware it is often more appropriate to perform a reformat and clean install of the operating system and applications. It's either that or spending several hours with your sleeves rolled up poking around in the registry.

If you have a masochistic streak and want to speed up getting your PC infected by spyware here are a few tips to help you on your way:
  1. Download free doodahs to make your desktop prettier e.g. screensavers, toolbars, search bars (Google and Yahoo excepted), wallpaper and cursors.
  2. Visit pornography sites.
  3. Engage in free music dowloading using peer to peer software such as Kazaa, BearShare and LimeWire.
  4. Click on links in unsolicited e-mails (spam)
  5. Visit sites that allow downloading of Warez, Crackz and Serialz (software that has its copy protection removed or copied serial codes for legitimate software.
  6. Don't bother to read the EULA (end-user license agreement) in free or trial software - it often says you agree to the installation of spyware on your PC.

You have been warned!

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