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Ultraviolet

Anti-Spyware Software Reputability List

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The purpose of this post is to acquire a longer list of anti-spyware tools, to discuss which are most reputable, seem to catch the most spyware (keeping in mind that while some tools may list all files associated with a given piece of spyware as individual instances while others may list only one piece of spyware found but remove all associated files), and which may contain spyware themselves.

Open discussion is encouraged, as I hope to find out things I didn't know about a few tools.

Known popular tools:
Spybot: Search & Destroy
Lavasoft Ad-Aware
JavaCool SpywareBlaster (and SpywareGuard)
Hijack This

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I hear HijackThis is pretty popular...I've never tried it myself, as I've never used Internet Explorer on this system for a couple of years.

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HiJackThis doesn't actually get rid of the spyware-- it just offers advanced info regarding what's been loaded into your registry and *******.

Meh, Google Toolbar and AdAware 6 is all I've needed. Anything more than that should just be deleted manually.

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be warned of doing it manualy. unless you know the registry well and know the programs that can prove very deadly to the system.

i leanred the hardway after i was unable to install gator from my grandmothers computer, uninstall would not do it. so i just found the files an deleted it. well this killed networking, and at boot spawned gator agian. (may not have been gator) that was 3 years ago and it is when that i learned about adware(the spyware remover and the problem) i have never had ill effects from the use of those programs. also they will miss some stuff. mywebsearch is an example.

simple precautions can be used
1. use mozilla, though it can be infected it is not as easy as IE.
2. Most banner ads and pop-ups lead to spyware.
3. many so called "freeware" is gonna have spyware attached. examples include burn4free and AIM
4. use a firewall if you got good ISP, any ISP but AOL is good. AOL users are screwed to constant headaches.
5. email settings. you dont need HTML and all that junk in emails. my client simply filters it out. Not only can spyware get you this way but so can many viruses.
6. check what you buy. i am sure as shit that stuff we sell at work has spyware in it.

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Off-topic. You're gonna lead this whole thing to a browser war going off on THAT tangent. I know it's bound to get mentioned in here, but I hope that no one will take it any further.

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Ultraviolet said:

Off-topic. You're gonna lead this whole thing to a browser war going off on THAT tangent. I know it's bound to get mentioned in here, but I hope that no one will take it any further.


No, I think that CERT, Homeland Security, and countless others have said enough on the subject. That using IE poses a security problem is not even debatable any more. But whether ppl keep using IE, I don't mind or care.

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So you posted that just to be a jackass and tempt a browser flamewar even more? You took my suggestion to drop the subject and go on the original topic -- spyware removal tools -- as some kind of que to completely ignore the topic of the thread.

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I use spybot and ad-aware and I still have spyware and adware I have to delete manually because they don't detect it.

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Black Hand said:

I use spybot myself, It hasn't missed anything as far as I know.

You never can tell. Some spyware isn't completely obnoxious.

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Ultraviolet said:

Known popular tools:
Spybot: Search & Destroy
Lavasoft Ad-Aware
JavaCool SpywareBlaster (and SpywareGuard)
Hijack This


I use Ad-Aware & Spybot S&E together.

I installed Spybot on most ppl's comps at work using cain & abel to get a remote shell, mounting a share containing the install file, and then doing a silent installation from the command line (check http://www.safer-networking.org/en/faq/30.html for cli fun). The result is that the users can keep working on their comp without me having to use vnc and take over their kb/m. Then I also set up a couple scheduled tasks which go to 2 different batch files to run spybot in silent mode: one to update, one to scan & remove stuff. Those run once a week on everyone's comp. Unfortunately, Ad-Aware is gui-only, which makes automation impossible, and don't bring up autoit, it's bogus for doing unattended admin stuff.

Be sure to immunize with Spybot, as it will trap any writes to the registry, but disable it when you install/upgrade stuff.

I used Hijackthis to remove a particularly stubborn bit of IE-hijacking Spyware (a browser "helper" object which had run amuck in the registry) from someone's comp at work. It it recommended that you check some forums where ppl are posting their hijackthis logs, it will give you a good idea of what to remove or leave alone.

I installed Firefox on a few ppl's comps, and told them never to use IE ever again. Ever since, whenever I scan those comps with Ad-Aware/Spybot S&E, it shows up NOTHING. Weeks later, NOTHING again. I'm dead serious about not using IE, it is the number one vulnerability to Spyware. I know you don't want a browser war, but a spade's a spade, and to deny it is to stick your head in the sand. Any scatological protests won't change that fact. Anyone defending IE at this point is completely clueless. It's like defending asbestos vs. fiberglass, or defending lead paint.

If you must use IE (some web apps require it), then at least disable activex. But that's not going to protect you--much.

I see you're quite zealously guarding your topic, but haven't you heard of an ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure? Incredibly, you mention that you want open discussion, yet then you're attacking ppl who are recommending ways to prevent getting spyware in the first place. Maybe you're not interested in avoiding spyware. Maybe you just enjoy removing it. I don't know.

/me shrugs

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This thread is about spyware REMOVAL tools. That is cure. You don't go to a medical discussion about curing cancer and go "those dumbfucks shouldn't oughta been smoking, the dipshits!" and just walk out -- at least, not if it's a serious medical discussion. There are times when prevention is not possible. At my work, IE is used, and I have no control over that, but I do get to clean up after people. I'm not saying that you owe me help with this issue, but if you refuse to leave the goddamn browser war out of this, so many people who can't do anything about their browser situation won't get any help because of browser-elitists.

Since you wanna talk prevention: Not looking at porn helps.

Thank you, by the way, for pointing out those command-line parameters. I think I'll set Spybot on full-auto at work and add it to the startup list.

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its much easier to prevent spyware than to remove it. i would rather work on preventing it.

best tools i have used
adware
spybot
hijack this
mozilla
AVG anti-virus
zone alarm

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Um, it got a 92% rating at download.com. I don't recommend using it by itself, but it has found things that Spybot and Ad-Aware miss. I usually run it after I've scanned with those two programs. What reviews did you read?

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Bazooka is tedious to use (since it just gives you intructions on which reg keys/files to kill), but it does catch a few things that other scanners let slip through the cracks.

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alexz721 said:

Um, it got a 92% rating at download.com. I don't recommend using it by itself, but it has found things that Spybot and Ad-Aware miss. I usually run it after I've scanned with those two programs. What reviews did you read?

Read the negatives. The positives are like, ad-campaign type shiznat.

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Ultraviolet said:

Since you wanna talk prevention: Not looking at porn helps.

Internet porno makes you go blind.

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Bloodshedder said:

I tried it. It seems like it only scans memory and not the registry or hard drive, which was useless to me at the time.

Like I said, it's not good as a stand-alone program, but it is useful in conjunction with Ad-Aware and Spybot.

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Uh, there is nothing it does that assists Spybot or Ad-Aware in doing their jobs, and neither helps this program be more useful either. Now, maybe you could use it as a quick way to find out whether you need to do a full cleaning, but there's no assurance that it'll detect anything that Spybot or Ad-Aware would, thus failing to inform you that you have spyware issues, and there's no assurance that Spybot or Ad-Aware will detect everything that this program can, making it just about pointless to use them in conjunction.

Check out the automation options for Ad-Aware and Spybot and just let them run at startup. If you've got fast enough shit, it couldn't hurt to go ahead and make a complete maintenance list run at startup (AV, definition updates, defrag, disk cleanup, whatever you've got). You could shut down your machine every night and turn it on in the morning, letting it do all its work while you eat breakfast.

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Yes, I am aware of all the automated options. However, as I've said before, there have definitely been instances where it located things that both Spybot and Ad-Aware missed. Anyway, it doesn't matter. Everyone has a different preference.

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Spyware... yes. I remember that crap.
Best thing against spyware should be an alternative OS (as Ducon suggested) like GPL/Linux, BSD, MacOS, The Hurd (coming next year, really!), ...

If one needs to use W32, there has been named a lot of useful tools in this thread, but prevention is surely the best thing you can do.
Don't use IE/Outlook, that's a major source for infection with crap of all kinds. At least you should keep it as restrictive as possible. (Better use alternatives: Mozilla, Firefox, Opera, Lynx (heh), ...)
Mickeysoft Word and other crap is also endangered due to the macro ability. (generally the doc, xls,... formats are. Most common users will never need macros. Alternatives: lots of. Most popular: OpenOffice.)

A second thing is to look what tool, helper-software etc. you're installing.
Use "toolname+spyware" in a search engine of your favourite flavour (no, not any M$-stuff, they censor).
Inform yourself before you install something. Often some tools are praised as "makes your computer 200% better in all belongings" but contain a lot of crap, too.
Use smart cookiemanagement for browsers.
Beware of webbugs, especially in SPAM-mails. That's a really annoying thing.
An idea is also to use progs like at-guard, hosts file, restrictive settings. Use a firewall if you plan on visiting the www for a longer time. If you're using that XPeriment you can kill 90% of these so called services running.
Mots of them are Spyware by themselves.
eg.: Use media player classic instead of WMP. Use the Helixplayer instead of realplayer. Everyone should know XP-Antispy. TweakUI. Xteq-Setup is also a program that offers a huge amount of editing registry options without having to regedit completely manually (which is quite an exhausting job).
Check your registry Run, RunOnce, RunServices,... your autostart folder, and on older sytsems (not probably to happen, but nevertheless worth to check) your inis and autoexec.bat/config.sys.
You should also be able to reach these things via msconfig.
If you have tools and knowledge for it, you might want to check your network traffic for unexpected movements.

Yes, that's one big difference between GPL/Linux and Windows. In Linux you do much administrative work because you CAN (eg. compile a kernel & optimize to the last byte) and in Windows you do cause you HAVE to (beat all the sh*t out of it).

If you have questions or need links, just ask.

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