Internet Monitor: Microsoft joins fight on spyware

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Computer users have been pointing the finger at Microsoft for leaving so many openings in its products for spyware and other nasties. It is therefore good to see this company responding so positively with the first release of Microsoft Windows AntiSpyware.

You can now download this free utility in a fairly stable beta version. In fact, Microsoft has done what Sage and most other big software houses do when looking for a quick solution - it has bought up an existing product, in this case GIANT AntiSpyware.

Although GIANT supported earlier operating systems, Microsoft's version runs only on Internet Explorer 6.0 or higher and Microsoft Windows 2000, Windows XP, or Windows Server 2003.

Having run half a dozen different spyware programs myself, I was delighted to find that the Microsoft program w...

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Easier and safer to change IE settings
Rather than increase the complexity of your PC software it's a lot easier simply to change the relevant MS Internet Explorer setting for the Internet Zone (i.e. default) to stop things such as Active-X, Desktop installs etc.. This also stops 95%+ of Worms and other nasties.

When you need full access to a site that you trust commercially and their IT competence then 'promote' that site (only) to the LAN or Trusted Zone depending upon your LAN setup - ask your IT support if available.

I haven't had a single Worm, Trojan or Spyware in the past three years despite being on-line 8+ hours every working day and regularly visiting 10+ new sites per day.

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Hijack?
Bob, I've put it on three PC's so far and contributed and followed threads on several other sites and my homepage hasn't been changed at all and I've not seen anyone else reporting this happening too although I note your comments about the MS community.

I'd be interested to see if anyone else is experiencing this. I do run anti-BHO software as a matter of course so that might be why mine hasn't changed, but normally I would get warnings of any attempts to change it and I haven't seen any. The software itself is pretty good, although I intend to still run Spybot, Adaware and A-Squared alongside it.

The question to me is whether MS will start to charge for the updates, if it does those who need it most will probably not use it.

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Spyware from everywhere
Have to agree with Rob, I'm not aware of any one piece of software that catches all spy ware. If you run four anti-spyware programs they will all target some different things. How do you know for sure you have no spyware or undetected Trojans. I've asked that on several sites where people believe they have clean machines how they know it is clean? Most think (like me) their machines are clean but can't prove it. There's always a nagging doubt.

Quite a lot of seemingly "legit" software can contain spyware or be open to it i.e recently discovered flaws in Media Player for instance. Just having the preview pane open in Outlook or open ports or Windows Messenger or Microsoft Messenger?. How many here can hold their hands up and say they always fully read the EULA?

Same for anti-virus. Many people have clean machines and then change their anti-virus to discover they have had something on their machines for years.

There are "how did you get infected" threads on Net-integration and Spywarewarrior etc. and it's amazing how easily it can happen to the most computer literate. The people who write the coolwebsearch variants are paid professionals and can get past all sorts of defences and are incredibly difficult to remove.

You are correct of course good practice and common sense is vital including tightening your IE settings if you use IE. Personally however and admittedly I'm no expert at all, I think a layered security system is extremely important for most users.

Apart from anything use Firefox!


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