We have been encountering a lot of programs on clients' computers which
fall into the category of Spyware or Parasites. These are programs
that have been installed and are usually running all the time, which waste
your computer's horsepower, generate endless pop-up ads and report the
websites you visit to marketing companies. (!)
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How did I get this software on my computer?
Music download software such as Kazaa, Morpheus, Grokster, Limewire, etc. often installs parasites. There are also
endless tricks that companies pull to get you to click on a pop-up so that
they can install their spyware. One of the most insidious is a pop-up ad
that is designed to look like a Windows error message, which tricks you
into clicking on it, either to make the message go away or to
"fix" something on your computer. The action of clicking in the
window installs the program. Then there are "drive-by installs" -
the mere act of going to a certain website causes the program to be
installed without your knowledge or acceptance.
2. What does this software do?
a) Generates lots of pop-up ads.
b) Watches the sites you visit on the Web and reports those sites to
targeted marketing companies who can then inundate you with more ads.
c) Opens the door to the stealth installation of other programs, hackers
taking charge of your computer and virus attacks.
e) Drains resources on your computer making it run sluggishly.
f) Worst case: uses your modem to dial toll numbers and run up your phone
3. How can I tell if I have this software?
If you suddenly see an increase in the number of pop-ups, you may have
inadvertently loaded a spyware program. We recognize a lot of the parasites
by name, and when we see them we automatically remove them because they are
99% harmful. You can check to see if you have these by looking at the
Add/Remove Programs list in Control Panel, or by looking for subfolders by
these names under Program Files. Any program whose name you do not
recognize may very well be a parasite. If you see a program and can't
identify it, call us.
4. What are some of the ones you see quite often?
We see the following most often: BargainBuddy,
Gator, BonziBuddy, InternetWasher, NewDotNet,
OnlineDialer, SaveNow, webHancer, Xupiter, PrecisionTime and MySearch. But there are hundreds more
of them. Usually we can look at a list of software installed on a machine
and have a pretty good idea what is legitimate and what is suspect.
Here is a site that
has a pretty comprehensive list.
5. Is there any way I can prevent getting these
The best way is to never download anything from the Internet. Stop using
Kazaa, Morpheus, Grokster and other music-sharing programs, and uninstall
them. Never click on a pop-up ad anywhere except the red X to delete it.
Teach your children to treat any "free offer" from any website as
dangerous and undesirable. "Opt out" of every possible "free
offer" and "mailing list" that you can. If a program
requires you to accept other programs as a condition of proceeding with the
install, abort the whole process - legitimate software seldom requires that
you also load other software.
6. How do I get rid of these programs?
Some of them are listed under Add/Remove Programs and can simply be
uninstalled. Others can be removed through the use of programs like
However, some of these parasites are designed to resist uninstallation, and
these require special efforts such as editing the Registry on your computer
(a huge database of settings used by Windows), finding and deleting program
folders, and removing tasks from your start-up list. In short, some of them
are easy to get rid of and some are extremely difficult.
7. I think I may need help deleting these
programs. What do I do?
We can help you find and remove them. You can do the work yourself, or you
SimpliTek to do it for you - the main benefit of hiring us is that we
know what to look for and how to delete them. We may be able to find
spyware that you can't find, and may be able to delete some programs that
you can't delete. But it's not rocket science - if you want to badly
enough, you can learn how to identify and remove these pests.
If you would like to view a website dedicated to the exposure and
eradication of spyware,
too bad that we have to spend any time thinking about and worrying about
unauthorized software on our computers, but unfortunately that's the world
we live in.