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Andy Walker

Spyware

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Over the weekend IE ground to a halt on my PC. Having phoned my service provider and listened to Vivaldi tinnily for about 30 minutes before getting through it became established that the problem was at my end rather than theirs.

From a dos prompt I type in "netstat -a" and a long list on entries comes up - most of which must be spyware. I have run addaware and removed masses of the stuff but IE still won't function, (Firefox works fine) and the list appears unchanged.

I am perfectly happy to run with Firefox as it seems a far more secure option but am concerned that my PC remains vulnerable whilst this IE problem remains unresolved.

Any ideas from wiser heads than mine gratefully received :blink:

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Nick Falk has had this problem recently. As far as I know, he has not found a way of solving the problem. All he can do it to use a different browser.

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Have you tried purging your system with SpyBot Search and Destroy? It's free:

http://www.safer-networking.org/en/index.html

It found 14 examples of spyware on my system when I used it for the first time.

Hijack This will reveal bits and pieces that may have been added to your browser without your knowledge:

http://www.spychecker.com/program/hijackthis.html

You need to use it with care. When I used it for the first time it was obvious that certain buttons and references had been added to my browser that I definitely did not want!

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Have you tried purging your system with SpyBot Search and Destroy? It's free:

http://www.safer-networking.org/en/index.html

It found 14 examples of spyware on my system when I used it for the first time.

Hijack This will reveal bits and pieces that may have been added to your browser without your knowledge:

http://www.spychecker.com/program/hijackthis.html

You need to use it with care. When I used it for the first time it was obvious that certain buttons and references had been added to my browser that I definitely did not want!

Thanks Graham most helpful - I'll try these when I get home.

I may also download a new version of IE as the old one may have been mangled by spyware

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I think the phrase "Firefox works fine" summarises the situation for me!

There are various reasons why Internet Explorer and Outlook Express are so poor, but my son's t-shirt "Microsoft Sucks" more or less covers it.

And yet schools are encouraged by the government to use Microsoft products, shovelling wads of education cash into Mike Gates' pockets. When spyware and various nasties attack Internet Explorer all my pupils have to grimace and bear it....but they do learn a valuable lesson.

I did begin a sentence "The trouble with Microsoft is..." only to have a pupil finish the sentence "a bloodsucking global corporation." and I hadn't even taught him before!

(Of course I had to reprimand him for calling out).

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I never use Outlook (a.k.a. as Look Out!) because it is often targeted by hackers and viruses. I use Eudora. I do, however, use IE, which did cause me a problem by letting in the first Web-borne viruses that appeared a few years ago. Now I have a firewall and other layers of protection to keep the nasties out.

I am not really sure that you can blame Microsoft entirely, however. The virus writers, spyware writers and hackers would target any operating system that became the dominant system throughout the world, wouldn't they?

We count visitors to my business website, and we can also identify the operating systems and browsers that they use to access the site. Win users dominate, so it's obvious why they keep getting targeted by virus writers and hackers. Mac users show up as only 2% of all visitors, and we were visited by only 167 Linux users worldwide in the last year. Having said that, I find Windows a tacky system. I never buy the latest version of Windows, as Microsoft has a policy of field-testing its products among its customers, and the first releases are alway full of bugs. I still use Win98SE, which is relatively stable and which, incidentally, shows up as the most commonly used operating system by our website visitors.

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All sorted now. I ended up buying a product recommended to me callled "Alluria" which was very effective.

I also noticed a couple of IPs in my 'netstat -a' list which I couldn't trace to anything legitimate and have blocked them using Zone Alarm Pro and now my connection runs like a train :o

Thank you all for your help and advice posted here and sent by pm and e-mail.

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I agree with Graham that Linux and other open source software will be targeted when Microsoft is nothing but a bad memory. However open source software will have hundreds of eyes trained on the code to stop vulnerabilities rather than the destructive culture of "business secrets" which Microsoft fosters.

Microsoft is very keen to protect its own business secrets but of course (cf Windows and the operating system on Apple computers) not so keen on protecting anybody else's.

I think I have already used the term "bloodsucking global corporation" so I will not repeat it :o

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Derek writes:

I agree with Graham that Linux and other open source software will be targeted when Microsoft is nothing but a bad memory. However open source software will have hundreds of eyes trained on the code to stop vulnerabilities rather than the destructive culture of "business secrets" which Microsoft fosters.

While it is true that protecting business secrets may be one of the reasons that bugs remain in many of Microsoft's products, I am more inclined to believe that it is sheer incompetence - which is as much a feature of open source software developers as it is of any other kind of software. Moreover, programming is no longer as straightforward as it used to be. I remember well the days of BBC BASIC when (after a bit of effort) I could understand what was going wrong in the code that I wrote. Nowadays programs are so complex, using dynamic link libraries and other links containing stuff that no one seems to understand, that it is impossible to view the whole of the big picture.

I am currently in dispute with O2 because each month since September 04 they have been blocking my mobile phone number due to late payment of my monthly bill. What appears to have happened is that they have commissioned a software company to write a new accounting program that fails to recognise that my bill is always paid in response to a direct request from O2 to my credit card company to debit my credit card around 14 days after the bill is presented. The new accounting program does not recognise this delay of 14 days. O2 know that this is going on, but they can't appear to get the software writers to fix it.

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