Technology:The Anti's Virus, Spyware/Malware etc.

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This page is a chapter in the book AusPhotography Guide to Safer Computing.

Antivirus software are computer programs that attempt to identify, neutralize or eliminate malicious software. The term "antivirus" is used because the earliest examples were designed exclusively to combat computer viruses; however most modern antivirus software is now designed to combat a wide range of threats, including worms, phishing attacks, rootkits, Trojans, often described collectively as malware.

For Home users I use and recommend Avast!.
I used AVG prior to version 8; but did not like the changes they made to the product in V8.
I do not like Norton (Symantec), Vet or some of the other commercial products as they (in my opinion) do not deliver good value.

How does my PC get a virus? Simply you the user did something to allow the virus to be installed. I.e. a download, installing dodgy (pirate) software, opening an email attachment, or maybe leaving your PC open to network attack (eg. open file sharing).
Which is why this whole section has been provided to AP members - awareness!

Ensure your Antivirus software is configured to check for updates at least daily. To be effective AV software must know about the potential threats out there.


What is SpyWare? Spyware is the generic term for a computer application that records, without the knowledge of the computer owner, information about the user and browsing habits or other information and then transmits that information across the Internet. There are subsets of the kinds of applications that can be loosely described as spyware including adware, surveillance and remote controlling applications, and utilities that enable software to “phone home” to look for updates. Many of these applications have legitimate purposes while others are used primarily by crackers and individuals engaged in the harvesting of information for criminal or ethically questionable purposes.

The essential difference between spyware and legitimate applications is knowledge of consent. If you know the software is running on your computer, and phoning information home, it is legitimate. For instance, virus software, operating system software and applications like Adobe Acrobat all “phone home” to ask if there are newer versions, but these are legitimate uses of this technology.

What does Spyware/Adware/Malware do to my computer? Spyware and adware can also adversely affect the performance of the infected computer. Many of these applications are not well coded and regularly conflict with other applications. Multiple spyware apps can conflict both with individual programs as well as with the operating system. In short, spyware on a computer leads to frequent and debilitating crashes.

How does it get on my computer? Most spyware is bundled with other software. Grokster, for instance downloads 15 other applications to your computer when you download it--all adware and spyware.

How can I protect myself?
• Run Spybot and/or Ad-Aware. Unfortunately, if you don’t change your downloading habits, you will need to run a patchwork of anti-virus/spyware applications regularly to keep your pc from coming apart at the atomic level.
• Never click on a pop-up ad—even when it is covering a web page. Just refresh the page or close the window.
To get Spybot: (Windows only)
To get Ad-Aware: (Windows only)
And suggested by TUN35 ...
SUPERAntiSpyware (Great for removing antivirus2008 & 2009 that have been doing the rounds, which is in fact spyware )
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