COMPUTER GENIUS

As many of you know by now, I work in a local computer repair shop, dividing my day between hardware and software repair. The hardware is relatively easy once diagnosed. The software however, can be frustrating as well as time consuming.

Our current problem is the number of new viruses and spyware. Today, I’ll tell you what I know about spyware. From what I’ve read, the word “spyware” was first used in the public on October 16, 1996 and was referring to the business strategies used by Microsoft. It wasn’t until 1999 that Zone Labs, the developers of Zone Alarm, used it in the meaning we know today.

Reportedly the first spyware was introduced to the public under the cover of the free game software called “Elf Bowling.” Since then computers around the world have been inundated with spyware programs such as, Xupiter, Gator, XXXDial, Coolwebsearch, Bonzi Buddy, Euniverse, DirectRevenue, 180 Solutions, Wheatherbug, and the list goes on.

It’s interesting to note that most spyware is downloaded on purpose. When you click the”I agree” button on many of the free games, or smiley faces, or even software mimicking antispyware, you are agreeing to install spyware on your computer. And since spyware does not replicate itself, it does not come under the heading of a virus, and remains undetected by your anti-virus applications. It can unfortunately cause as many problems with your computer as a virus. Depending on the type it may come under the heading of “grayware, malware, malicious spyware, or adware.” But no matter what it’s called, it can cause even the fastest machine to slow to a crawl. Or test your frustration level by creating popups faster than you can close them out. And worst of all, live up to its name and report your computer usage.

According to Dick Hazeleger, known for his spyware list, “Spyware is the name given to software that (without the user of the program knowing that the software performs this action) traces the user’s Internet usage and sends this information (again without the user knowing) to a server designated by the spyware developer. Once collected it provides a detailed user profile, and that my friends is not something you want.

So do your homework and install some good anti-spyware software. There is a link on our website www.computer-genius.com that installs a very good free anti-spyware software. Check it out, and if you have any comments or questions email me at ask@computer-genius.com.

The Waynedale News Staff

The Waynedale News Staff

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