Computer In 4 Easy Steps
By Elizabeth Ward
Do I Need To Spy Proof My Computer?
I think the question should be, do I use my computer for anything that would best remain private and confidential? Computer monitoring has become a huge industry, involving individuals, companies and governments worldwide. Ask the millions of people who've had their identities stolen if they would have done anything different, knowing what they do now.
Did you know identity theft is the nations fastest growing crime?
With the advent of computer technology and the Internet spreading through our homes and businesses at lightning speed, if you haven't been affected by computer crime in one way or another, chances are you will be soon.
So, here's how webmasters, site owners and web visitors can reduce unwanted email, today:
Types Of Computer Recording Devices
There are two main products that are used to capture and record computer activity: Hardware Keyloggers and Surveillance Software. 95% of these are designed to be undetectable by computer users. Many Surveillance Software programs are available via a simple download over the Internet, FREE of charge, and completely anonymously!
This product requires no technical skill whatsoever to install and is often overlooked by even seasoned computer users. This type of keylogger requires that the culprit have physical access to your computer and can be installed in less than 5 seconds.
Once installed, a hardware keylogger will capture every keystroke entered into your keyboard and then store it for future retrieval on the device itself.
Some hardware keylogger companies boast a two-million keystroke capacity! That's about 5 years worth of typing for the average computer user. Whether at home or in the office, you can easily fall victim to this type of spying.
A hardware Keylogger is installed between your keyboard and computer.
One of the most popular hardware keyloggers is KeyGhost. You can visit their website for more information on hardware keyloggers and why they are such an intrusion into your privacy.
Removal Of Hardware Keyloggers
By taking a peek behind your system and following your keyboard cable, you can find out if there is something "odd" inserted between your keyboard and computer. To remove a hardware keylogger, you MUST SHUT DOWN YOUR SYSTEM! You could damage your system if you attempt to remove the keylogger while your computer is running!
Once your system is powered off, carefully remove the device from in between your keyboard and computer, and then plug your keyboard directly back into the computer. Make sure that it is plugged in completely and be gentle as the connectors are somewhat fragile.
Beware Surveillance Spy Software
Surveillance Software is by far the most insidious...and hard to detect of all computer monitoring type spyware products. Some legitimate uses for spy software are to watch a child's Internet activity or to monitor employees while in a work environment. Unfortunately, this type of spy software is often used unethically and even illegally by ANYONE who wants to spy on or steal sensitive or private information from you, or your business, without ever being caught.
Surveillance Spyware can be broken down into four main sub categories:
Keyloggers, which record keystrokes like a hardware keylogger, but without a physical device.
Email Redirectors, which silently duplicate all incoming and outgoing messages to a third party.
Chat Loggers and URL Recorders, which will monitor popular instant messaging programs such as AIM and Yahoo Messenger, regular IRC chat clients and web browsers. All communications and web site visits are recorded and sent back to the intruder.
Screen Recorders, which silently take snapshots of your entire desktop screen and everything you are doing, and then package it up as a slide show, for the intruder to view. Screen recorders can also email or upload these recordings for remote access.
Dangers Of Surveillance Spy Software
Surveillance Spy Software is wreaking havoc in families and businesses around the globe with very little media attention. Surveillance Spy Software among other things is used for:
Whatever anyone wants to find out about you or your business can now be easily obtained with Surveillance Spy Software that can be purchased by anyone easily right over the Internet...
One of the leading Surveillance Spy Software companies is Spectorsoft
They openly acknowledge that a large part of their sales are from spouses who spy on their mates.
Businesses will not let anyone know their systems have been compromised with Surveillance Spy Software, unless they are absolutely forced to. It's bad for business.
Detecting Surveillance Spy Software
The only product I've found to specifically target and detect surveillance spy software is from a company called SpyCop.
SpyCop has been reviewed by the best in the industry including law enforcement, government and hundreds of businesses both large and small.
Here's what some of the leading experts in the industry are saying about SpyCop:
SpyCop... found a trace of SpectorSoft's Eblaster keylogger on my system that Spy Sweeper and Norton AntiVirus failed to notice Edward C. Baig Personal Tech Writer Usa Today
The best I've seen so far is SpyCop. It scours your system, looking for secret keystroke-logging software. John Dvorak Contributing Editor, PC Magazine
If you're on the receiving end of a snooping program, wouldn't you want to know? SpyCop can ferret out hidden spy programs... Kim Komando The Kim Komando Show
SpyCop has been recommended in many books:
The Art of Deception: Controlling the Human Element of Security by Kevin D. Mitnick
Microsoft Encyclopedia of Security by Mitch Tulloch
Secrets of Computer Espionage: Tactics and Countermeasures by Joel McNamara
Steal This Computer Book 3: What They Won't Tell You About the Internet by Wallace Wang
Privacy Tactics by Scott Germaise
Home Networking Bible by Sue Plumley
Absolute PC Security and Privacy by Michael Miller
What Is Adware?
The public has become outraged at the advertisers who use hidden marketing programs to take over computers for the purpose of marketing their products. The symptoms of Adware are uncontrollable popups, unwanted extra toolbars, and drastically slowed down computer performance that can result in freezes or lock up.
Most spyware detectors are concentrated on detecting adware because that is what is getting all the press...and adware profiles are free for them to add to their detection databases. This makes it very easy and inexpensive for anyone to get into the adware detection business. Many times the same advertising spyware databases are passed around or copied between Adware detection companies with very little new research done.
Unfortunately, there are many inferior products out there that only do a half job at detecting adware.
Adware is extremely annoying and will often cost you money because this type of spyware is poorly designed, and may cause severe damage that only a computer repair shop can fix. All expenses related to adware damage come out of YOUR pocket, not the advertiser.
Removal Of Adware
I'm going to let you in on a little secret that many in this industry don't want you to know: You DO NOT have to spend ANY money to detect and deal with Adware because the best product out there is FREE. Yes, I said FREE, and it amazes me how many people are spending their hard earned cash to detect Adware...but as I explained earlier, there is a lot of confusion regarding the subject of spyware.
Look what Andrew Brandt from PC World wrote about all these so called spyware detectors.
Some anti-Spy Software companies use confusing ads, and our tests show their $20-$60 products are less effective than free competitors... Andrew Brandt
From the December 2004 issue of PC World magazine
You've almost certainly encountered the ads: A dialog box pops up on your system bearing the message Warning! Your computer may be infected with Spy Software and suggesting that you scan your computer immediately.
Click it, and you often reach a Web site providing a free Spy Software scanner that finds all sorts of malware on your PC--and then offers to sell you software that will clean it all up. Should you buy these products?
Based on our tests, our opinion is no.
Following complaints from several PC World readers, we tested seven heavily advertised Spy Software-removal tools--
Pal Spy Software Remover
Spy Software Stormer
and found that none were as effective as reputable free products such as SpyBot Search & Destroy. Andrew Brandt PC World Magazine...
Here's what some of the leading experts are saying about FREE SpyBot:
Spybot Search and Destroy is adaptable for both beginning and power users, Bruce Stewart CNET Editor.
Spybot: A powerful, easy to use tool for detecting, removing, and preventing adware... WinPlanet.com
So folks, don't waste your money on Adware Spyware detectors, just do like Andrew Brandt says and get your free copy of SpyBot SD
There are a lot of companies imitating SpyBot and tricking customers into thinking they are going to the SpyBot website when they are really going to a competitor who wants to cash in on SpyBot's popularity.
Adware Prevention (Careful what browser your using)
Many people are unaware that they can get adware deposited on their computer by simply visiting a website with an insecure browser. To help prevent new adware from making its way onto your machine when you surf the net, I recommend FireFox. FireFox is the latest cutting-edge browser designed for simplicity and security:
To download your free copy, visit Mozilla.org.
Four Easy Steps To Spy Proof Your Computer
1. Check for hardware keyloggers attached to the keyboard input.
2. Download your copy of SpyBot from Safer-Networking.org.
3. Download your copy of SpyCop SpyCop.com.
4. Download your copy of FireFox browser Mozilla.org.
About The Author
Copyright (c) 2005 Elizabeth Ward. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to reproduce this report for free distribution at any website as long as it is reprinted in its entirety. Copies may be obtained in Ebook format from NoSpyZone.com