I had an interesting battle with spyware this past week. Spyware, often referred to as ‘scumware’, is software that comes attached to another program which you download for whatever purpose. Generally spyware is designed to serve up ads via pop-ups as a way for the program developer to get an income from the free download. Many times, however spyware does much more than just serve up ads. I found out the hard way when my computer was literally hijacked!
Shortly after downloading I ran a spy sweep to remove any spyware that came with the program I had downloaded. Unfortunately, no spy sweeper can detect all forms of spy ware. The spyware in downloaded had a time delay of about 48 hours. Around the 48-hour mark I was inundated with pop up ads, “My Daily Horoscope” installed itself, and several shortcuts were placed on my desktop.
After doing a thorough scan through my installed programs I found one program that was immune to spyware and several others that refused to be uninstalled. Soon after, I completely lost my internet connection due to some unknown network configuration change. After several hours on the phone with Dell Tech support we finally gave up and reformatted my hard drive to resolve the problem.
Before the spyware hijacked my computer, my wife downloaded the same program and all the same problems occurred. Fortunately a system restore was enough to reinstate her internet access, but after several uninstall’s and through spyware sweeps, the problems still persist. I’ll be reformatting another hard drive over the weekend.
That was my weekend? What did you do?