Rogue Anti-Spyware

Posted on September 28, 2007 - 17:43 by jcallina

So, Grandpa Albert thinks he might have badware on his computer. It’s just not running the way it used to. Everything is slow. He doesn’t see any pop-up ads like last time but these days it feels like he’s always waiting for something to finish processing.

Grandpa Albert is too cheap to hire any “Nerd Herd†techies to come over so he calls his tech savvy niece, Aimee. She suspects that his computer may be part of a bot network. Millions of computers on the internet today are part of bot networks and there’s a high likelihood that Grandpa innocently visited a hacked site which downloaded infected software without his knowledge.

“Darn criminals,†Grandpa mutters on the phone. “No one’s controlling my hard earned CPU cycles without MY consent!â€

Aimee doesn’t have the time to stop by because she’s working on a presentation for the She’s Geeky Un-conference in Mountain View this October. In the meantime, she tells him to try downloading some anti-spyware and she’ll troubleshoot when she can visit later.

Grandpa Albert surfs the net searching for the products Aimee suggested. Seems like there are tons of anti-spyware products out there making lots of promises. He tries typing in ‘spy bot’ into his search engine. Hmmmm. Which one is the right one? Should he download www.Spy-Bot.net, www.SpyWareBot.com, www.SpyBot-SD.net, www.Spybot.com or one of the others?

Grandpa Albert shakes his head. He remembers the scolding Aimee gave him that last time he downloaded a random application from the internet. He didn’t know back then that the screensaver had installed trojans, dialers and all kinds of bad things onto his computer. This time he’d be more careful. Best to stick to the applications Aimee suggested.

He tries typing in ‘ad aware’ into his search engine. Hmmmm. There’s www.AdwareAlert.com and Noadware.net. They both have adware in the title but what about the one from www.LavaSoft.com? They all look good. They all have professional websites. How can he be sure?

Grandpa scratches his head. He types in ‘anti-spyware’ into his search engine and starts surfing around to learn more. He stumbles across Spyware Warrior’s List of Rogue/Suspect Anti-Spyware Products & Web Sites.

Ha! This site says that spy-bot.net is associated with AlertSpy which is on Spyware Warrior’s list as a rogue and suspect application. Spywarebot.com is on the Spyware Warrior list too.

Spyware Warrior says that some of the products listed on this Rogue Anti-Spyware site don’t really provide anti-spyware protection at all and some of them even install spyware/adware themselves!

“Darn criminals,†Grandpa Albert mutters to himself. “These folks are deliberately playing upon name recognition to get their sleazy software installed on my system!â€