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Argh! Kids' laptop riddled with spyware!

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I downloaded the current beta version of MS' new Anti-SpyWare tool yesterday and installed it on my kids' laptop.  When I ran the scan, I found something like 16 different types of SpyWare installed.  The trigger was starting up IE on the machine and being greeted with something called the "Megasearch" tool bar!

I can say that the new Anti-SpyWare tool seems to do a really good job.  Of course with SpyWare, you don't know what you don't know.  There could be another dozen SpyWare packages installed on my system that the tool didn't detect, but at least I know I got some.  Oh well, what are you going to do?...

Comments
  • Great news, I'll check it out (on the MS beta). Yes, I've been successful at keeping my home and work machines spy-ware free, but my son's machine was complely loaded with it (all at once). Just when you think you have it cleaned off, BOOM it comes back again!

    I've heard that kids gaming companies are the worst at spyware. It's such a shame.

  • I had the same problem. I switched both my kids to Firefox and haven't had any problems since. One day presumably spyware will target Firefox too, but for now it's a very pragmatic solution to a nasty problem.

    The other thing I do a lot is set restore points on the kids' computers. Then I know I can get it back to a known state.

  • James,

    I like the restore point idea. I might start doing that myself. As an MS employee, I want to see how the active protection offered by the MS antispyware tool does its job, so I think I'll let the kids continue to use IE.

    Bill

  • The new tool does seem to function pretty well.

    I'm stilling using SpyBot and Adaware. It never hurts to run them all in sequence once every week or two.

  • I've run into similar problems with my kids computer. After installing Firefox that seemed to help quite a bit. I also run AdAware and Spybot search and destry as well as the MS Antispyware product and a great product called "The Cleaner" which you can find at http://www.moosoft.com/products/cleaner/.

    It's getting to the point though where I'm considering tossing my kids PC and getting them an iMac Mini. Microsoft needs to do more to prevent this problem.

  • The new tool does seem to function pretty well.

    I'm stilling using SpyBot and Ad-aware. It never hurts to run them all in sequence once every week or two.

  • 16? That's nothing! I ran it on my uncle's machine and it identified and appears to have cleaned out 52 :-)

    -Bryce

  • It seems like there's a theme here about kids downloading spyware. MS has created a page that discusses kids and spyware (http://www.microsoft.com/athome/security/spyware/kidsspyware2.mspx). Perhaps this should be required discussion in every household with children!

  • The SpyNet Community Technology that the new MS Anti Spyware offers is surely the best bet for cracking on existing spywares and any new one as soon as they are released. As of now this tool does not eliminate or even detect all the bugs, so its advisable to use a cocktail of other anti spywares to keep the system as free as possible of these peerformance degrading, dangerous and annoying programs.
    Wait and see how this gets better and better, but the most important thing, "Dont forget to "live update" the tool regularly!"

  • > Oh well, what are you going to do?...

    Use a Mac.

  • Yeah, nobody writes spyware for macs. Hell, hardly anybody writes anything for macs...

  • Now now, let's go easy on the fanboydom here...

    I like MS antispyware, but it still misses quite a bit of the spyware out there (undoubtedly it will improve). It is a good first defense though, so I use it as a realtime monitor, with an automated run every night (and auto delete anything it finds), and run the ad-aware/ spybot cocktail once every few weeks. That seems to keep things in good working order.

  • I've responded here:

    http://www.edbott.com/weblog/archives/000494.html

    You might also want to read this post, "How often do you need to scan for spyware?"

    http://www.edbott.com/weblog/archives/000429.html

  • I was depressed to read this post from a Microsoft blogger who claims to be involved with security: Argh! Kids' laptop riddled with spyware! I downloaded the current beta version of MS' new Anti-SpyWare tool yesterday and installed it on my kids' laptop. When I ran the scan, I found something like 16 different types of SpyWare installed. The trigger was starting up IE on the machine and being greeted with something called the "Megasearch" tool bar!I can say that the new Anti-SpyWare tool seems to do a really good job. Of course with SpyWare, you don't know what you don't know. There could be another dozen SpyWare packages installed on my system that the tool didn't detect, but at least I know I got some. Oh well, what are you going to do?... Jeebus, the last thing I want to hear from someone who works at Microsoft is this sort of defeatist attitude. Especially when they’re involved in security. What are you going to do? Back up the kid’s data. Wipe the hard disk and reinstall Windows and all programs. Set up safeguards to make sure no unwanted programs get installed again. Ban Kazaa and anything lke it. Give the kid a Limited user account. It works....

  • 1) Use a Mac.
    2) Use Firefox