Know The Enemy Surveillance Spyware

Have you ever read best sellers on the cold war and spies? Many of us have grown up on the thrills and chills presented by such novels where spies are watching everything and are in the know of every action or step taken by important people.

The cyber world too has such spies and, among the many kinds is surveillance software. These are designed to surreptitiously monitor a person’s activities. It can, not only record keystrokes and log the content of emails but even take screenshots of what is displayed on the monitor.

Surveillance software can be used to monitor a person and steal passwords and other sensitive information like financial transactions and confidential matters pertaining to business deals. Computers are most vulnerable when used online.

Key logger programs include SpectorSoft’s Spector Pro and EBlaster, XPCSpy, and Omnisquad’s Desktop Surveillance Personal edition. Programs like these abound and they are used to spy on you without your knowledge or consent. In many states an employer or spouse is legally entitled to use these.

In fact, in the US many employers are using surveillance spyware to monitor their employees. Even the government has been using technology to track criminals and to spy into private communications. Surveys indicate that spyware, adware, and other malicious programs are costing victims billions of dollars every year. To fight the menace a coalition “Stop Badware Coalition” of tech companies and consumer groups has formed to stop misdeeds by companies who produce software that spies. Fighting the cause are giants like Google, Lenovo, Sun Microsystems, Berkman Center, Vint Cerf, and Esther Dyson.

Cleverly designed, most anti-spyware programs cannot detect or disable surveillance spyware efficiently. And, spywares are being improved as we speak. You can only attempt to create your own protective fortress by using multiple anti-spyware tools. For example a good workable combination according to PCworld would be Ad-ware, spybot, Pestpatrol, and Spysweeper.

You need to think like a spy to catch the surveillance software. Try and uncover the program and then disable or uninstall it. Many emerge on using specific keystroke sequences like “CTrl-ALT-Shift-S.” Very often, the installer or the spyware may have altered the sequence but a bit of doggedness on your part will help you unravel the code. Please do close every application include those running in the systems tray before trying to work the magic.

If you are a bit tech savvy you can discover plenty of useful information on blogs and discussion forums. Sadly, often spyware is password protected and you will not be able to disable the software.

Your safest bet is to avoid downloading software, and use strict log-on security offered by operating systems. Always use unusual passwords and make it a point to change them often. You must:

• Use a hardware router.
• Set up firewalls both hardware and software.
• Use comfortable security settings—never lower than medium.
• Never comply to return e-mail receipt requests.

Stay one step ahead and follow the rules of protecting your PC and sanity.


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