Are You Being Spied On? (Part Two)
Diallers are not really spyware, but they are found and dealt with in the same way, and again, most Anti Virus software won't detect them because, again, they’re not really viruses. These programs disconnect from your telephone line, and re-connect you to a premium rate number. They are designed to be used to pay for premium content via your phone bill, although they are only supposed to do this for the period you are connected to the web site that you are paying for. Unfortunately they are far more commonly malicious, and you often don't even know what they are doing until you get your phone bill, and a nasty shock! You may not even be safe if you are on broadband, as they use any modem they find, and the worst ones may mess up your broadband connection, even if they can't find a modem!
What to do
Download and install a spyware remover. The software that I recommend have both free and pay versions. The pay versions do more, such as updating themselves and running checks for you on a schedule, the free versions detect everything the pay versions do, but you have to remember to update them and run them yourself. You pays your money and takes your choice I suppose, but I tend to use the free versions as they are just as good. SpyBot is free, but they would appreciate donations if you find the software useful.
AdAware from www.lavasoft.de
Free and Pay versions available
Free, but donations appreciated
Some of these problems are caused by hackers exploiting known ‘holes’ in Internet Explorer. Alternative web browsers are available that are arguably safer to use, more feature packed with useful stuff, and free or low cost. Try one of the following:-
USD39 or free if you don't mind a safe advert banner.
Mozilla and it's little brother Mozilla Firefox www.mozilla.org
Open Source, so they're free but would appreciate donations.
Peter Freeman has worked in computing for 15 years, including working for computer security companies. Peter’s solution to the problems described above is to dispense with Microsoft Windows and Internet Explorer and replace them with an alternative computer operating system called ‘Linux’.
This is the first in a series of articles on Computers. Future columns planned will cover other security threats, open source software, and e-mail hoaxes and scams. Please feel free to comment on this article or to suggest topics for other future columns through the Parish Magazine firstname.lastname@example.org
Published Sun 19th Dec 2004 17:31:11