Does your ISP spy on you?

Listening to Security Now a few weeks ago they had a couple of podcasts (sn153 and sn151 about isp’s using software such as phorm or nebuad to track the surfing habits of their users. Thanks to LightBulb Interactive, who just happens to be a local blogger, I have discovered a list of isps that have admitted to this over at Silicon Alley Insider.
Time Warner was not on the list but WOW cable was (which is a bit worrying) – I’ll pass this information on to a couple of my work colleagues.

Weatherbug alternative

It is amazing the number of people who install weatherbug on their machines – I suppose it doesn’t help that major news programs promote it when doing their weather slot (every 3 minutes). In the past weatherbug have had some pretty dodgy adware practises (just search google)- I’m not sure if they still do but thats a good reason not to use it again.
However, several years ago I came across WeatherWatcher as a freeware alternative with no popups, spam of email addresses or anything else dodgy. As I now have a “business need” to replace weatherbug, this will do the trick nicely. As the settings are saved in the registry under HKCU, I think I can even set it up as I like on my machine, and then export the registry key and import it into other local users who will have the same zipcode (or changing the zipcode should be one entry in the exported reg file)

Windows Defender

Just downloaded the new Windows Defender – Microsoft’s AntiSpyware software which was released a couple of days ago. It does make you wonder why the definitions are 22 days old if the product was only released a couple of days ago though.
The interface is pretty spartan but clean – I think it is meant to be the Vista look but to me it looks more along the tellytubby path that XP started out with.
One thing I did like, but that wasn’t made clear in the download pages is that you don’t need to uninstall the previous AntiSpyware software first – Windows Defender will remove it for you.

Rogue Spyware list.

I often go to a clients pc that “has anti-spyware installed” only to find they’ve clicked and installed on a popup that appeared whilst they were browsing. This list of rogue antispyware software is a good quick reference as to which spyware solutions are valid. Personally I only recommend search and destroy, adaware, microsoft’s AntiSpyware or Counterspy (although i’ve not actually used the latter one I know it has been getting good reviews and it is made by a reputable company)

myway search bundled with dell laptop

Myway was bundled on the new laptop and I didn’t mind it too much until it started to hijack my search results in internet explorer. With a reg file merged into the computer, I am used to typing things like “gg fred” into the address toolbar in the bottom right of my screen to get the fred term loaded into google results. By typing in abso fred, it would return any mention of fred on this website. Not so with myway installed though – it would hijack these results to its own website. Even after uninstalling the software it still continued to do so until I rebooted the laptop (there was no request to reboot when the software was removed). It also leaves behind crud in the registry – I still had a
“HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG\Software\My Way SA” entry.
Looks like I’m not the only one to get a bit fed up with it. Get your act together Dell!

Google Desktop and Microsoft Spyware Updates

It looks like the Google Desktop software has been updated recently as now the index status does not show how much of the index has been completed (or it has finally indexed the computer). The status on this computer is normally stuck at about 20% complete but this information no longer appears on the status page. However the cpu usage of the desktop search does seem to be often pegged around the 50% mark so something is still not quite right there.
The Antispyware software also seems to have been updated as the nightly scan that ran last night picked up Ultravnc as potential spyware even though it has been installed on the pc for about 2 months and I had previously flagged it as ignore.

large idtheft taking place.

Surprisingly I’ve not seen that much blogging about the SpywareInfo » cws-id-theft website where trojan software downloaded by CoolWebSearch can result in all sorts of personal information being uploaded to a file ranging from credit card/bank numbers/social security numbers etc.
Now the process of ensuring a pc is spyware free is not just restricted to running spybot or your application of your choice. It is getting more and more likely that you would have to inform the various companies that hold personal information that your data may have been compromised. Just think for a second how many companies this could include if you use your pc to do banking/pay bills/apply for a job……..
Its looking more and more likely that the only way to ensure you have a safe pc is to reformat it and start again.


MS Antispyware decided that logmein was spyware last night due to the possibility of it being used for remote control from afar. I’ve had this software installed on the computer for several months and this is the first time that it has been detected. Naturally I’ve flagged it as “ignore always”