How Many Problems Does Spyware Cause?

from the too-many dept

While most of this article covers standard ground about anti-spyware legislations and software programs (though, oddly, it does not mention the two most popular spyware programs: AdAware and Spybot Search & Destroy), at the very beginning it notes two interesting tidbits on the impact of spyware. Dell claims that 12% of their calls now involve questions about spyware (meaning it’s good that Dell has changed their “don’t talk about spyware” policy) while Microsoft claims that 50% of PC crashes are actually due to spyware. While this might seem like a convenient out for Microsoft (whose machines certainly crashed plenty in the time before spyware), it does indicate just how troublesome spyware is on many computers. The worst part isn’t just the problems it causes, but the fact that most users have no idea that it’s even on their machines at all.

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Comments on “How Many Problems Does Spyware Cause?”

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dorpus says:

HP printers come with spyware

I bought an HP deskjet 5150 printer over the weekend — a basic desktop printer. XP didn’t recognize the printer, so I used the install CD, and it installed a lot of extra junk that inserts itself into the taskbar, periodically asks you if you want to receive update notices. Even if you check no, it keeps asking you anyway. I was able to find something called a “basic driver” from hp’s web site, though installing it was not straightforward. I haven’t printed too many times yet, but I fear it may “fail” to recognize the driver again next time, in which case I’m stuck with the spyware version.

Dan says:

Re: HP printers come with spyware

Yeah, this crap drives me nuts as well. My Dad just purchased a Creative Audigy 2 Platinum sound card with a breakout box and I warned him to only install the drivers. He did so but couldn’t get sound from any DVD’s he played. So he went and installed the whole package from the install CD and the Creative software has taken over his system. It has installed stuff to run every time the computer boots up, slowing boot up times. It has also taken over file associations so that Creative’s software is called instead of what he used to have. I really hate this crap and it’s because of MicroSHAFT! Linux hsa it so that only the user can choose what program is associated with which file type. No program can change those without root access. I guess this is just one more reason why I am learning Linux to leave MicroSHAFT and it’s crap products behind.


Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 spyware problems

I recently had a pop-under launching every time I closed Internet Explorer. Downloaded 4 different spyware programs: turns out I had 15+ spyware programs, including a keystroke logger (!), even though I’ve been (what I thought) was careful about these things. Now I’m running Spy Sweeper all the time – it caught something trying to install just today. Jesus, this is worse than viruses! I’ve never had that many virus problems.

Oh – here’s the kicker, none of the 4 programs caught the pop-under. I used “Hijack this” to locate a program in my IE start-up (?) called “smhearts.exe”, which looked suspicious… and it was the cause.

I think the biggest problem is the sweeper programs can’t keep like the virus scanners seem to be doing…

psydr says:

Re: Re: HP printers come with spyware

Blaming MS is not the way to go here. MS makes a portion of the system available to other applications (i.e. file associations). This IS a good thing. Now, if a company abuses this privledge, it’s not MS’ fault. The company producing the application SHOULD make certain options available to the consumer and NOT make assumptions of what those choices might be.

That said, I am NOT a MS fan. Never have been, and most likely, never will be.


Dan says:

My sister had problems


My sister started having problems with her system. Since I had only just reinstalled Windows and everything else a few weeks before it was nuts. A message kept popping up saying that it couldn’t connect to the server and wouldn’t say what program was trying to connect nor which server it was trying to connect to. It would pop up hundreds of times making it impossible to do anything at all with her computer. She is on dial-up and not online which is why it couldn’t connect to the server. I downloaded Spybot S&R and Adaware and their latest updates and ran over and installed and ran them. There were around 20 spyware programs on her system causing crashes and slowing her system down. Her antivirus even found one of the program and called it a trojan but couldn’t keep the thing from coming back after it was removed. I quarentined the spyware and all of her problems have gone away. I told her to update the spyware removal tools every now and then and have them check her system. It’s totally nuts that companies think that they can install buggy and spying non-removable programs on a system that is not theirs without the owners strict understanding permission. I think spyware should be illegal because it causes major problems and eats up CPU cycles and therefore costs the owner of the machines money because it takes longer to get any task done. May spyware rot in HELL!!!!


Frank says:

a spyware caused by Norton!

When I uninstalled Norton Anti-virus, and then used Spybot’s host file feature to block the Norton servers from accessing my machine, I started getting error windows upon bootup from a program called Xtreamlok. After researching on the net, it turns out that Xtreamlok is a piece of spyware that comes with Norton that can only be removed by taking out a few entries from the registry. Xtreamlok does not show up on any program menus and is not found by ad-aware or spybot. After doing the registry fix, my system no longer showed the error window and everything’s fine. No more Norton for me…

SMaddox05 says:

Re: a spyware caused by Norton!

spyware? nonono, you didn’t do much research. xtreamlok is a program that prevents, or trys to prevent hacking of bundled products. It uses encryption and other things to keep one from reverse engineering programs. Nortan uses it so that a virus cant disable nortan and then do whatever it wants. When you uninstall nortan, you have to uninstal xtreamlok as well. You know its not spywar because it is shown in the add/remove programs applet.

Josh says:

Re: Re: a spyware caused by Norton!

Hate to tell you, but xtreamlok is spyware. I have not installed any programs in months, and all of a sudden two days ago, I started getting xtreamlok pop ups which crash whatever program I am trying to run. I tried playing some of my old home movie files that I had stored on my hard drive, and what do you know!? Xtreamlok thinks that my home videos are illegal! I did not install anything to get this program on my computer… so if everyone still insists that they arent sending this program out via spyware then you have another thing coming.

Teresa says:

Re: a spyware caused by Norton!

I am having the exact same problem, and I also used Norton in the past. I have since stopped using Norton and started using McAfee instead. I have removed Norton from my computer but still have the same problem upon startup with Xtreamlok. What exact entries did you take out of the registry and how do I go about removing them? Thanks in advance.

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