Newest Review: ... Teamed with my anti-virus (AVG), I find that this product is really effective. It's a software that finds potentially harmful spyware a... more
If You Surf The Web Then You NEED This Program...And It Is Free!
Member Name: wampyrii
Date: 08/08/01, updated on 08/08/01 (755 review reads)
Advantages: see review
Disadvantages: see review
Everyone who surfs the web should be well aware of viruses and the damage they can cause your system. Many however will be less familiar with the idea of spyware, which in my opinion at least are equally nasty. When you visit certain sites you will find yourself being monitored by the site as to what you are doing. No problme there as such, adding cookies to your machine may be annoying, but generally it is beneficial to both parties. Spyware is diiferent. The makers of Spyware make money from watching what you do on the net - where you go, the things you buy etc. collating personal information about you and then transmitting this back to their home base somewhere so that your details can be sold onto interested companies.
Spyware takes the form of cookies, small programs or registry entries and will run pretty much unnoticed by you until you decide to go looking for it. Recently, a friend of mine starting designing a technical support website to provide online support for novice computer users and more technical minded alike and asked me to check it out. One section was on spyware and the recommended program to use to remove the little beasties was a program called Ad-aware...a freeware software download which claims to safely remove all spyware from your system - naturally I checked it out.
Ad-aware is quite simply brilliant in all respects. There are two versions, either the free version which simply checks you system and clears out the nasties, or the professional edition which costs $15 and will continue to monitor so that they can not be re-added again later. Being a bit of a skinflint(well broke actually) I opted for the free version(and there are other freebie programs to do the monitoring bit - see my next review when it happens). The downloaded file is small at under 1Mb in size and the installation is quick and painless. When you run the program, you'll find that it is incredibly simple to se so there is no need to read through som
e complicated manual etc. (like I ever do anyway). You just run the program, select whether you want to scan the registry, memory or hard disk(or all three) for spyware and sit back and wait to see just how many you have - trust me - if you surf the web and have no protection you WILL have them.
Having been someone who was more than a little into surfbars, download managers etc. I was expecting the worst and sure enough there they were - 120+ recognised files associated with spyware! I basically had virtually every major spyware program running on my system...Adware Aureate, Comet Cursor, Doubleclick.net, Gator(nasty program - got it? delete it!), NewDotNet, Webhancer...and so on. That is not to say I had 120 spyware programs, just 120 files related to them - around 13, 14 pieces of spyware - more than enough I feel! 14 spies on my system? 14 programs running in the background, taking up processor time, bandwidth, memory, and sending back heaven knows what kind of information about me to who knows who...
Time to delete them. Again this is a quick and painless process. You have the option of first making a backup, just in case something goes wrong which is always adviseable, and then just select the ones you want to remove(all of them!?!) and hit continue. Ad-aware will remove the offending pieces of...from you system and you are free to surf without prying eyes again. Unless you buy the professional version which protects against outside users putting cookies etc. onto your system, you will have to run this program periodically, because trust me, the damn things will come back in much the same way as they found their way onto your system in the first place. There is an excellent free program which does the same thing though which I will be reviewing next, and alerts you to every site which has spyware on it...umm virtually all of them I found! (Doubleclick.net mainly...grrr)
Overall, this is a 5 star program all the way in my view. If you
use Gator or Gozilla or others that use spyware to make their money...yes these two do and so do a lot of other 'free' programs, then you'll find them not working if you run Ad-aware - which is a GOOD THING, because you should delete the trash anyway! If you still like them and do not care that someone is recording everything you do and selling it on then don't use Ad-aware because they'll stop functioning. Ad-aware is at version 5.5 at the moment and is incredibly stable, simply to use and overall safe to run on your system as well as being 100% FREE...what more can you ask? Go get it now...