15 Commonly Used Programs That Come With Spyware

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Know that spyware has overtaken viruses as the largest online threat, infecting 90% of internet connected PCs. It’s important to be aware of the risks that spyware poses. Spyware can be classifies into 3 different groups.

Severe Threat – Spywares from this group is the most dangerous of all. They log user keystrokes, which means everything that the person types is gathered. Imagine yourself typing ‘paypal.com’. Surely the next thing that is logged would be the username and password. Imagine the pain for losing all the money in paypal. 15 out of 100 computers infected belong here.

Moderate Threat – Installed programs, internal IP address, OS version, the existence and versions of service packs and security updates and TCP ports the spyware is listening to are some of the data sent across. Though it is less risky that the severe threat group, it’s still bad. It’s like having spycams around the house. 25 out of 100 computers infected are in this group.

Minor Threat – commercial-value information about the end user’s browsing habits are collected. This is like a supermarket installing a spycam in your kitchen, to know what you have and don’t have, so that they can knock on your door and present you with the right stuff that you are missing, with the likelihood of you buying it. 60 out of 100 infected computers lie in this group.

Spywares not only steal personal information, they also :

  • consumes resources on your PC which disrupts workflow.
  • causes PC crashes
  • interferes with the web browser, slowing it down and causing downloads to fail. It can even hijack the browser to redirect you to sites containing unwanted contents.
  • annoy you with annoying popup ads that fit your preferences from the information gathered.
  • costs you money if your internet service provider charge you by the hour.

Here are 15 commonly used programs distributed with spyware. Seriously, be very careful.

  1. Bonzi Buddy
  2. Dope Wars
  3. ErrorGuard
  4. Grokster
  5. Kazaa
  6. Morpheus
  7. RadLight
  8. WeatherBug
  9. EDonkey2000
  10. Sony’s Extended Copy Protection involved the installation of spyware from audio compact discs through autorun. This practice sparked considerable controversy when it was discovered.
  11. WildTangent
  12. AOL Instant Messenger – it is still bundled with Viewpoint Media Player and WildTangent
  13. DivX – prior to version 5.2
  14. LimeWire – prior to version 3.9.3
  15. FlashGet – before being converted to freeware

Do you know that spyware removal tools won’t remove spywares that are bundled with non-spyware programs? The reason is because there is a clause in the terms and conditions which prevents them from being removed, unless the non-spyware program is removed together with it. I believe 99% of us don’t read the t&c. I don’t. I’ll just keep clicking next until the installation is finished.

Ad-aware and Spybot are the 2 most reliable FREE anti spyware that I have tried so far. They have been doing their job well. I’d recommend those 2, if you haven’t got any.

Computer Security Software Reviews
Are you infected with spyware?

2 Simple Methods To Run Programs Faster On Windows

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Do you get sore and tired hands from using the mouse so often? Well, mine does. 6 to 8 hours of writing articles for my 3 blogs is more than enough to sore an arm joint. It was worse when I was working for my previous company, handling the redesigning of the entire web portal by myself. There was a lot of pointing, dragging and dropping activities with the mouse.

It’s actually important to take preventions before carpal tunnel syndrome hits. I would love to switch to another OS that has lower mouse needs, but because I’m a hardcore gamer and several hardware pieces of mine are unsupported, I have to stick to Windows for the time being. Anyways, below are 2 common methods that you and I can take to run programs faster and minimize mouse use.

  1. Use Windows Shortcut
  2. This is the best shortcut method for anyone who is using Windows. We can bind ‘ctrl’ + ‘alt’ + 34 other keyboard keys to programs that are used often. However, it has to be in the Start Menu. Here’s an example on how to bind shortcut keys to Windows Calculator.

    Mouse over to :
    Start Menu > All Programs > Accessories > Calculator > ‘right click’ > ‘Properties’.

    calc 1

    Click on the ‘Shortcut’ tab and look for the ‘Shortcut key:’ field. In this example, I hit down the ‘ctrl’ + ‘alt’ + ‘L’ keys together and press ‘OK’.

    calc2

    You’re done! Pressing the ‘ctrl’ + ‘alt’ + ‘L’ keys will now bring out the calculator. Avoid the hassle of having to point here and there to get to the program that you want.

    Seriously. I have bound shortcut keys for several common files and folders such as ‘bittorrent’ folder (yeah, you can also bind folders but a folder shortcut needs to be placed in the start menu), Firefox, Winamp, Filezilla, MSN Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger, ‘Programs Uninstaller’ and a few others. The time taken to set up short cuts is well worth it.

  3. Use Launchy
  4. Thanks to Josh who has started developing Launchy since 5th of March 2005. It’s small in size and free. It takes up a mere 7MB of memory to run. Users can easily hide / unhide the text box by pressing ‘alt’ + ‘space bar’. Below are 3 common commands of Launchy that I find useful.

    • Run Desktop Applications
    • launchy program

      Type in application name and get a list of files that match.

    • Search Google
    • launchy search

      Type ‘google’ > press tab > type search query > hit Enter

    • Check the Weather
    • weather

      Type ‘weather’ > press tab > type city / state > hit Enter

Launchy
Open source keystroke launcher