Saturday, May 07, 2005

OK, I Was Wrong

In a previous post, I complained about Eliot Spitzer's spyware suit, ranting about government intrusion where it might not be warranted. Self independence, action and responsibility! was my mantra. Jerry Pournell's column in the June issue of Dr. Dobb's Journal (not yet online) made me rethink my stance on adware/spyware/malware. [Good Lord, rethinking your stance! What's next? A "Vote for Dean" bumpersticker? -- ed.] Pournell, if you don't read his columns, isn't exactly a computer user novice. He's also very careful about how he has his security set up and how he surfs the Web. The short version of the story is that he spent a lot of time recovering his system after hitting a website that installed all kinds of crushing crap on his PC. A heck of an article and, as I said, one that made me rethink my stance on just how bad this stuff can be. I still don't like Spitzer, though, so there. Thbbbt. Good resources pointed out by Pournell in his article:
  • PC Hell. No, really. Lots of info on removing various nasty viruses, adware, etc. from your system. WinTools is the particular problem Pournell got smacked with.
  • HiJackThis. Lists all the add-ons, buttons and startup items added to your system; allows you to inspect and remove items.
  • Microsoft's Anti-Spyware beta. I've heard plenty about this, but haven't yet used it -- but it's downloading right now. You have to validate that you're using "genuine Microsoft Windows", maybe Microsoft's version of spyware???
Check out Pournell's home page for lots of great reading on a wide range of topics. (And you did know he's a great author, didn't you?)

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