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Thursday, December 07, 2006

Spyware is still a hot topic

Diamond Head
View from the Hyatt Waikiki

Wearing my WinPatrol shirt while traveling has generated a share of comments and sparked some serious discussions. I'm pleased that a few people have stopped to tell me how much they love WinPatrol. Most of the time people ask me if I raise or train dogs when they see the Scotty logo.

As soon as explain what I do the conversation ends up with people sharing horror stories about spyware infecting their computers. Being on a plane for nine hours I had more then my share of discussions. In most cases, a lot of friends are still telling folks to go get the free Adaware or Spybot Search & Destroy. More than half the folks I talked to finally formatted their systems to fix the problem. I also heard just as many stories from folks not happy with Norton and couldn't find how to completely remove it.

Everyone also seems annoyed with programs like Real Player, QuickTime and CTFMon which keep getting back in the Startup Programs list and taskbar. I think we have a few new WinPatrol users after they found out we could disable these programs from coming back.

I'm back on a plane to my next location later today but the flight is short and my WinPatrol shirt is now packed away.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Shushan said...

We could have been one of the folks you talked to a few years ago! A friend recommended WillPatrol specifically because we needed to disable some undesired startup programs which were seriously starting to bog down the old 'pooter.

We found out the other reasons its a great idea to have ole Scotty around afterward.

Its been a big help. Thank you!

1:50 PM  
Blogger cdman83 said...

Hello.

Please don't take this personally, but my opinion is that programs like yours are pretty much useless (please not that this is a personal opinion and I don't wish to offend anybody). You can read my opinion at my blog:

http://hype-free.blogspot.com/2006/11/hips-just-pretty-ui.html

To sum it up (and also some points which are not mentioned in that blog posting):
- such software requires a high level of expertise to operate (much more than the average computer user has) and unless you poses the required expertise level, the resulting damage can be great (for example: if a paranoid user disallows the installation of new services during the installation of a personal firewall because s/he doesn't understand that they are needed, s/he will end up with a semi-functional product - in the best case. S/he might blame the creator of the firewall software, while in reality they are not to blame because they can't test their product with every system surveillance / HIPS product available).

- It teaches users bad habits (much the same way AV products does), because they don't stress the need to run as an unprivileged user.

- Related to the last point: because the user is not required / encouraged to run in an unprivileged account, the HIPS system and the malware run in an even plainfield (meaning that the malware can disable the HIPS system before it starts doing what it wants to do)

I would be happy to hear your thoughts on these issues on your blog or on mine :)

9:58 AM  
Blogger BillP said...

Hi CDMan,

Luckily, the HIPS functionality of WinPatrol is only one of many features I'm included over the last nine years. I've never claimed 100% protection but we still have a great track record in helping folks catch infiltrations and to clean up their machines. Our 5 star reviews and history of success speaks for itself.

I agree with alot of your points and it's one of the reasons I'm not comfortable with Vista's new UAC methodology. When users see "Are you sure you want to run this programs" you know most people will just say Yes.

You'll see even more multi utility functionality in future WinPatrol versions and as always our PLUS database will be geared to user education with information that can be understood by mere mortals.

Thanks!
Bill

1:54 PM  

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