I am seeing a lot of posts lately with people having problems that are directly related to spyware. I do not like to profess myself as an expert on anything since I have learned in the years I have been supporting PC's that things change constantly and what was right yesterday is damaging today. However, in my present position I am spending way to much time cleaning spyware off of my clients system so they can work without losing productivity due to the dastardly deeds of spyware. I feel I have enough experience with this to speak with some authority on how to keep this stuff under control. So, here are the steps I think one should take. First, get rid of your existing spyware. Download both Ad-aware and Spybot. Link to Ad-aware website: http://www.lavasoft.de/support/download/ Link to direct download of Ad-aware file: http://ftp.pcworld.com/pub/new/privacy___security/aaw6.exe Link to Spybot website: http://security.kolla.de/index.php?lang=en&page=download Link to direct download of Spybot: http://studserver.uni-dortmund.de/~su1669/spybotsd12.exe Install and run both of them one at a time. Be sure and update each of them before running the scan. This update step should be performed anytime in the future that you run a scan. DO NOT CHANGE THE SETTINGS ON EITHER SPYBOT OR ADAWARE, they both install with the settings you should be using. On the first scan, make notes of the name of the spyware detected and DO NOT REMOVE any of the spyware detected. After running both and getting a list of the type of spyware, close both programs and go to your Control Panel / Add Remove Programs. Look through your list of installed programs and uninstall anything that you can that appears on your list. If you have any doubt as to whether or not an installed program is spyware, go to: http://www.spywareguide.com/product_search.php And search for it. You can also check: http://www.doxdesk.com/parasite/ For details on some of the more common parasites that like to latch onto the browser. Do not expect to find everything you detected in Add Remove programs. It isn't going to happen. Much spyware is installed in the background and never appears there. Once you have uninstalled whatever software you can, go back and run Ad-aware and Spybot again. You may notice fewer items found due to the uninstall, but do not be surprised if you still see software you uninstalled still listed. That is one of the nice things about spyware. They install it on your system and even though you uninstall the software later it leaves the spyware behind. No sweat though, Ad-aware and Spybot will get them. It does not matter which one you run first. Just run them both and this time remove whatever they detect. By default both programs keep what is removed so they can be restored if needed. I recommend you keep your removed items for 30 days before deleting them. In Spybot, Click on the Immunize button and activate the immunize and browser block feature. If you are running Windows 2000 or Windows XP, go to Control Panel / Administrative Tools / Services and find the "Messenger" service in the list. Double click it and set the startup type to "Disable". (this has no adverse effect on any Instant Messaging software) Next, go to Tools / Internet Options in IE. If you use IE6, click the Privacy tab. Click Advance and put a check in the box to over ride default. Set first party cookies to accept and third party cookies to block. Click the Programs tab. Click "Reset web settings" Click the Security tab. Highlight the Internet Zone and click on Custom Level. Set Internet Zone to at least disable unsigned Active X and disable initializing scripts not marked as safe. Suit yourself on the signed Active X but I prefer to set that to prompt. Personally I also prompt on many of the other scripting types of settings in there. Then highlight the Trusted Sites Zone. If you find yourself getting prompted a lot on sites you visit regularly, simply add those sites to the Trusted Sites zone by clicking on "Sites". Note, be sure and uncheck the box at the bottom of the sites list that refers to secure websites (https). Clicking on Custom Level in Trusted Sites, you can enable most of the items in here assuming you are being careful when you add a site to this zone. I still like to set the unsigned stuff to Prompt in this Zone. Next, go to the Restricted sites Zone and click on Custom Level. DISABLE EVERYTHING IN THIS ZONE. CHOOSE THE MOST RESTRICTED OPTION AVAILABLE. You also have a sites area in here where you can put websites in here that you want to lock down. Of course, who's to know what sites to lock down. Well, that work has been done for you. There is a great resource available that has taken many of the known advertising and spyware websites and created a registry file that you can merge into your registry that will add these sites to your Restricted Sites list. Link to IE-Spyad page http://www.staff.uiuc.edu/~ehowes/resource.htm#IESPYAD Link to direct download of the file: http://www.staff.uiuc.edu/~ehowes/res/ie-spyad.zip Save the file to your disk and then open the zip file. You will see a registry file for both IE6 ads and IE6 adults along with uninstall reg files should you later decide to remove them from your registry. Once you merge them, you can go back into your Internet Settings and look at the Sites list in the Restricted Sites zone to see what your registry merge did. If you are running Outlook or Outlook Express for your email, you should go to Tools / Options / Security and insure that you are set to use the Restricted Sites zone. These steps should leave you with a nice clean system in terms of spyware. To keep things that way you should run Ad-aware and Spybot at least monthly. When you find that really cool piece of software on the Internet that is free, you should first run your spyware scans, then install your really cool program and then run the scans again. If you come up clean, enjoy the software. If not, decide how cool the program really is. Spider For a web-based membership management utility and information on list policies, please see http://nibec.com/24hoursupport/ To unsubscribe, send a blank email to 24hoursupport-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx with "unsubscribe" (without quotes) in the subject.