"Hey Boss, Is a Keylogger, Spyware?
A close friend of mine walked into his minority SMB office, cup of coffee in hand and was blown away by this question no owner wants to hear coming from his sales manager - ''Hey boss, is a keylogger, spyware? Of course the cup of coffee hit the floor as my friends blood pressure hit the roof. Like most SMBs or solo entrepreneurs they have no IT guy, so he/she wasn''t there to get fired on the spot. No, I got the brunt of the frustration - being his IT guy on the side and now we get to the global definition of spyware.A close friend of mine walked into his minority SMB office,
cup of coffee in hand and was blown away by this question
no owner wants to hear coming from his sales manager -
''Hey boss, is a keylogger, spyware? Of course the cup of
coffee hit the floor as my friends blood pressure hit the
roof. Like most SMBs or solo entrepreneurs they have no IT
guy, so he/she wasn''t there to get fired on the spot. No, I
got the brunt of the frustration - being his IT guy on the
side and now we get to the global definition of spyware.
Spyware loosely defined is unwanted, obstrusive (read system
intensive - memory hogging) and always potentially
dangerous software unintentionally installed on a pc. Most
anti-spyware software makers lump adware (that stuff which
gets installed because it''s free or cheap), BHOs (browser
helper objects - stuff that suddenly appears on your
browser), distributed attack tools, keystroke loggers, PCP
software, tracking cookies, and unauthorized remote admin
tools in the same global spyware box.
That list should scare even a pro at surfing on the
Internet, but some of us have to be online 365/24/7. This
is the audience that should be paying attention, everyone
else don''t stop reading.
Still reading? Good, because spyware is getting worse -
those insanely smart people who keep finding ways to hack
intoyour company''s operating system are getting beter at
what they do...
The list I just gave you earlier is getting longer and
longer and longer. As the spyware fighters get better, the
hackers try harder and harder. Making new software to
attack different parts of any system made on earth. Just
when we thought that XP was locked down, they restarted
their attack on Win2k. And they haven''t exactly given up on
the other versions of Windows that older computers are
using still today. Now no computer is safe any more as
people got lulled into thinking that older computers were
Quick fix for ''some'' spyware problems - stop everyone using
a computer from installing anything not approved by IT guys
that know about the ever growing list of spyware. Remove
all admin rights to install software today, some of these
programs can even get the installer to load their spyware
and then open up holes in your firewall or otherwise disable
the protection setup on your computers. Stop others from
installing bogus software today and you will thank yourself
If you can''t do that without your employees spiking your
coffee with diet sugar until you ''fix'' their computer back,
then the only other option is anti-spyware software.
Minority SMBs and entrepreneurs that don''t have an IT
department or somebody''s son/ daughter is your IT
department then they will have some form of anti-spyware to
keep computers free of spyware and running at the
speed/reliability it was intended. Spyware can eventually
or sometimes immediately bring any computer to the point
where you cannot even logon to your account or computer.
Your web browser will look like a neon sign for toolbars
and other ''browser helpers'' that only help to send hackers
info you don''t want them to have in the first place.
As spyware gets more deadly and sophisticated it soon will
begin to infect other programs used in your OS and bloat
your registry to the point of freezing the screens of XP.
Your anti-spyware options are far too numerous to list here
and we should stick to the ones where it is run and
monitored by one person and that person alone. It prevents
anyone from uninstalling the anti-spyware accidently or
disabling the software on purpose. I have known friends
complain that their software keeps notifying them when it
eliminates spyware and malware (close cousins), so they
disabled it. Not an especially good idea these days.
Reporting and alerts are a must, that way you can pinpoint
the culprits and then have a talk with Bill about the
reason his computer is always so slow - the spyware he keeps
downloading. Alerts are critical so that if someone else
uses Bill''s computer and loads spyware/malware, you find out
Scheduling and real-time scanning are the leather
seats/steering wheel on this piece of software, to prevent
new infestations from re-clogging your computer network
again and again. Anti-spyware that is bundled or integrated
will be the favored choice for an entrepreneur or SMB, you
won''t have several licenses to deal with and the software
will update the whole rather than parts. The way spyware/
malware is gaining in strength an updated
anti-virus/anti-spyware/anti-spam module is better than
wondering whether each piece is updated.
Spyware is not something that can be ignored, as it becomes
more sophisticated and dangerous it may cost your business
more than it can afford.
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