Spyware is an ugly business. An unprotected computer can be infected in a few minutes, leading to all sorts of headache. Sunbelt Software has compiled this list of the top spyware nasties from March and the pain they inflict. At the end of the article we offer several suggestions to get started with if you’re not protected or in need of something better. Heck, many of these spyware threats actually drive users to buy spyware removal tools that are in fact spyware themselves.
1) Tro.DesktopScam 1.58%
This program is used to trick the affected user into purchasing certain security applications.
2) Looking-For.Home Search Assistant 1.13%
Home Search Assistant is an Internet Explorer browser helper object (BHO) that changes the user’s home page and modifies search results. It also spawns pop-ups on the desktop.
3) iSearch.DesktopSearch 1.06%
Removes the user’s access to use Windows Search and replaces it with C:\WINDOWS\isrvs\desktop.exe.
4) CmdService 1.03%
CmdService is an adware application that opens pop-ups and displays various types of advertising on the user’s desktop while browsing web pages. CmdService is installed by a number of drive-by downloaders, including IE-Plugin.
5) SpySheriff .93%
When SpySheriff is downloaded through an exploit, it puts a red icon in the system tray and shows a false warning that the computer is infected with spyware. SpySheriff’s free scan reports multiple false positives in order to frighten the user into paying for the program. SpySheriff is set to load at Windows start up. It may also display pop-up warnings of spyware on the computer as a scare tactic.
6) 180search Assistant .91%
180search Assistant logs the web pages you visit, when you visit them and uploads the data to its servers.
7) ELITEMedia .90%
ELITEMedia is an adware application that opens pop-up advertisements on the user’s desktop and may be installed though a security exploit and bundled with other adware and malware.
8) SpyFalcon .88%
SpyFalcon is a purported anti-spyware application to scan for and remove spyware from users’ computers. It is known to be distributed through exploits that also download adware/spyware on users’ computers without notice or consent. Scan results report false positives in order to frighten the user into paying for the program.
9) StartPage.TimesSquare .85%
Hijacks the IE start page and search pages and displays ads.
10) SpyAxe .84%
SpyAxe is a purported anti-spyware application to scan for and remove spyware from users’ computers. SpyAxe is known to be distributed through exploits that also download adware/spyware on users’ computers without notice or consent.
Protect Your Notebook
Spyware should never be a problem though for the educated notebook owner. There are several programs, both free and paid, that will protect your notebook. The author of the study has a program called CounterSpy, something worth looking in to. Also consider taking a look at Ad-Aware (free), Windows Defender beta from Microsoft (free), Spyware Eliminator ($29.99), Spyware Doctor ($39.99).