Welcome to Part 2 of the online course, Spyware and Adware What s in Your Computer?

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1 Welcome to Part 2 of the online course, Spyware and Adware What s in Your Computer? 1

2 2

3 This is the second part of a two-part course on spyware and adware. In this portion of the course we will: Review the ways in which adware and spyware get installed Provide some methods and best practices in order to prevent this software from being installed on your computer And finally, we will provide you with a list of resources should you wish to pursue this topic further 3

4 As discussed in Part One of this presentation, spyware and adware is a big business. The creators profit enormously by selling information on your surfing habits, redirecting you to sites you didn t intend to visit, and bombarding you with pop-up ads. To add to this problem, it is almost impossible to find and stop the makers of spyware. 4

5 We have already discussed some of the methods spyware and adware find their way onto your computer. We will summarize many of the common methods of installation so we have a clear understanding of how this occurs. The most direct method is via user installation. Spyware and adware companies pay software publishers to include their spyware or adware in their products. They will try to trick the user into installing the software without realizing it. It is contained in free toolbars, games, free subscriptions, screen savers, and other free software that is downloaded from the Internet. As we discussed earlier, this free software is bundled with spyware and adware. Another frequent method of installation is the sharing and swapping of music files or photos. This is most commonly achieved through peer-to-peer networking applications such as Kazaa, imesh, limewire, etc. Be sure to watch Part One of this presentation for an explanation of file-sharing and the dangers associated with this application. Allowing others to use your computer creates a vulnerable situation as they visit web sites and may unknowingly install adware and spyware. Keep in mind that those using your computer may not be educated on spyware and adware risks and may install free downloads and click on pop-up ads being oblivious to any security threat they may pose. 5

6 Opening spam messages is another method of installation. In addition, opening attachments from someone you don t know or that you are not expecting is another method of installation. Remember, just because you know the sender of the attachment doesn t make it safe to open if you are not expecting the attachment always check with the sender first. Sometimes security flaws are also exploited in order to install spyware and adware. 6

7 The dilemma is that there are no clear spyware standards established. The software vendors who create the applications to find and remove spyware and adware don t share information with one another. This makes it difficult for any one anti-spyware or anti-adware product to find every possible piece of spyware and adware on your computer. For that reason, you may need to have more than one product to fight spyware and adware. 7

8 The University of Akron already has a response in place to deal with adware and spyware. To begin with, McAfee anti-virus is installed as a proactive tool. McAfee runs in the background and checks files as they are accessed. McAfee is configured to look for spyware and adware, in addition to viruses. If it finds any malicious software it will stop and remove the threat. The McAfee anti-virus software is installed on all University-owned computers on the UAnet domain. For those university-owned computers that are NOT on the UAnet Domain, contact the Support Desk at and request the software. It is free of charge for university-owned computers. 8

9 It is important to understand how McAfee works so let s spend a few minutes discussing this. There is one important concept to keep in mind when we discuss virus protection and that is that new viruses are constantly popping up this means your virus definitions must be updated in order to find these new strains of viruses. If McAfee is setup on a university-owned computer via epo it will be controlled and updated by the server. (epo is the University s security management solution that provides the University with a coordinated defense against malicious threats and attacks. It enables computers to automatically get the virus updates with no action required on the part of the user). The server knows if your computer is not updating correctly. Now, if you have a laptop p that is off-campus you will still get the updates if you connect to the Internet. In this case, the software will go directly to McAfee s web site and get the updates, rather than getting them from the University s server. 9

10 If you want to verify that your computer is getting the latest virus definitions, you can check this very easily by right-clicking on the McAfee virus shield. This will be located in the task tray of your computer desktop in the lower right corner. Next, click on the option labeled About VirusScan Enterprise and check the date in the Created On field. The updates are scheduled by default for 5:00 PM so the date should never be more than a day or two old. If the date is older than that contact the Support Desk and open a ticket to have this situation investigated! 10

11 Here is a screen shot from the McAfee Virus Scan which points out the location of the Created On date. 11

12 As for personal computers belonging to faculty, staff, and students The University of Akron has free software available for home use. Each student, faculty, or staff member can download the software by logging in to ZipLine and accessing the Home Use Software Downloads link. The download is for a home version of McAfee Anti-Virus. However, unlike the version used for campus-owned computers, the personal version of McAfee does NOT include the anti-spyware and anti-adware components. Therefore, you will need to install additional software to help detect spyware and adware on your personal computer. Once installed on your personal computer, the McAfee settings should be configured to allow for automatic updates. Remember, we discussed the importance of keeping your virus definitions up to date, therefore, it is critical that you setup McAfee for auto updates in order to protect yourself. We have provided the web address for documentation on how to configure these settings in McAfee. 12

13 We have also provided some links to other popular anti-spyware and anti-adware software that you may wish to download. It is a good idea to run more than one anti-spyware or anti-adware program due to the fact that the software vendors cannot agree on what is spyware and what is not. Therefore, the more spyware programs you run each may identify something the others do not. Some of the popular programs are Counter Spy, Spybot Search and Destroy, Microsoft Windows Defender, and LavaSoft s Ad-Aware SE Personal. Counter Spy is one of the better programs and is available for approximately $20 a year. All of the other programs are available as a download from the Internet free of charge. 13

14 Let s review the complete list of how you can protect yourself from spyware and adware: First, install and run spyware and adware-detection software. We already discussed the software available from the University for this purpose. We also mentioned other anti-spyware and anti-adware programs that you may wish to install. You should also install anti-virus software to keep your computer virus-free. Once again, we already discussed the McAfee anti-virus software. Remember, you should configure your virus protection program to automatically update so you have the latest updates. 14

15 You must also keep your operating system up to date. Remember how we said that the creators of adware and spyware will try to exploit system vulnerabilities? Well, by keeping your operating system up to date you remove that opportunity. For personal users, you can go to Microsoft s web site or select Start All Programs - Windows Update. You can setup your computer to automatically receive updates. For those faculty and staff using a university-owned computer on the UAnet domain, your computer automatically receives Windows and Office updates. For laptop users, the updates will work through VPN, however, if the PC is NOT brought to campus or connected through VPN, it will not get the automatic update. Therefore, for those clients it is critical that you download and install these updates yourself. 15

16 Some other prevention techniques include NOT using peer-to-peer networking this just puts you at greater risk for adware and spyware infection not to mention a host of other problems. You should also not install or run any software unless you know and trust the source. We have provided you with links to free anti-virus and anti-spyware software so you can be assured that these programs are safe and reliable. However, after completing this presentation you should be aware that you need to be suspicious of free software. Also, if you don t understand the license agreement or privacy statements DO Not install the software. If you are not sure about the trustworthiness of the software you should perform a Google search. Search for the name of the software plus the word adware or spyware. Do this BEFORE installing the software and the search results should provide you with a good indication as to the safety of the software. 16

17 You also learned not to click anything on a pop-up window except for the standard X in the upper right corner to close the window. Remember, do not click on any of the buttons in the pop-up regardless of what they may say! Also, maintain at least a medium security level on your browser. In Internet Explorer, click on Tools in the menu bar and select Internet Options and then select the Security Tab. 17

18 This is a screenshot of the Security Setting from Internet Explorer. Notice the Medium setting towards the bottom of the dialog box. 18

19 Some types of sites are very popular with spyware publishers and highly likely to try to install spyware or adware on your computer. In general, you should always be suspicious of sites offering anything for free but you should be especially suspicious of sites offering the following types of content: Pornography, warez which is illegally cracked or pirated software, free games, graphics, smileys or screen savers Free music or lyrics or sheet music Free Online diaries Peer-to-peer file sharing programs. 19

20 You should also enable pop-up blockers on your browser. This will prevent those pop-ups from ever appearing. This feature is available in Internet Explorer Service 6.0 and later. Select Tools from the menu and then select Pop-Up Blocker Turn on Pop-up blocker. Keep in mind that there may be certain, valid sites that will need to have pop-up blockers enabled. You can allow pop-ups from a trusted site. For example, in order to use PeopleSoft Financials clients must allow pop-ups from uakron.edu You will find instructions on how to allow pop-ups from uakron.edu by navigating to the web address listed on this page. We also have included these instructions as a document within the WebCT course. In Mozilla Firefox the pop-up blocker is automatically turned on by default. However, should you need to access the option, select Tools Options Web Features. In Netscape, the pop-up blocker is also turned on by default and may be accessed by selecting Tools PopUp manager. 20

21 You might be watching this presentation and recognize one of the spyware or adware programs as one you have installed on your computer. If that is the case, make sure you remove this program. You can remove a program by selecting Start- Control Panel Add or Remove Programs and then selecting the software you wish to remove. Now, unfortunately, uninstalling a piece of adware or spyware may not be that easy sometimes the creators make it impossible to cleanly remove their adware and spyware by just uninstalling the program. You may want to do some research first to see how well the software will uninstall. To accomplish this, perform an Internet search using the name of the software plus uninstall. That should provide you with some good information. 21

22 For assistance with removing spyware or adware, campus desktop clients may call the Support Desk at and open a ticket. Campus-owned laptops may be brought to either Bierce Library lower level or the Computer Center. Personal machines may be brought to Bierce Library or the Computer Center. 22

23 The following list of resources has been created to assist you with finding more information on anti-spyware and anti-adware software. You will want to make sure you print out a copy of the handout so you have a hard-copy of these web addresses. It is also worth mentioning that firewalls are another useful tool against unwanted programs if you want to learn more about firewalls and how to set them up, visit the Microsoft Security web site which is the first link on this page. 23

24 We have also provided some links to additional information on spyware and adware, should you wish to pursue further research on this topic. 24

25 Finally, some additional links to information related to spyware and adware. 25

26 26

27 Thanks for your time! We hope you enjoyed this web-based course on spyware and adware. More importantly, we hope this course provided you with a set of valuable tools to help battle adware and spyware. They are thriving on the Internet and you need to guard against them to protect yourself! Should you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact 27

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