March 4th, 2006 at 10:53pm
Those of you who regularly read through the comments on this site may remember that near the end of the popup fiasco, the subject of adware and spyware came up, and in the comments in this post, a comment was made by John B1_B5 about Spybot Search and Destroy.
You have to be careful of “Spybot” because it will work ok in the beginning, but after awhile, it sneakily starts acting as an “undercover agent” to allow ’specific’ spyware onto your machine .
Needless to say, this caused me some concern as I have been using Spybot for some time, and have even promoted it, if it is letting in spyware then it has half the computer industry fooled. So I conducted some research, but didn’t turn up anything for a while, until I stumbled upon a quote from Leo Laporte on his radio show, from Sunday February 5, 2006, somewhere around the 34 minute mark.
There are, and this is a really shameful thing, but there are people who camp out on similar names. If you go to “safernetworking.org”, not “safer-networking.org” for instance, just slightly mistyped, it’ll look like Spybot but it’s really not, it’s spyware. So these spyware guys are just nasty, they’ll do every trick in the book including pose as an anti-spyware program.
I did a bit of further research into this, including checking the non-hyphenated domain name, and lo and behold, Leo is correct. It would appear that some spyware creators are “cashing in” on the popularity of Spybot Search & Destroy by registering a very similar (and probably more commonly thought of) domain name, and putting spyware on there which pretends to be spyware. This fake Spybot exhibits the behaviour that John B1_B5 pointed out.
I brought this to the attention of John this afternoon, and he said
It’s quite possible I downloaded the fake one
I can understand that, I could have done the same thing if I wasn’t familiar with the look of the real Spybot website or was slightly inattentive.
So, to summarise, Spybot Search & Destroy is a legitimate and safe anti-spyware application, which should be downloaded from http://safer-networking.org (the website with the dash!).