Anti-spyware


How anti-spyware works

The techniques that anti-spyware software uses to find and remove spyware are many and varied, but they are generally similar to the systems used to detect and remove viruses.

Some methods of detecting spyware fingerprints include:

  • Hard disk scans. The anti-spyware software checks all the files on the PC's hard disk against a database of known spyware packages. The best solutions use a mathematical process called a checksum or hash algorithm to ensure that the files on the hard disk are exactly the same as those noted in the database. The worst anti-spyware uses file and directory names as a detection method, which is a very good way to get false positives and miss spyware that changes names.
  • Registry scans. The software looks for modifications made by spyware to Windows configuration files.
  • Memory scans. The anti-spyware checks currently running processes for any that match known spyware.
  • URL monitoring. The software keeps track of visited Web sites and monitors cookies and executed ActiveX controls, and compares the sites and controls to its internal database of known spyware networks.

If there's a match, the package will be noted and the user given the option to remove the offending software when the scan is completed. If the user chooses to do so, the files, directories and Windows Registry keys will be removed.

Anti-spyware comparison databases need to be updated regularly as new spyware software comes online -- much like antivirus packages have to periodically download new virus definitions. For this reason, paid anti-spyware packages often work on a subscription basis. A subscription to the service gives you the right to update the spyware database when you need to.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

PC World Staff

PC World
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?