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An Annex Research Editorial: Beware the Spyware

Spy Wars Readers' Forum

Readers' Comments...

PHOENIX, Sep 27Following the publication of our Spy Wars article on Sep 25, we began receiving comments from various readers about their experiences with spyware.  Since we thought you may find some of them helpful, we decided to publish excerpts from such feedback in a new Spy Wars Readers' Forum.  


Spying on Keystrokes

BELGRADE, Sep 26 - Been there, done that.

About two months ago, my computer started behaving funny. Now, I am not a
neophyte in data protection. I had installed several programs on my computer at a time: firewall, pop-up blocker, anti virus, 2 anti spyware software Pest Patrol and Ad-Aware, Registry Magic utility and Tune-Up utilities. All these were either memory resident or scheduled to run twice daily. All were set to check for updates automatically hourly. All this taxed my memory resources to an extent that I could no longer watch a full-screen movie without jitter, so I added another GB of RAM to my computer.

Nevertheless, I fell victim to a thing called Key Logger. Someone was logging my keystrokes trying to find out my username and password for various web sites (including online banking, credit cards etc.). My protection software was battling this pest, but it didn't know what exactly to do with it. This caused the computer to "act funny" which made me look into it more carefully.

What saved me was my disregard for basic security rules. I have so many web
sites with different usernames/passwords that I had them all bookmarked and all usernames/passwords were entered automatically. So I entered no keystrokes when I went to those sites.

To make long story short, I know how you felt. Except, unlike you, I had no
access to tech-support here in Belgrade, other than a community of users (which did help). 

The only real solution, one of the guys suggested, is a "manual firewall", i.e. you should have two computers. One, not connected to any other but connected to the Internet, which has no vital data of any kind, preferably a Linux machine. You surf, you retrieve, you transfer to a CD-R. Then you take that CD-R and move the files to your "real" computer (of course you first scan it with everything you've got).

B.A., Belgrade, Serbia & Montenegro
flag-srb.gif (7015 bytes)

Unwelcome Guests

PERTH, Sep 26 - Greetings from Oz.  Many thanks for the message and timely reminder re spyware.  Quite coincidentally, and before I read your message, we had friends over for dinner last night, and one of them has recently worked in an area which involves official surveillance and internet message tracking, etc, and we were talking at length about just how invasive some of this stuff can be.  So the coincidence of your message regarding unwelcome guests coming into one’s computer system was stark.

I, too, downloaded SP2 recently. With the exception of it changing my network settings so that I’ve now lost my wireless capability, I don’t seem to have had many problems.  Having said that, another friend, who is also my IT advisor, had asked me just a few days earlier whether I had downloaded SP2 yet, and commented on how for him it managed to turn a Pentium 4 machine into one that performed like a Pentium 1.

Your message was timely because whilst I had been using Ad-Aware for a couple of years now (recommended to me by the same IT friend), just a few weeks ago a virus managed to sneak in under my anti-virus system, and slowly gobbled up all of Windows, which meant that I had to do a full system repair and reinstallation, and in turn I forgot to reinstall Ad-Aware.  I had been in the habit of running it every couple of weeks or so, and it was amazing just how much stuff it identified.  Most of them just harmless cookies/trackers, but the occasional one which looked malicious. 

So, thanks for the reminder, which I’ve copied to various friends/colleagues.

P.C., Perth, Western Australia aus-flag.gif (2180 bytes)


SUSSEX, Sep 26 - Thanks very much for your support of www.D-A-L.com in your recent 'Spy Wars' article.  Owen does a truly fantastic job here and your recognition is appreciated.

D.J.N., Great Britain wpe6.jpg (1511 bytes) (D-A-L moderator)



Thanks to you, Bob - I sought out and destroyed 138 pieces of Spyware from my system!! ...and got back 3 functions that had been disrupted by their presence!! 


Woots, Canada

Keep your comments coming... We will consider them for future additions to the Spy Wars Readers' Forum.  

Click here, to return to the Spy Wars story.

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For additional Annex Research reports, check out... 

2004: Spy Wars (Sep 2004); Outsourcing Boomerang (Sep 2004); EDS to Cut Up to 20,000 More Jobs (Sep 2004); Capgemini Stock Plummets on Unexpected Loss (Sep 2004) HP Savaged by Wall Street (Aug 2004); Moody's Lowers the Boon on EDS (July 2004); HP: Delivering Value Horizontally (June 2004); Accenture: Revving Up a Notch (June 2004); Beware Your CFO! (May 2004)IBM: Changing of the Guard (May 2004); Capgemini: Texas-size Home Run (May 2004); Following the Money (May 2004);  EDS: On a Wink and a Prayer (Apr 2004); HPS Wins by a Nose! (Octathlon 2004); Accenture: Burning the Track (Mar 2004);  IGS: "Crown Jewel" Restored? (Mar 2004); HP: Still No Cigar (Feb 2004); Cap Gemini: Another, Smaller Loss (Feb 2004); CSC: Good Quarter Gets Boos (Feb 2004); EDS: "Hot Air Jordan" Flaunts Flop as Feat (Feb 2004); IT Industry: Whither Goeth It? (Jan 2004); Cronyism Is Alive and Well at EDS" (Jan 2004)

2003 IGS:  "IBM OnDemand: Different Strokes for Different Folks" (Dec 2003); "Investing in Growth" (Apr 2003)

2003 IBM: "IBM vs. HP: Spinning Global Server Market Shares" (Nov 2003);  "Finally Heard, Part II," (Nov 2003), “Small Is Now Big at Big Blue” (Oct 16),  “On the Nose But No Cigar” (July 16), “A Paler Shade of Blue” (June 2), “Save, Spend and Split” (May 8), “Shrunk by the Marketplace” (Apr 17), “Turnaround Continues...” (Apr 15), "Finally Heard!" (Jan 29), “Start of a Real Turnaround?” (Jan 17).

2002 IGS: "Half or Double Trouble?" (Aug. 12, 2002), "IBM to Take $500M Charge" (Sep 3, 2002), IBM-PwCC Update (Oct 2, 2002), Analysis of IBM Second Quarter Results (July 17, 2002), IBM Layoffs Confirmed! (Aug 14, 2002), Analysis of IBM Third Quarter Results (Oct 16, 2002), Boom Amid Gloom and Doom (Oct 10, 2002)

2002 IBM: “Gerstner: The Untold Story”  (Dec 27), "Gerstner Spills the Beans" (Dec 13), "On a Wing and a Prayer" (Oct 21), "IBM-PwC Tie the Knot" (Oct 2), Big Blue Salami (June 19), "Looming IBM Layoffs" (May 14), "IBM 5-Yr Forecast: From Here to Eternity?" (Apr 2002),  “Tough Times, Soft Deals,” (Apr 25, 2002), “Gerstner’s Legacy: Good Manager, Poor Entrepreneur” (Jan 2002), IBM Pension Plan Vapors: Where Did $17 Billion Go? (Mar 2002), "Sir Lou OutLayed Lay!" (Apr 1, 2002).

A selection from prior years: Is IBM Cheating on Taxes, Annex Bulletin 99-17 (May 1999),  IBM 5-year Forecast 2001: An Unenviable Legacy (June 2001) "Break Up IBM!" (Mar. 1996), Fortune on IBM (June 15, 2000), “Smoke and Mirrors Galore,” July 2000), "Slam Dunk of Bunk" (Jan 2000), Annex Bulletin 98-14 ("Wag the Big Blue Dog"), Armonk's Fudge Factory (Apr. 9, 1999)Where Armonk Meets Wall Street, Greed Breeds Incest (November 1998)Stock Buybacks Questioned: Is IBM Mortgaging Its Future Again?, 97-18 (4/29/97),  "Some Insiders Cashed In On IBM Stock's Rise, Buybacks" 97-22, 7/27/97,  Djurdjevic’s Forbes column, "Is Big Blue Back?," 6/10/97;  “Executive Suite: How Sweet!,” (July 1997), "Gerstner: Best Years Are Behind", Aug. 10, 1999), "IBM's Best Years Are 3-4 Decades Behind Us" (July 1999), "Lou's Lair vs. Bill's Loft" (June 1999),  "Corporate Cabbage Patch Dolls," 98-39, 10/31/98; Djurdjevic’s Chronicles magazine October 1998 column, "Wall Street Boom; Main Street Doom", “Louis XIX of Armonk,” (Aug. 1996), "Mountain Shook, Mouse Was Born" (Mar. 25, 1994), “A Nice Guy Who Lost His Compass” (Jan 26, 1993), “Akers: The Last Emperor?” June 1991), Industry Stratification Trend (Mar. 30, 1990) etc.]

Or just click on and use appropriate  keywords.

Volume XX, Annex Bulletin 2004-20 - Readers' Forum
September 27, 2004

Bob Djurdjevic, Editor
(c) Copyright 2004 by Annex Research, Inc. All rights reserved.
e-mail: annex@djurdjevic.com

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