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Helpdesk Guide to Spyware

What is spyware and how do I get rid of it?

Another danger confronting anyone with a computer and an Internet connection is programming called Spyware and Adware. Spyware tracks your Internet usage, monitoring your every movement on the Internet, whereas Adware produces the never-ending stream of pop-up advertisements that cripple your Internet connection.

How not to get Spyware

Be careful what you download! Many "free" programs come with additional programs attached. Whenever possible, you should NOT load these programs. For example, the newest version of AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) allows you to select several programs to install along with the popular messaging service. While these programs may seem beneficial (Weatherbug, AIM Toolbar, etc.), they only serve to further choke your Internet connection. You should install AIM without these extras.

Don't believe pop-ups that proclaim they can scan your computer for spyware. These only invite spyware/adware programs INTO your computer. Resident Students can contact their RA for a CD that has two spyware/adware removal programs. If you want the latest versions of these programs, and still have an Internet connection, click the links for Ad-Aware and Spybot.

Keep your Operating System fully patched. Visit www.windowsupdate.com on a regular basis. If you have Windows XP, consider downloading Service Pack 2 which contains valuable security updates, as well as a free pop-up blocker.

Where can I get more information?

Please use the links to the left side of the page for more information about computing on campus.

How to know if you have spyware

Resident students: If you can no longer connect to the Internet in your room, your network jack may have been disabled to protect the rest of the campus network. You may be infected with a virus or spyware/adware.

If you experience pop-up after pop-up after pop-up, you are infected with spyware/adware.

If your system tray (that bunch of icons located next to the time...typically in the lower right-hand corner of your computer screen) is overloaded with indiscernible icons, you are most likely infected with spyware/adware.

If your network connection has slowed dramatically, you may be infected with spyware/adware.

How to get rid of spyware

These are the steps that we follow to clear your machine of spyware. Follow these steps exactly and you should notice a considerable difference in the number of pop-ups you receive.

Physically disconnect your PC from the campus network (pull the plug). Keeping your PC connected will only further contribute to the problem.

Go into the "Control Panel"- "Add/Remove Programs" and REMOVE any harmful programs.

Restart your computer. (Leave the network cable unplugged)

Obtain the software CD from your RA and load Ad-Aware and Spybot - Search and Destroy.

Install those programs, and run them...remove any instances of spyware/adware they find.

Upon completion of the scans, run a FULL virus scan. (Your RA has the CD of student-licensed version of McAfee Virus Scan)

After you have completed all of these steps, reconnect to the Internet. Run both Ad-Aware and Spybot scans again, checking to see if there are updates for both programs. This is an important step! There may be valuable updates which will remove more instances and spyware/adware.

Update your virus definitions (if you are running the current version of McAfee, right-click on the "V-shield" in the lower right-hand corner of your desktop and click "Update Now").

Proceed to www.windowsupdate.com and download ALL of the security updates for your computer. (Note: you must use Microsoft's Internet Explorer to obtain the updates). If you have completed these steps and you are still faced with a dizzying attack of pop-ups or you cannot connect to the Internet, contact our office at x-1726 and one of our technicians will assist you.

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