January 24, 2003
Firewall program running and anti-virus software setup. Computer is protected against outside intrusion and virus attacks. Protection complete. Maybe not! Your more susceptible than you realize, from the inside out.
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Page 1: Introduction to Final Word

<B>Introduction :</B>
Most of today's computer users known of the dangers of a virus, worm, etc. on their computer; but what about something just as insidious. Something that invades your computer like a virus, worm, etc.; but rather than destroy your information it seeks to steal information about your internet habits. I had know these as 'spyware' (or adware) programs, which watch for what type of sites you visit most, do you shop on-line and where, and what types of information/programs do you download.
This information is then transmited (using your internet connection) to a repository where other users information is put together to form a picture of internet habits/interests and then most likely sold. The buyers of this information may use it to send you junk e-mail (if your e-mail address is included in the information) or through reqular junk mail (if the spyware was able to steal your home address) or just mass mailings to a geographical area. It may also used to determine which banner or pop-up ads are working, so that they can stick more of this annoyance on your computer while browsing.

<B>What, Me Worry? :</B>
I had been using a program to scan my computer on an infrequent basis to clean out these 'spyware'. The program did a good job, but it required me to set it up to scan whenever I started my computer or manually initiate the program. This is ok, but what about when I actually go on-line and get hit with one of these spyware. I would not even know it. I needed something to run all the time, in the background.
In doing the research for such a program I found out something even more threatening. There is another class of threats that includes these spyware/adware (I also have a better understanding of these now) and adds trojans, hacker tools, cookies, RATs, etc. Known as 'Pests' these are more invasive and could lead to identity theft. I now found that I needed something much more powerful on my side. I found I needed <a href="">PestPatrol</a>.
If you are not convinced you need a PestPatrol program. Click on these links, <a href="">'Common Pests'</a> and <a href="">'About Cookies'</a>, for a surprise as to the number and nature of Pests and how Cookies can be used.<br /

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<B>What It Does :</B>
Once loaded a <a href="">PestPatrol</a> icon resides in SysTray. Right click on the icon and start MemCheck and CookiePatrol (you can also view a log of intercepted bad cookies under a CookiePatrol sub-heading). Then launch KeyPatrol to scan for keyboard click moitoring programs and check them Safe or Unsafe). Lastly launch PestPatrol and scan your hard drive(s) for Pests.


<B>Conclusion :</B>
You should now be protected and most of the current known Pests should be gone. What you should do is set the options for PestPatrol to run automatic updates and then occasionally check the settings. You will probably want to check the logs weekly to empty them or to send a message to the support forum for comment about findings.


I have not gone into the loading procedure for PestPatrol. It is very simple with few setup options (which you should answer 'yes') and entry of your name and e-mail address to register, but I will leave you with three more links that you should at least peruse.

1: <a href="">Glossary</a> - of terms for anyone wanting to be more aware of Pests.

2: <a href="">About Risk: What Should We Worry About?</a> - infomation about the risks of Pests.

3: <a href="">The Legal Risks of Computer Pests and Hacker Tools by Benjamin Wright, J.D., September 25, 2001</a> - relates some interesting legal cases.

<B>Final Word :</B>
In the two weeks since starting <a href="">PestPatrol</a> I have been 'beeped' on several occasions when visting web sites. I did a quick check of my cookie log and now know where I was getting some of the cookies I noted from my previous Pest scanner. They were immediately detected and deleted by PestPatrol. So now I do feel better about being safe from outside intrusions.


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