Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Scan your PC for spyware. NOW.

While I’ve heard about the spyware problem getting gradually worse over time, I was still suprised and somewhat shocked by the news that the average computer has 28 items of spyware on it (also at The Register). This weekend, I want everyone who reads this to do the following:

  1. Download Ad-Aware or Spybot Search & Destroy if you haven’t already.
  2. Update it with the latest detections.
  3. Do a full scan of all of your systems.
  4. Go to Windows Update and download and install all of the critical updates for your computer (although note that there may be issues with the latest patch under Windows 2000)
  5. Update your virus scanner and do a full scan. What do you mean you don’t have one?!? Get one! They’re free!
  6. Visit Microsoft’s Protect Your PC portal to find out any more information.


  1. Adaware even runs from USB keyring (just about), so you can take it with you and clean other people’s computers. Another good tool to keep on your usb keyring is McAffee’s Stinger – which searches for the most popular viruses.
    The average is so high because spyware never comes on it’s own. Install one spyware programe, and soon you’ll have loads.
    I am surprised you haven’t mentioned using Mozilla instead of Internet Explorer though. None of your nasty ActiveX.
    Oh, and this may sound like advertising, but I’ve had my website scanning people’s web browsers for spyware for a while now. Obviously it won’t detect much as it’s only using javascript, but go to a shared computer and try it out – you might be surprised.
    Now this is probably my RSS support being broken, but I couldn’t post this comment from within Thunderbird.

  2. Hmm… I don’t think Spybot runs on Linux… *grins*
    (sorry, that was a blatantly silly post from me, but you get my drift :D)

  3. Buy a Mac. NOW.

  4. As a graduate of Bradford (back in 1978 for goodness sake) I am pleased to say that I already have all of the above, though I don’t use spybot.
    I haven’t checked if I have 28 items of spyware yet though.
    I first saw this at the good old BBC this morning

  5. Hah, 4 years on and they are still releasing patches.
    It’s a ending cycle.

  6. I very much agree, neil – I’ve had a lot of problems with this secondhand computer, running on Windows ’98-SE here in Manchester, UK – I only have basic computer knowlege (although I should have more, being a Native of Dublin, Ireland, Post-“Celtic Tiger”!!) Can I ask you where can I get freeware versions of Norton Anti-Virus and also Norton System Works as I’ve heard that they can find and repair corrupt system files – if you can help, please e-mail me – Many Thanks, Michael