AntiOnline Spotlight: Spyware Protection for Networks

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AntiOnline: Maximum Security for a Connected World

Spyware is certainly the topic du jour in IT circles, and most recently, at Capitol Hill. As its very name implies, spyware surreptitiously gathers information on your online activities and relays it to another party. The privacy implications alone are enough to give any Web user pause.

For some time, folks have relied on free versions of Lavasoft's Ad-aware and/or PepiMK Software's Spybot - Search and Destroy to help rid their PCs of the busybody software components. Good protection for home PCs indeed, but what about the enterprise?

Short of imposing stringent and potentially cumbersome security policies, there's little IT departments can do to keep spyware from creeping onto the machines of workers that require unfettered access to the Internet. And as easy as it may be to blame end-users, the truth is that workers often pick up bugs through no fault of their own (drive-by downloads for starters).

So what is a security administrator to do? Are there centrally managed suites that provide protection?

This week, AO members discuss how spyware is adding an unwelcome wrinkle to their security practices and the tools that they rely on to keep it at bay.

Note: The opinions expressed below are solely those of the individual posters on the AntiOnline forums.

This week's spotlight thread:
Any Recommendations for a Spyware/Adware Killer/Stopper?

fraggin issues this call for help:

We have given Pest Patrol a trial run and no one is satisfied with it. Would there be any others that you guys could recommend for a LAN with 250+ PCs and 50 servers?
Vorlin recommends Ad-aware Pro...
I've been with Ad-Aware for over three years now and have been very satisfied with it. Ad-Aware 6.181 (latest) "Pro" has an auto-update feature so you're never behind-the-times with the reference files.

It's fast, efficient, doesn't take much overhead, has multiple levels of scanning (light, deep, etc), lots of options for advanced users and comes packaged with Ad-Watch, which is a real-time running program that will either question anything/everything that's installed into the registry OR it has an auto-block feature that just outright denies everything going into the registry, a feature that's handy to have but a pain if you're installing something like Norton and everything has to be registered.

I've heard good things about Spybot too, but I stick with Ad-Aware. It's never let me down.

...Unfortunately, it's not quite up to the job.
OK. I've downloaded a copy of the full pro version of Ad-aware and presented to the Director and the CIO, but they were not happy with it because we need something that is centrally managed and something that requires no user interaction, preferably an app that runs in the background.

Is this wishful thinking? Is there an appliance that I could put between the firewall and the router that would stop adware/malware/etc. in its tracks?

bumperspoon tells us that one good old standby provides some of the protection we're looking for.
As of yet no spyware scanner approaches adequate in real-time removal. The best you can hope for is after the fact detection and removal. NAV 2004 (Norton Antivirus) is a virus scanner that also detects some adware/spyware/malware. It is NOT comprehensive but it is real-time
Where do you turn to keep your network free of spyware? Share your tips, tricks and helpful links here.

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AntiOnline (AO) is home to many of the most popular network security discussion forums online. Here, participants engage in candid, thought-provoking and enlightening exchanges on the latest hazards and how to protect your systems against them.

We invite you to join the AO community (it's free!), share your wisdom and learn a few things in the process.

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