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Tech Corner: Spyware

...So, you finally have the machines you want in place and then the inevitable happens. And don’t be surprised! It is not a matter of if, but when. Something goes wrong and you don’t know how to fix it. You cannot afford to call in the technicians and you need to resolve the issue as in yesterday. This new section will be a calling place for some of the answers.

Problem: Spyware is attacking your network and making your machines almost unusable. How can you fix it?

Solution: There are two vital steps here. 1. Getting rid of the existing spyware1 first and 2. Setting up your network with safeguards to prevent it from happening again.

Firstly then, use a program such as Spy Terminator, SpyBot or many others [most available free from the Internet if budgets are tight] and scan your system for spyware and malware. These little nasties are not viruses per se but they do act in a similar fashion and often with the same result. One thing to note here – you do not need them, the children certainly do not need them and the computer will be eternally grateful to you for ridding them completely. Depending on the amount of machines in your network, this can be a lengthy task, but to make sure you have cleaned the machines effectively, a scan of each machine individually is highly recommended.

The second step of course, is to make sure it does not happen again. And to enable this, you need to speak to your technicians or LEA about what they provide in the way of virus software. Products such as Sophos are not free but they do keep you sane. You weigh up the cost in this regard and make your own decision, but really, you must have some kind of safeguard in place or you will find that your network is constantly in need of repair. Do not think that you will not be affected because if you are connected to the Internet, it happens automatically. Claims of it happening within 30 minutes or less are not uncommon.

Additionally, it may be a good idea to look at your school policy on the use of removable data such as USB pens and floppy drives [yes, many people still use them] to make sure you are not inviting unwelcomed guests, in the form of viruses, on a daily basis from your teachers/students own homes.

  1. Spyware is computer software that collects personal information about users without their informed consent. The term, coined in 1995 but not widely used for another five years, is often used interchangeably with adware and malware (software designed to infiltrate and damage a computer).

1 Comment

  1. I suppose it’s not in the ‘budget’ to move over to Macs?
    yours, an optimist [not a sales person]

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