Spyware and Virus’s

A friend asked me to have a look at her mom’s PC due to several problems that where driving her up the wall. The following is the list I was given.
1. McAfee had run out and was asking for reregistration and fees etc.
Cure: Uninstall and replace with AVG — free edition
Why: AVG is free and as good as McAfee.
2. Windows Messenger pop ups from the internet.
Cure: Disable the service in Services
Why: Windows messenger service should be disabled. For some reason microsoft leave it enabled for normal users which is a bit silly in my book.
See Below for the cure.
3. Firewall.
Cure: Install the free edition of Zone Alarm
Why: Its free and a great product.
Some other things that I had a look for when I was fixing the PC.
Spyware:
To check for spyware download SpyBot and it should find the most common ones. I found the following.
IE DSO Exploit
Wild Tangent
Alexa Toolbar
Media Plex
and a whole lot of tracking cookies. I know a lot of this stuff can be harmless but I consider anything that sends information over the internet without the users express permission as spyware. Why AOL decided to use Wild Tangent I have no idea. Its spyware in my book.
The IE DSO Exploit may not actually be a problem due to a bug in SpyBot. I updated the windows installation that fixes the problem but SpyBot was still throwing a wobbly. A quick Google showed that this is a problem with SpyBot if windows is properly up to date.
Service Pack 2
I downloaded this and installed it which should take care of some problems and no doubt introduce a few others.
HOW TO DISABLE WINDOWS MESSENGER
Windows XP Home
Click Start->Settings ->Control Panel
Click Performance and Maintenance
Click Administrative Tools
Double click Services Scroll
down and highlight “Messenger”
Right-click the highlighted line and choose Properties.
Click the STOP button.
Select Disable or Manual in the Startup Type scroll bar
Click OK
Windows 2000
Click Start-> Settings-> Control Panel-> Administrative Tools->Services
Scroll down and highlight “Messenger”
Right-click the highlighted line and choose Properties.
Click the STOP button.
Select Disable or Manual in the Startup Type scroll bar
Click OK
Windows XP Professional
Click Start->Settings ->Control Panel
Click Administrative Tools
Click Services
Double click Services Scroll
down and highlight “Messenger”
Right-click the highlighted line and choose Properties.
Click the STOP button.
Select Disable or Manual in the Startup Type scroll bar
Click OK
Windows NT
Click Start ->Control Panel
Double Click Administrative Tools
Select Services-> Double-click on Messenger
In the Messenger Properties window, select Stop,
Then choose Disable as the Startup Type
Click OK
Windows 98 & ME
Windows Messenger Service cannot be disabled

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