Thursday, May 14, 2009

"Spy Sweeper" identifies many "spy cookies" not flagged by McAfee (at least for me)


Antivirus programs don't necessarily identify all spyware unless you ask them to, or buy the protection specifically. My current McAfee Security Center does say that it offers a scan for spyware as well as viruses, worms and trojans.

Yesterday (May 13) as part of a further effort to investigate a slow machine, I installed Spy Sweeper. I installed only the anti spyware portion, not the anti-virus, since I have McAfee. Best Buy has been selling some computers with SpySweeper as the anti-virus instead of McAfee or Norton.

I downloaded a free trial element, which made me Restart, which is so slow now. I had to try Firefox twice to get it to start, as Webroot attached itself to Firefox (along with an Ask.com search box). It also shows up on Internet Explorer but not Google Chrome.

I ran the quick scan, which took almost an hour, and it showed 46 “spy cookies”. Here is a Q&A on Yahoo! on “What is a spy cookie?” These 46 cookies had not been identified by McAfee, and some seemed familiar

Then it made me subscribe to quarantine the cookies. It made me download a “Reg” element, but it did not make me restart again. As with Regcure, I had to start the scan over, which I stopped after finding the 46 cookies, and then I was able to run the quarantine. I don’t think it ever made me enter the product key that it assigned me.

It does not seem to interfere with McAfee, and removing the cookies did not interfere with any major sites.

Picture: some financial advice from a DC Metro car

Update: May 15

Some of the cookies are well known and as far as I know legitimate: DoubleClick, Atlas, Casalmedia, zedo, etc. Spysweeper lets you deselect cookies that you know to be OK.

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