has been a topic of much interest recently. So has Adware
. If you'd like to get a better understanding of these things, read my articles "What Is Spyware?"
and "What Is Adware?"
And to help you along, this week I'm doing a Dr. File Finder's Picks Roundup!
of Spyware-Related programs. I hope you'll find it interesting. So, if you're all set, just sit back, relax, kick your shoes off, and lets take a look.
GhostSurf Platinum 2005, by Tenebril, Inc.
is a really powerful suite of programs that work together to make your Internet experience better. And safer. I use this myself and have it on all my computers. The "Privacy Control Center" lets you surf the Internet anonymously. Your interaction with the Internet goes through
GhostSurf and it removes any personal information. You can even encrypt your connection to the Internet and the program uses Department of Defense standards for removing all traces of you and your activity on the Internet. There are actually two versions of the program - both versions have the Privacy Control Center, but the Platinum version also has the ability to stop ads, popups, eliminate spyware, and lots more. It even provides you with a place to keep your important information safe. Really a total
package.For surfing the Internet GhostSurf 2005 Platinum
lets you decide just how private you want your surfing experience to be. You can adjust your privacy as you go along. The program lets you mask your IP address, hide your personal information, and essentially block all
information that you normally dump out onto the Internet. Slick! It even lets you do anonymous Internet Relay Chat (IRC) and instant messaging. And the program works with all Web browsers - I tested it with Internet Explorer, Netscape, Opera, and NetCaptor. And there's real power under the hood. Heck, you can even lookup the data on every site you visit - like contact information, registrant, and so on. And the program is flexible and gives you lots of options. For example, there are some sites you may visit that need
personal information like credit card accounts or on-line banking. In those cases you can exclude such sites so your information is available. What I've talked about so far is available in both versions, but what I'll tell you about from here on out is only available in GhostSurf 2005 Platinum!
The SpyCatcher module give you access to the companies database of spyware programs. And better yet, you get free updates. Launch this portion and it scans many areas of your computer, including the Registry and files and folders, and seeks out spyware. When it's done you can disable each piece of spyware and
the program won't let those programs on your computer again. So, in a sense, you remove something once and it stays removed. And another really cool feature of this portion is the "Protector" that you can set-up to constantly monitor your computer so when spyware appears, you know! Very cool! Another really neat feature of GhostSurf 2005 Platinum
is the Personal Data Vault. The program creates an area on your computer that's safe and encrypted with a password. Then, say you have some confidential documents you don't want others to see? Just drop them in your vault and they're encrypted. You can put in files, folders, graphics, even passwords. And the program also makes it easy to backup this special data in your vault. Backup to floppy disks, ZIP disks, hard disk, network drives, or even CD or DVD. I even backed up my vault to my USB "keychain" drive. Pretty slick. Oh, and when you move a file into your vault the original is deleted and not just deleted but it's deleted to DOD standards so it can't be recovered. The AdArmor segment of GhostSurf 2005 Platinum
lets you eliminate all kinds of ads from your surfing experience. That includes things like paid ads on search engines, pop-up ads, even stuff like flashing text that you see on Web pages. And the program comes with a list of known advertisers and that list is automatically updated. And, just as with surfing anonymously, you can designate special sites where you may want, or need pop-up windows to appear. And lastly, there is the TracksCleaner portion of the program. This segment removes every kind of "track" you can think of, from the Internet sites you've visited to the documents you've opened. I like the fact that you
decide IF you want to wipe something and exactly what is wiped. You can customize what is erased, determine things that are protected from accidentally being removed, and lots more. And, if all this weren't enough, the program also gives you different levels of wiping power, from a quick wipe to a D.O.D. 13 pass wipe. Impressive. GhostSurf 2005 Platinum
is a powerful, full-featured program that is designed from the ground up to protect you in a variety of ways. From giving you a safe area to store confidential information to letting you surf the Internet and not reveal any personal information, the program is a real powerhouse. I like the fact that in all of its modules it has so many
configurable options. The program works the way you want it work. It deletes what you want, blocks what you want, erases what you want, and much more. It removes spyware and stops it from coming back while at the same time blocking annoying advertising. It does it all and in one, neat package. Why buy four or five products when you can just buy one? I've been using GhostSurf 2005 Platinum
for months and I'm impressed. So, I'm not only making it a Pick, but also a Dr. File Finder Favorite
, and those are few and far between. If you're concerned about security and if you'd like to have more control over time and your entire Internet experience, this
is a program you need to try. I recommend it highly for users with all levels of experience.
Spyware Doctor, by PC Tools Pty. Ltd.
is a first-rate program for seeking out malicious programs like trojans, spybots, adware, keyloggers, and other things that track
what you do on your personal computer. There was a time when surfing the 'net was safe and easy. But all of us who are on the Internet make up a huge
audience for people who want to sell us things. And some of them decide to track where we go, what we type, and in some cases steal an identity. It can have an impact on your on-line banking activities, cause your computer to slow down, increase the amount and type of SPAM that you get, and lots more. Spyware Doctor can scan your entire computer and surgically remove all types of "spyware." I was really impressed by how fast
this program completed its scan of my hard drives. I'd have to say that it was much quicker than many similar programs I've tested. The program also provides a number of ways in which to work.
Spyware Doctor has a feature called "OnGuard Protection" that sits in memory, and puts an icon in your system "tray" that notifies you if you pick up something suspicious. It also has a nice feature called "Immunizer" that immediately identifies well-known spyware products. The program has an intuitive user interface and is relatively easy-to-use. The one things I noticed, however, is that unlike a number of similar products, Spyware Doctor doesn't give you a lot of information about the things it says are "spyware". For this reason I think I'd be prone to recommend it to user who have a bit more experience. Other products provide much more information and I think this is particularly useful to newer, less experienced users. Same reason I wouldn't recommend a powerful registry editor to a new user.
Spyware Doctor, by PC Tools, is one impressive package for seeking and destroying that wide range of stuff that is collectively called "spyware." In comparing it to several other popular products it did very well and was quite a bit faster than any of the others. With identity theft on the increase, and more and more stuff floating around on the Internet, it's foolish not to have software that can detect and remove it. Same reason it's foolish not to buy car insurance. So, if you're spending time on the Web, I suggest you take a good look at Spyware Doctor. It has an impressive array of features, a nice design, and it's blazing fast. Give it try!
Webroot Spy Sweeper, by Webroot Software, Inc.
is a powerful program for finding and eliminating "spyware" from your computer. This latest version of Spy Sweeper is 30% faster than earlier versions, and that's a plus. The program scans your system and looks for a wide variety of spyware, adware, keyloggers, and more. And, not only does it remove what it finds, but it provides ongoing protection against future infections. That way you can snag spyware as it appears and before
it can do any damage. Webroot Spy Sweeper
also helps stop those pesky changes to your browser while also protecting your personal information.
I found Webroot Spy Sweeper to have an intuitive interface and it's extremely easy-to-use. That makes it perfect for both new and experienced users. The program also utilizes a database that is constantly updated so you always have the ultimate in protection. The program gives you the option to have scans of your computer happen automatically, or you can do them yourself. Webroot Spy Sweeper, by Webroot Software, Inc., is a powerful program that packs a lot of power under the hood. It's an all around package that will protect you and your family from "spyware." So, if you're looking for a solution to spyware, adware, and other threats, take a good look at Spy Sweeper - I think you'll like it.
Spybot Search and Destroy, by ActionWeb, Inc.
is another powerful program for finding and removing "spyware." This one is fairly popular and it's also FREE!
Install it, run it, and it finds any spyware and/or adware that's on your machine. Like the other products it finds and removes the full range of spyware including trojans, keyloggers, adware, dialers, and more. It utilizes an extensive database that's kept up-to-date on a regular basis. And it doesn't just erase the bad things it finds, it shreds
them. Now that's an attitude. Spybot Search and Destroy
also has some nice interface features like the ability to use "skins". That means you can give the program the "look" that suits you. The program itself is updated regularly and had an update function, which is slick. The company has a free support forum where users can talk about spyware and the like. The program is easy-to-use and has an intuitive interface and that means it's perfect for users with all levels of experience. This is another one that you might want to try. Check it out!
Ashampoo Office 2005 is a powerful word process and spreadsheet that offers full compatibility with Word and Excel. And this product is priced to sell! Right now you can get it for only $39.95 and that's a steal. Both programs have an intuitive interface. The TextMaker word processing program reads Word documents without batting an eye and the program is very easy-to-use. Same goes for the spreadsheet, PlanMaker. I've edited numerous documents (.DOC) and spreadsheets (.XLS) and it's fast, easy, and totally seamless. Check it out -- I'll be reviewing it soon!
WinDates is a really powerful calendar program that's been around for awhile now. It's perfect for both home and business use and great for helping you to keep track of all kinds of things. It has lots of configurable options, it's easy-to-use, and it lets you be flexible. It has the little extras that make a program like this really handy, like all of the US holidays. It's a neat program for being sure NOT to miss important dates like anniversaries, birthdays and the like. So, download it and check it out. I'll get to my full review of the program as soon as possible.
Comments PRN - I've been asked why I say what programs I personally use and I've decided to comment on that here. To begin with, since 1983, I've made it my policy to only review good software. I don't see the point in telling you about software that stinks. I don't review software that doesn't do a good job at what it's supposed to do. I try to make your life easier by telling you about the really interesting pieces of software I've tested out. I've looked at around 215,000 pieces of software at this point and that gives me a unique perspective. People ask me what I use so I will often divulge that information in a review. Another thing I always say is that "Software is always a matter of personal taste." What I like, you may not, and vice versa. I'm at my computer 12 to 14 hours a day and I know what works for me. I know what I like. Just remember that when I review 5 programs and happen to say that I use such-and-such, I'm not 'selling' that product. I'm simply stating what I use on my computer and you can take that for what it's worth to you. Every program I review is good and NO company can pay me to review their product - EVER! I review what I want to review and I review programs that I think will be of interest to you. I "tell it like it is" from my perspective. I love looking at software -- can you tell? And if a software author would like me to look at their product they can send me an email by clicking HERE!
I can't guarantee that'll I'll write about it, but I can promise that I'll evaluate it.
That brings us to a close for this week. I hope you enjoyed this Dr. File Finder's Picks Roundup!
of Spyware-Related products. Check them out and find out which one appeals to you. Please remember that spyware
detected by your antivirus software so you do need to get something to specifically search for it. Also remember that with a little care and caution, the Internet is a wonderful place to be. A source of software, reviews, information, news, and so much more. Take care of your computer and it will serve you well as you surf the World Wide Web. I'll be back next week with more Picks to tell you about. And I hope you'll join me and tell your friends to come by as well. Until then, have a wonderful week, a great weekend, and happy downloading.