Ad-Aware and Spyware Doctor

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I have been in the habit of running Ad-Aware from time to time.  When I
ran it today, it invited me to install a free upgrade.  This turned out
to be a product called "Spyware Doctor".  I installed and ran SpyWare
Doctor, and it warned me of dozens of serious threats to my system; and
then said I would have to pay money to get them removed.

Right, so Spyware Doctor is a scam.  At the very least, it is not "free"
as it claimed;  and no way am I paying money to, and trusting, people
who lie about their product.  I believe I have successfully got rid of
all traces of it now.

I tried to find out more on the web.  Of course there are sites vouching
for "Spyware Doctor", but then there would be.  What was more puzzling
was sites stating that Ad-Aware and "Spyware Doctor" are rival products.
If this is true, why would Ad-Aware encourage me to install it in place
of their own free product?  Could my installation of Ad-Aware been
corrupted somehow?  It still appears to work (if I ignore its "free
upgrade" offer), and finds only a few harmless cookies.

Nick
--
Nick Wedd    nick@maproom.co.uk

Re: Ad-Aware and Spyware Doctor

Nick Wedd wrote:
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Hello Nick:

The real Ad-Aware (from Lavasoft) has lost many of its former
followers.  IMO you should uninstall it and Spyware Doctor in favor of
two antispyware products we have great faith in.

    MBAM:  <http://www.malwarebytes.org/
     SAS:  <http://superantispyware.com/

Both have freeware versions.  Their paid versions add some features
and utility while still keeping their same basic engines.  I recommend
you start with the free downloads and upgrade to the paid versions
when you wish.

HTH

Pete
--
1PW  @?6A62?FEH9:DE=6o2@=]4@> [r4o7t]

Re: Ad-Aware and Spyware Doctor


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I concur. Plus Ccleaner definitely and Registrar Registry Manager if
required as per my previous post.
--
Dave Baker



Re: Ad-Aware and Spyware Doctor

I'm still a bit puzzled though. I now understand there is some controversy
about the spyware cleaners but I would also like to know if an anti-virus
cleaner is a different thing and what users recommend.

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Re: Ad-Aware and Spyware Doctor

A virus scanner is an entirely different thing. A basic necessity, but
usually offered with excessive fluff.

What is good for you would depend on the value of your data and the way
you use your system.

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Re: Ad-Aware and Spyware Doctor


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You started a thread "Spybot Search & Destroy".
As you will have read an anti-virus program is different from an
anti-spyware and/or anti-adware program.

Reread the message of Kayman in your thread.
It shows the different kinds of software for different purposes.

Use Avira for anti-virus.
Use Windows Defender for real-time anti-spyware.
Use MBAM and SAS for additional scanning for anti-spyware.

(and you can use CCleaner to clean temporary files and cookies,
but that is of minor importance.)

--
Fred W. (NL)

Re: Ad-Aware and Spyware Doctor

MoiInAust wrote:

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Yes, you are puzzled.  Do NOT hijack someone else's thread.  Start your
own!

Re: Ad-Aware and Spyware Doctor


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I'm even more puzzled now! Why the hostility? I thought usenet was for
exchange of views. My question was a reasonable one. Another poster answered
it well, helpfully and courteously -- unlike you...



Re: Ad-Aware and Spyware Doctor

MoiInAust wrote:

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You are starting bad habits.  Do not HIJACK someone else's thread.

Re: Ad-Aware and Spyware Doctor

MoiInAust wrote:
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Though your question is valid, your post is considered by many to be
inappropriate when made within the original poster's thread.  In
particular, when the OP hasn't said that their problem is resolved.

The most polite way would be to begin your own thread in this
newsgroup, else Ned will feel that someone has stolen his thread and
discontinue his participation.  Then, his problem might not get fixed,
we don't learn, and a solution wouldn't be available as an archive.

This is very frustrating to the OP, to which we owe a sincere apology.

If you begin a new thread of your own, I guarantee a friendly response
from me.

Warm regards,

Pete
--
1PW  @?6A62?FEH9:DE=6o2@=]4@> [r4o7t]

Re: Ad-Aware and Spyware Doctor


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Thanks for that patient reply!  I did start a thread of my own but must have
got confused later...



Re: Ad-Aware and Spyware Doctor

MoiInAust wrote:

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...and by all means if you need to, start another thread.  If you need
answers, you should have them.  Welcome!

Warm regards,

Pete
--
1PW  @?6A62?FEH9:DE=6o2@=]4@> [r4o7t]

Re: Ad-Aware and Spyware Doctor


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Free SPYBOT S&D is a very excellent tool. Give it a shot.
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Re: Ad-Aware and Spyware Doctor

Nick Wedd wrote:

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So you have malware that triggers when one of several security product
on which it detects is found installed.  Off you went to who knows
where (because you certainly didn't say so here).  Or you are ignorant
as to what program actually displayed that advertisement.  Lavasoft does
not promote products from a competitor, like PC Tools.

You might want to get SysInternals' Process Explorer.  You can use its
"scope target" toolbar icon to click on a window to find out just which
process opened that window.  Click and drag the target icon to the
window and release.  Process Explorer will highlight the process that
owns that window (although the black on gray highlighting is a bit dull
to see that PE selected that process).  Winspector Spy is another useful
tool to find out how owns a window but is harder to use.

A few weeks ago my aunt installed a new version of Internet Explorer but
from some popup that appeared on her screen.  She, of course, thought it
was IE saying there was an update of itself.  Nope.  Malware.  Just
because she happened to be running IE at the time is why she thought
that, gee, it must've been a prompt from IE.

I have gotten untitled prompts (or the title didn't clearly identify
from which program it was opened).  I don't just go clicking on a button
in a popup dialog because it might be from whatever program I happened
to see a UI for it on the screen or for programs that I know are running
in the background.  If a program displays a popup alert window, it
should clearly identify itself in its titlebar.  Because of these
unclearly identified popups, I had to use something to tell me who owned
that window.  I then notified the developer to fix their product but in
the meantime I had something to tell me who opened that window.

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And still you remain vague.  Oh yeah, "threats", like that tells anyone
just WHAT type of threats were reported.  Might they have been cookies
(which are just .txt files)?  Any tool that reports cookies or doesn't
let you disable including them in their report is just salting the
results to make their product look like it is doing /something/.

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Yep.  Read the notice (copied below) that is emblazoned right on the
product's own web page.

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Wrong.  See http://www.pctools.com /.  However, I personally don't care
for PC Tools' products.

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Wrong again.  WHO said it was free?  You get a *trial* version of
Spyware Doctor (assuming you actually got it from PC Tools and not some
rogueware from another site, especially considering how you claim it
was presented to you as some offer from Lavasoft who is a competitor of
PC Tools).  On the product's own web page at
http://www.pctools.com/spyware-doctor/ it says:

"Trial Limitations: The trial offers time unlimited real-time
protection (free spyware blocking), but does not remove threats
detected during on-demand scans, updates may also differ to those
supplied to registered users."

Well, that means if you want their product to clean out the pests that
you have to PAY them for that commercialware feature.  Same with all
those so-called "free" online malware scan sites.  They install an
ActiveX control that runs as a local client on your host (which
interrogates the files) to download the signatures.  You end up with an
AX control that you might not want around after the "free" scan.  Their
free scan is just that: a scan.  They don't fix anything.  All you have
is their tiny AX client, not their full program.  If you want to fix the
pests found by the scan-only client, you buy their product.  This really
isn't anything new.  Been going on for many YEARS.

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You can download anything by any name from lots of sites.  You really
think a *name* is going to ensure you got the real product?

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Wrong again.  They didn't.  You have malware that popped up the message
and likely led you off to a rogueware site, or you have another PC Tools
product installed that popped up the ad, or you opened something
inadvertently, or who knows.  It wasn't Lavasoft advertising a
competitor's product.  Since you never identified the actual site from
where you got the download, no one here know what you really got.

Re: Ad-Aware and Spyware Doctor

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Hi Nick Wedd and Vanguard LH.  First, I agree with Vanguard LH, I find
PCT distasteful having been shafted by some of their contracts which
extend until the Second Comming of Christ.  However, FYI, Spyware
Doctor comes in a free edition with only a few features of the paid
version removed or disabled.  Many consider it virtuous, to wit:
Free Spyware Doctor Starter Edition for Google PackIn association with
Google=99 you can now download a FREE copy of Spyware Doctor Starter
Edition as part of the Google Pack. ...
www.pctools.com/spyware-doctor/google_pack/ - 44k - Cached - Similar
pages -
You have to decide, this is freeware, it comes from a distasteful
company, and it is contingent to Google!
G.


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Re: Ad-Aware and Spyware Doctor

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Here is the URL I was taken to.  I suggest that you DO NOT use this
unless you know what you're doing.  In fact, I'll make it hard for
casual readers by inserting some linebreaks.
http://download.cnet.com/Ad-Aware-Anni
versary-Edition/3000-8022_4-10045910.h
tml?part=dl-ad-aware&subj=dl&tag=top5

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It warned me of lots of cookies, and said they were harmless;  a number
of things it said were probably harmless;  and two it said were serious
threats.  Sorry I can't remember more;  I wish I'd taken a screenshot of
its report.

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The window that appeared when I launched Ad-Aware said "FREE Update to
Ad-Aware".  I realise that Ad-Aware may not have been responsible for
that window.  But the word "FREE" seems clear enough.  And if the update
does not actually remove what it regards as threats, it's not an update
to Ad-Aware, which does.

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Points taken.

I hope someone more competent than me will look into
http://download.cnet.com /.  I am going to keep well away from it.

Nick
--
Nick Wedd    nick@maproom.co.uk

Re: Ad-Aware and Spyware Doctor

Nick Wedd wrote:

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That appears to be a sanctioned download site and file from Lavasoft.  I
went to http://www.lavasoft.com/products/ad_aware_free.php and clicked
on the "More Download Sites" link (since I was not interested in their
TrialPay offer).  They show download.com as a sanctioned download site.
When I click on it, I am taken to web page you gave above.  So it looks
like you got a legit copy of Ad-Aware Free.  

One of the stupidities of download.com is that you can link to the
download page for the file but they offer no link back to the "home"
page describing the product.  The home page for the download is at:

http://download.cnet.com/Ad-Aware-Anniversary-Edition/3000-8022_4-10045910.html?tag=mncol

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Cookies are just text file.  Code can't run from there (unless something
else loads it but then that something else is the pest that needs to be
detected to find it).  

The PUPs (Probably Unwanted Programs), or whatever they like to call
them, are typically hacker-type programs that you have installed.  For
years, anti-malware products have continued alerting on Nirsoft's
utilities, especially their password viewer, despite the user must
install them and they aren't of any value except to the user that starts
those programs.

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But you ended up installing PC Tools' Spyware Doctor, not something for
Lavasoft's Ad-Aware.  The free version of Spyware Doctor won't remove
any pests that it detects hence it is lureware (or probably better
termed as baitware) and another reason why I don't care for products
from PC Tools.

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As mentioned above, PC Tools points at download.com as a mirror server
to obtain their free version of their Spyware Doctor product.  So it
still comes down to what actually displayed that popup that you followed
(and why I mentioned using Process Explorer to find out who owns a
window).

Re: Ad-Aware and Spyware Doctor

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I have now installed Process Explorer.

When I launch Ad-Aware, it produces a pop-up window, on which the
largest text reads "FREE Update to Ad-Aware".  According to PE, the
associated executable is FreeUpdate.exe, which belongs Ad-Aware.exe.

If I then click on "Download now" in that pop-up window, it runs
Internet Explorer, which takes me to the page
http://download.cnet.com/Ad-Aware-Anniversary-Edition/3000-802
2_4-10045910.html?part=dl-ad-aware&subj=dl&tag=top5.  On that page, If I
click on "Start Download", it does not start a download, it takes me to
the page http://www.zoombli.com/PrimaryLanding/Sammsoft/ARO/v52/Defa
ult.aspx?Referrer=uc-C19whitegloveRVSec511-aro&utm_source=DownloadDo
tCom&utm_medium=Banner&utm_term=728x90whiteglove&utm_content=Securit
yLB&utm_campaign=AdvancedRegistryOptimizer.  This seems to be different
from yesterday, it is now (or claims to be) a download page for
"Advanced Registry Optimizer 5".

Anyway, I have stopped trusting Ad-Aware, and will not be using it
again.  MBAM and SAS, recommended by Pete, both appear to work and do
not make me mistrustful.

Nick
--
Nick Wedd    nick@maproom.co.uk

Re: Ad-Aware and Spyware Doctor


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Get used to the fact that when you try to go to a download page there
will probably be a big "download" button bearing advertisement for some
other product than what you were trying to download. It is just yet
another way advertisers manage to dupe users.



Re: Ad-Aware and Spyware Doctor

Nick Wedd wrote:

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I don't use Ad-Aware.  Maybe someone who does can reply as to whether or
not freeupdate.exe is actually included in an install of a legitimate
copy of Ad-Aware (free version).

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You are clicking on the WRONG LINK.  You are clicking on an
*advertisement* for some other product.  CNet's download link is the big
green box with the upside-down carat over an upturned semicircle.  Click
on THAT.  In the next web page (for the download), again do NOT click on
advertisement links.  If the download does not start automatically
(either by showing you a download dialog or the yellow infobar) then use
the link provided in the following line:

Your download will begin in a moment. If it doesn't, /click here/ to try
again.

Read the web page more CAREFULLY from now on.  You want to download the
product described, not something in an advertisement.

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