Student on computer

What is spyware?

Spyware is software that without your knowledge, can transmit personally identifiable information to other computers on the Internet, monitor your computer activities, and/or track what websites you visit. Typically spyware is bundled with other software you install from the Internet, but it also takes the form of tracking cookies that can be set when you visit a website.

Anti-Spyware Software

To remove spyware, the department recommends Ad-Aware, Microsoft Windows AntiSpyware (Beta), and Spybot Search and Destroy. To be truly effective the anti-spyware software must be updated and run on a regular basis. It is recommended to use at least two of the afore mentioned software programs on a weekly basis. Another technique to limit spyware is to avoid using the Internet Explorer web browser as many spyware programs exploit features and security holes in IE. Alternative browsers such as Mozilla Firefox and Opera may provide better protection against spyware. Another way to avoid spyware is not to download programs from suspicious sources.

Spybot Search and Destroy Instructions

Spybot Search and Destroy software can be downloaded in two forms: automated and user configurable. The automated version is set up so that after installing and rebooting the computer, the user doesn't have to worry about updating or running Spybot Search and Destroy. Each time the computer is turned on, Spybot Search and Destroy will update, run, and fix any discovered problems. Be advised that by choosing the automated version you will not have any control over the specific details of removing suspicious files and programs. However, you are able to view scan logs and recover removed Spyware by going to C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Spybot - Search & Destroy. While the configurable version requires the user to update and run the Spybot Search and Destroy software, the user has control over what problems that are discovered to be fixed. But remember if Spybot Search and Destroy is not updated regularly (recommended at least once a month), it will not be nearly as effective at removing spyware.

Automated Installation Instructions:

After you download the software, the setup is very simple and takes less then one minute. Double click the .exe and follow the instructions. When installation is complete, reboot your computer. Spybot Search and Destroy will then update, run and fix problems automatically every time you reboot your machine.

User Configurable Installation Instructions:

After you download the software, the setup is very simple: Double click the .exe file and follow the installation instructions.

After installation you can launch Spybot by clicking on the Spybot icon (located on the desktop) or by clicking start > All Programs > Spybot Search and Destroy > Spybot S&D. The first thing you need to do after installing the program is to update it immediately by clicking on the Update button located on the left side, then click on Search for update, choose all the options, then click download. Preferably you should check for updates at least once a month. The program will not be as effective at removing spyware if not kept up to date.

To scan your machine for spyware click on Search & Destroy located on the left side, then click check for problems located in the middle of the screen. It will take several minutes while your machine is being scanned for spyware.

When the scan finishes, a list of possible spyware will be displayed. Check the box next to those problems you wish to fix. Then click on fixed selected problems. The program will then attempt to remove the files you have selected. Normally you can safely remove all of the files. It is possible some useful files might be listed. If you are not sure, please contact the help desk before removing. Occasionally, a popup window will tell you some spyware can't be removed. The tool will then ask you if you would like to run it when you start up your machine next time. Normally you should click yes. The reason some of the files cannot be removed is they were loaded into memory and are being used by some application.

Click on the immunize button located on the left side to help block spyware in the future.

For additional information on using Spybot, you can visit the online tutorial.


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Summer 2014 Research Experience

The Department of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science hosted a Summer 2014 Research Experience (REU) for Undergraduates. This program provides undergraduates with an intensive, faculty-mentored, summer research experience in the areas of applied mathematics, high-performance computing, statistics, ubiquitous systems and mathematics education. Learn more