March 01, 2004

Nifty Online Spyware and Adware Encyclopedia

If spyware and adware has crept into your system, most people will usually download Ad-aware or Spybot Search & Destroy, scan their system, and let it remove the offending software.

Sometimes, though, such a removal might fail, or you might want to know more about what the malware was designed to do on your PC prior to removing it. After all, some free programs will fail to operate if the underlying spyware/adware is removed.

In the "Why didn't I think of that?" category, that's where the free Bazooka Spyware and Adware Encyclopedia comes in handy. It lists several hundred of the more popular "vermin" (as I like to call malware), along with specific details regarding its classification, function, installed files, vendor web site and privacy policy, uninstall procedure, and perhaps most importantly, the manual removal steps if all else fails. The latter is also useful if you just want to verify that your system is finally rid of all traces. It's reminiscent of some antivirus vendors' virus databases, but is specific to spyware and adware, which are not technically viruses.

The encyclopedia is not all that's available. The same site also offers the freeware Bazooka Adware and Spyware Scanner. I haven't tried it yet, but it sounds like it's a scanner only, i.e., that it will scan your system and alert you if it detects installed spyware and adware. I didn't see any information that it will actually remove the vermin for you. If I'm correct, that's where the online encyclopedia (and other malware removers such as Ad-aware and Spybot) should be used.

While I run a tight ship on my own PC to keep it meticulously malware-free, I've helped others by removing offending software -- usually piggybacked in downloaded program installers. As I mentioned, it's important to know which changes have been made to the system and what the malware does prior to removing it. What's nice about this site is that the information is all in one place for many common malware programs. And for that I give the Bazooka Spyware and Adware Encyclopedia a big thumbs up!

Topic(s):   Privacy & Security
Posted by Jeff Beard