Do I Need to Run Anti-Spyware at "RealTime"?

Discussion in 'Computer Security' started by Jay Chan, Oct 22, 2004.

  1. Jay Chan

    Jay Chan Guest

    I would like to know if I need to run anti-spyware program at realtime
    all the time, or only use it to scan the system once a day.

    The reason is that I have two problems in using the anti-spyware
    program that I have installed in my XP PC:

    - The "Spy Sweeper" is making recurring hard disk noise every 10
    seconds or so. The hard disk noise is intensive and annoying. I am
    sure this has to do with Spy Sweeper because the problem goes away as
    soon as I terminate it. Strangely, the problem seems to also go away
    when I am not touching the mouse or the keyboard. I am sure this has
    nothing to do with RAM size because the system has 50% RAM free.

    - The "Spy Sweeper" is slowing down the PC. The PC is a P4 at 1.5

    Currently, I am "kind-of" getting around with this problem by
    automatically terminating it at midnight, and re-starting it in the
    morning. I am wondering whether I should terminate it for good, and
    only use it to automatically scan the PC once a day in the afternoon
    when no one is using the PC.

    Is this safe to do that?

    Thanks in advance for any info or suggestion.

    Jay Chan
    Jay Chan, Oct 22, 2004
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  2. Jay Chan

    lee Guest

    If I were you, regardless of what seems to be initiating the noise, I'd
    check the hard disk to make suer you don't have a disk that is soon to fail.
    An annoying noise problem from a disk is never a good sign. I have
    SpySweeper installed on the system I'm on now, running resident, and it runs
    very quietly. While you're at it, check to make sure your memory modules are
    all working.
    lee, Oct 22, 2004
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  3. Jay Chan

    Mark Gibson Guest

    Worse yet, excessive drive activity can be a sign of a nasty such as
    a virus. I run a crapload of anti-nastyware programs on this machine,
    and when I boot it, some of them are busy doing full scans of the primary
    drive, which can take about 25 minutes. But unless I leave it on all the time,
    the drive is not usually very busy except when routine scans are scheduled.
    (OK, when I make backups to a spare drive or another comp on mt network,
    the drive gets quite busy...but that is something I expect...the random
    anti-nastyware SW sometimes catches me by surprise, since I sleep odd hours.)

    Mark Gibson, Oct 23, 2004
  4. Jay Chan

    Moe Trin Guest

    Don't you think it would be a better idea not to install the spyware
    in the first place?
    So turn off the "I'll bend over, install everything automatically without
    asking me about it" mode. Disable ActiveX, and scripting. A better idea
    would be to get rid of Internet Explorer and Outlook Express, and use
    less risky tools.
    That may not be helping you to get long life out of the drive.
    "Grove giveth and Gates taketh away."
    - Bob Metcalfe (inventor of Ethernet) on the trend of hardware speedups
    not being able to keep up with software demands. Grove is Andy Grove
    who was then the CEO of Intel.
    Are you automatically installing software all the time? Spyware doesn't
    appear on your hard disk out of thin air. you have to install it, either
    manually, or automatically. Think about that.
    If you did not automatically install spyware without question, you would
    not need the anti-spyware program.

    Old guy
    Moe Trin, Oct 24, 2004
  5. Jay Chan

    Jay Chan Guest

    If I were you, regardless of what seems to be initiating the noise, I'd
    Thanks for the advice.

    I have fixed that particular problem. SpySweeper tech support sent me
    an instruction to fix the problem. The instruction is to do the usual
    things (keep everything updated...), and then sweep the system one
    more time with "Sweep User Accounts" option turned OFF. I don't know
    why this works. But that annoy disk activities every 10 seconds is now

    However, I am still not out of the wood yet. I still have a mild disk
    activity every 2 seconds that I cannot figure out what is causing it
    (that is unrelated to SpySweeper). I have terminated as many processes
    as I can terminate without causing the system to crash. But I still
    get that disk activities every 2 seconds. I will try your advice and
    copy the disk image into another hard disk, disable the original hard
    disk, and use that second hard disk to boot up, and see what will

    Jay Chan
    Jay Chan, Oct 25, 2004
  6. Jay Chan

    Jay Chan Guest

    Don't you think it would be a better idea not to install the spyware
    You have a good point. But I don't intentionally download any spyware.
    I don't know how those spywares find their way into my PC. This is one
    of the reason why I purchase SpySweeper to prevent me from getting

    By the way, my IE is running in the standard security zone.

    Jay Chan
    Jay Chan, Oct 25, 2004
  7. Jay Chan

    Moe Trin Guest

    Are you sure? It's not labeled as spyware. Often it's some neat
    plugin or helper program that you knowingly install - part of the
    "extra features" they don't talk about. Simplest solution there is to
    simply not install ANY software except from companies you trust. That
    would be limited to Microsoft (though I haven't trusted ANYTHING from
    them for years), your Anti-trojan program, your Anti-virus program, your
    Anti-Spyware program - ever notice that you needed all that extra crap
    for some reason? I'm running a firewall, but have never needed any of
    the rest.
    It doesn't appear out of mid-air. Either you are clicking OK to install
    something else, or you've told IE to install stuff without bothering you.
    You say, you _didn't_ tell IE to do so? Sure you did - it's the default
    condition, and you approved it when you started. That's often a big
    problem, and is why CERT has recommended that NO ONE should be using IE.
    But you're still installing the spyware. Have you updated windoze to the
    "current" service pack? XP-SP2 includes tightening the firewall rules
    and reducing the huge number of open doors. Heard on the radio this
    morning that over 95 percent of windoze users have infected PCs (they
    reported one system with over a thousand spyware programs - and the
    idiot was wondering why his computer was so slow all the time), and that
    83 percent of the people were able to install SP2 without a problem. Of
    course those other 17 percent - 8 percent had _major_ problems requiring
    a shop visit to clean up the mess. In nearly all cases, it was the old
    problem - the user didn't know what they were doing, and didn't read the
    That's likely a major reason for your problem. The "default" install of
    windoze is designed to "work" with virtually no skill level on the part of
    the user. This means that it's wide open. Microsoft understands that the
    average user would get confused if they had to constantly be clicking OK
    on the "Infect your computer now" dialog box. You might make a better
    investment by learning how to safely use your computer. They lied to you
    when they told you even an untrained monkey on crack can use a computer.
    Yes, there's a lot to learn.

    Old guy
    Moe Trin, Oct 25, 2004
  8. Jay Chan

    Jay Chan Guest

    ... That
    Can you explain a bit more on this? Are you saying that you are
    running a firewall that allows you not to use anti-virus/anti-spyware
    programs? What kind of firewall is it? I am assuming that this is in
    conjunction of locking down IE that you have mentioned elsewhere in
    your message.
    Done that already. Thanks anyway.
    This means I need to tighten-up the security level of IE. Thanks.

    Jay Chan
    Jay Chan, Oct 27, 2004
  9. Jay Chan

    Moe Trin Guest

    No, first I'm not running a browser as a catchall interface to the
    computer. I read news with a news tool (I happen to use slrn), and
    receive mail with a crude mail tool (the old Berkeley 'mailx' app
    from the 1980s), and when I need a browser, I first try a simple text
    based browser (lynx or links), and only if it won't display visuals
    that I decide I need will I use a more full featured browser (I'm
    using Firebird on those rare occasions). Thus, none of the tools
    I'm normally using even know how to download unwanted stuff.

    Secondly, I'm not using any version of microsoft windoze. I'm also
    not using a Mac - there are other operating systems out there. I'm
    running as an ordinary user, and that means I can't accidentally
    do _anything_ to the operating system, and that includes installing
    stuff that would need access to hardware. This means I can't install
    a key sniffer (you need administrative rights to do that).

    So - by not running any software capable of installing a virus or
    spyware app, I don't need the anti-virus or anti-spyware programs.
    Ordinary stateful packet filter running on the box with the internet
    connection. It's part of the O/S.
    I don't have IE. Microsoft only tried to port IE to one variant of Unix
    (Solaris) as part of their market expansion scheme. Then the US Justice
    Department got on their case about windoze being required to use IE, and
    microsoft claimed it was an integral part of windoze - meaning they had
    to withdraw the Solaris version. This was not a big deal, as virtually
    no one bought it or even tried to use it. We really do think security
    rates higher than user (lack of) skills.
    If you wish to continue with it - yes. you also need to keep up to date
    on the security patches. CERT TA04-293A (released about 9 days ago) is
    only the latest in the on-going saga. You should be aware that few
    security professionals recommend using IE.

    Old guy
    Moe Trin, Oct 29, 2004
  10. Jay Chan

    Jay Chan Guest

    No, first I'm not running a browser as a catchall interface to the
    This explains the reason why you don't need to run anti-virus /
    anti-spyware program. Thanks for the explanation.
    I have recently switched to Mozzila. Hopefully, this reduces my chance
    of getting "things".

    Jay Chan
    Jay Chan, Nov 1, 2004
  11. Jay Chan

    Moe Trin Guest

    It's the combination of the two, not just one or the other. Using an
    O/S other than windoze is _not_ for everyone. Some claim that the
    initial slope to the learning curve to use UNIX is vertical. This is
    not true. 89.9 degrees is NOT vertical. ;-)
    It does, but you still have to learn what it's doing, how, and most
    importantly why. Computers only do what they are told to do. If you
    want to be in control of your computer, then you have to learn how
    to do that. Putting things on automatic pilot not only makes things
    work, but compromises you, because the automatic pilot will allow or
    approve anything - usually that's not what you want. Putting a pair of
    five year old kids in a car with the engine running, the parking brake
    off, and an automatic transmission. You _KNOW_ something is going to
    happen, and it's quite unlikely to be good or safe.

    Old guy
    Moe Trin, Nov 3, 2004
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