The Smackdown Short Form, 8/12/2004

Short Form and anti-spyware info only this week, I’m afraid. Smackdown wasn’t uploaded until late on Friday, and I had to work on Saturday, the consequence of a f*cked-up work schedule that I’ll get into more on Tuesday when it’s finally over. I barely have time to watch Smackdown and get it in on Saturday, in fact, and people even get pissy about that because it’s “late”. Well, no shit it’s late. I’m working nights until the end of September, I have no UPN station on my cable, I have to rely on someone uploading it, blah blah blah. These are REASONS, not excuses. I’d like to have the column done on Thursday night/Friday morning too. But I can’t. Shit, I’m giving this to you out of the goodness of my heart, and you want more MORE MORE!! Well, f*ck you. You’re getting it when I’m good and ready to give it to you. And I’m doing it in a rush to do so. So, anti-spyware info first, then the Short Form, then my ass has to get to work.

SEE HOW I HELP YOU PEOPLE?

I’ve been having some trouble lately with spyware, and I sort of wonder if it is due to 411mania. I’m not sure of this by any means, but it seems like these serious threats keep popping up on the ad-aware, stuff like Ebates with their complete review of Bestow life insurance and Top Moxie, etc. Stuff in the every category on there: processes, registry keys, files, folder, you name it. I’ve noticed that since I’ve all but stopped visiting 411 lately (mainly due to them having no one left since you guys bolted, heh) I haven’t been having all this trouble. – Regular Cabbageboy316

I’m not pointing any fingers…oh, yes, I am.

Remember, this all started because the slugs at Enigma Software dared to advertise their piece of shit SpyHunter at 411 (one of the reasons why I decided to leave, honestly). So I’m responding every single column with proper anti-spyware information. And guess what? People are actually taking this to heart. They’re asking me for help if they’re infested, or they’re writing me telling me that their browsing experience is less annoying thanks to the stuff I’ve been putting up here three times a week for a couple months now.

Big, big Kudos to the guys at the Spyware Warrior Forum for pointing out to everyone the extent of criminal activity participated in by Enigma Software, makers of the bane of advertising on this site, SpyHunter. Slimeballs extraordinare, aren’t they? And in case you need more info about what flaming bags of shit they are, try here. Suzi’s Blog has a great list of other flaming bags of shit that promote anti-spyware programs that are spyware themselves. Consult it if you have questions.

(On a side note, those SpyHunter ads started over at Reality News Online, and BFM, a contributor there, spotted them. He told the webmaster, gave him those links that I cited above, the webmaster read them, the blood drained out of his face, and he contacted his ad provider. No more ads for Enigma products on RNO, thank you. So guess what? If you provide the info, there are sites who will listen.)

One of the leading vectors for spyware is so-called free programs that contain this shit in order to “pay the bills”. No one deserves that kind of treatment. If you’ve got a question about whether or not a certain program contains spyware, head over here. It’s a nice alphabetized list of programs that do contain spyware and should be avoided at all costs.

Here’s a list of the programs you really need to help you get rid of menaces, and, more importantly, prevent them from occurring in the first place:

Spybot and AdAware. The ONLY two spyware removal tools to trust. Do NOT buy any spyware removal tools, because none of them work better than these two, and all of them except these two are suspect.

SpywareBlaster. Will nuke thousands of different potentially malicious ActiveX controls, and now has the ability to prevent a number of non-ActiveX methods of installing spyware for people who use Mozilla/Firefox.

SpywareGuard. From Javacool, like SpywareBlaster. It’s a real-time scanner for spyware. A decent first line of defense.

IE-SpyAd. Throws numerous ad-related URLs into IE’s Restricted Zone, where they won’t display or affect your system. Bookmark this one, since it’s the only one that doesn’t have an in-program update.

A few people have recommended also installing the Sun Java Virtual Machine, since it’s Windows’ buggy, half-assed implementation of the JVM that allows a lot of spyware to install (less so within the past month and a half than before). I’ve resisted putting it here because of a couple things: 1) The MS JVM was removed in XP SP1a due to the Sun court case and replaced with a Sun JVM, and I’m not sure how many people have actually patched. 2) The link above is an automatic download, and that does scare some people. Don’t worry, it’s perfectly safe. I wouldn’t have put it here if it wasn’t. But I STRONGLY recommend that you visit here and update your version of Java.

So many people have asked about a free anti-virus program that I’m also going to recommend AVG. Totally free, and works really, really well, as well as commercial anti-virus programs. Frequent database updates, good heuristic detection, everything you want in an anti-virus package.

Another program that I’d like to add here is a little tough to work with for noobs if it goes buggy (you need to know a little something about your Networking settings in order to debug if something should go wrong). Protowall is a supplement to your firewall or NAT system. It hooks directly into XP’s networking system to block any and all traffic that comes from URLs on a list maintained by the program (all protocols, not just TCP/UDP). It’s mainly designed for anti-P2P purposes (which will appeal to a great many of my readers), but it contains lists to block spyware and ads. Its blocklist can easily be updated using its supplementary program, Blocklist Manager. I have Protowall running and a Blocklist Manager icon on my desktop, and I use Blocklist Manager to update the blocklist every couple of days. You will have problems getting to some sites unless you shut down Protowall temporarily, like ESPN or Sports Illustrated, but it does have a tray icon you can right-click and shut down in a few seconds. It’s the third layer of anti-ad material for me, with IE-SpyAd and AdSubtract running alongside it. Warning, though: it only works with XP. I’d recommend its predecessor, Peer Guardian, for other MS OSes, but it isn’t being developed anymore, and there were still bugs in it when development stopped. You can get Protowall and the Blocklist Manager (which will also work with Peer Guardian) at Bluetack’s site.

Of course, only download them from the links provided above. And only download those programs; don’t fall for the ads that are shown here.

With AdAware and Spybot, check for updates using their internal update function at least once a week. Run them at least once a week or whenever you think you might have problems. Remember, the new version of Spybot has browser protection capabilities, so have that run at startup and leave it running. Check for updates to SpywareBlaster once a week. It only needs to be run once initially in order to establish protection. Then, after it downloads updates, just click on the line that says “Enable Protection For All Unprotected Items” and kill it. It doesn’t need to be active. For IE-SpyAd, bookmark the site and check for updates twice a week, since it has no kind of internal updater. Run the Blocklist Manager every couple of days to make sure that you keep up on the latest banned URLs. Since all it does is add Registry entries, it doesn’t eat up anything.

If you’re having trouble with spyware or a browser hijacker, or think that you do, head over to the SpywareInfo Forums, where the pros there can help you diagnose and get rid of stuff. I was promoted to Full Helper status there and ended up joining ASAP, the Alliance of Security Analysis Professionals. Look for their symbol, which I’m not going to try to link to anymore because someone at the other end keeps munging it.

The Ravin’ Cajun asks me to recommend a good client-side spam filter for MS mail programs running under Windows. Now, this is something I don’t have experience with because my ISPs have always had good spam filtering, plus, I use Thunderbird, which handles the remainder quite nicely, thank you. Some readers wrote in and recommended SpamBayes, which is totally free and supposedly works very well, so I’ll add it on to the anti-annoyance list that we’re building up here. Said Ravin’ also states that when XP SP2 comes out, it’s a good idea to grab it. Yes, definitely. If you’re not running a firewall (and you should be), the one in SP2 is extremely robust and works quite well. Also, the built-in pop-up blocking on IE will be a wonderful addition.

THE SHORT FORM

Match Results:

Spike Dudley over Paul London, Non-Title Match…weird to say that about a match where Spike’s holding the strap, huh? (Pinfall, rollup): Nice little match there, but I hate angle advancement matches, and that’s all this one was. Fortunately, the interference wasn’t too bad, otherwise this one would have buried Spike, which he doesn’t deserve at this point (the cruiser strap has been denigrated enough recently, thank you).

Nunzio over Chavito, Ethnic Stereotypes Match (Pinfall, rollup…yes, again): Dull match with a horridly blown ending. Neither of the guys seemed enthused to be out there. Nothing to recommend it.

The Underweener over Orlando Jordan (DQ, High Quality Speakers are not supposed to create interference, but this one does): Standard UT match. Next.

John Cena, Rob Van Dam, and Charlie Haas over Booker T, Luther Reigns, and Rene Dupree, Relay Match (Pinfall, Cena pins Booker, rollup…what the f*ck is this shit? Four matches tonight, three rollups and a DQ. Did the match bookers take the night off or something?): Okay, ending aside, this match was terrific. I don’t know if it was the competitors involved (Reigns is still green and you know how I feel about Van Dam, but the rest of them I love), the format, or both, but it was a winner to close the show. Smackdown needs a “signature match”, something to differentiate them from Raw and from the rest of the WWE product. Raw has the Elimination Chamber, but Smackdown doesn’t have anything. I think that the Relay Match could be Smackdown’s signature. Don’t overuse it, of course, but it could add some spice into those Trios Lites that they’ve been doing with the cruisers (and Sunday with the Dudleys). It’s a great way to fill time and get singles competitors some more face time on camera. I’d like to see a Relay Match with the cruisers for No Mercy. That’d be something to look forward to.

Angle Developments:

Memo To The Guy In The Fifth Row:: “Thanks For The Compliments”? Okay, you’re ugly and your breath stinks. You’re welcome.

Two Orlandos Sucked This Week: The city got sucked into the vortex of Hurricane Charley, and Jordan…well, he absolutely reeked on that promo. I wanted to reach into my monitor and punch his face with that stupid silly-ass giggle after every sentence. He wanted to convey his joy and excitement at actually getting some promo time…oh, sorry, being converted to the Gospel According To Redneck…but he sounded like a six-year-old girl. Practice, kid, practice, and get an acting coach.

A Reason For Living: The Angle/Eddy promo demonstrates quite nicely exactly why this should continue after SummerSlam. These two take it to the next level when pitted against each other, for some reason. I enjoy the hell out of it, and I know you do too. So let’s hope for a continuation after the match on Sunday.

And that’ll be it from me. See you after the PGA finishes up so that I can pay attention to the Summer Games…sorry, wrestling.