Lost XP Password
| DearWebby is actually Helmut Morscher, the CEO of Webby, inc.
Originally the "Tech Support Pits" were reports of the funniest tech support incidents, but over the years the
column gradually shifted to answering tech support questions put forward by the readers of the Dear
Webby Humor Letter.
This collection of computer and web advice was started partly because readers demanded an archive, and partly
because some questions were asked again and again. Each page has a different day's Tech Support Pits column.
Tech Support Pits column from Dear Webby's Humor Letter of
11/20/04: What does spyware take ?
Tech Support Pits:
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What kind of information do those spyware programs report?
Is it just anonymous demographic statistical stuff, or can they
take sensitive data too?
Unless you are properly protected against them, spyware
programs can take anything they want. They can for example
look at your cookies and find shopping cart information, they
can take your credit card info and give somebody all the
data they need to order the same computer as you did, but
have it shipped to a different address.
They can look at your Auto-Complete and get your bank
ID and password, and clean your accounts.
They can look at the love letters your sweetie has sent to
you, and they can look at your Instant Messenger history.
They can make a list of all the pictures and movies you
have, and they can even look in your recycle bin to see
what you have deleted lately.
There is practically no limit to what they can get out of an
Some spyware also opens a back door for secretly
downloading stuff into your computer. Those downloads
can be ads, they can be spam programs so that spammers
can use your computer to send out spam and get you blamed
for it, they can even be pirated programs that will discredit
you, since you have no way of proving that you did not get
that stolen software yourself.
Viruses are harmless by comparison. At most, they only
ruin your data.
A spy can ruin your life.
For casual security and careful users I highly recommend
Spybot-Search&Destroy or AdAware.
If you have careless or inexperienced family members, or
if you have sensitive data on your machine, then click on
that black button in the left side menu and do a free scan
of your machine. The scan is very thorough and takes a
while, but you can let it run in the background and continue
working. It will look for over 17,000 different spies and
hijackers and link redirectors.
If it does not find anything that you can not safely uninstall
yourself, relax. No need to buy the program then. Just
click on that link button once a week and do a free scan.
If it does find any nasties, then you can still upgrade to
the paid version. Right now the upgrade is only $29, and
in my opinion worth every penny.
If you are subscribed to the text version and don't see the
button for the free scan, just browse to
and click on it there.
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